August 17, 2008

Good customer service

My 3 year old was happy to be in the car the other day with her older sister's MacBook watching a DVD. Then, unbeknownst to us, she decided to watch another one and inserted a DVD by herself. The only problem is that she didn't take the first one out first. I immediately knew where this was heading.

A trip to the Apple store showed how clever I was to predict that we very likely lost both DVDs and the drive. At least they were very friendly and apologetic that it wasn't covered under warranty - which I could hardly complain about. So I agreed to the $300 estimated repair cost, and was told it would be ready in about 2 days. And here is where it gets interesting.

After 7 days, I called the store to find that they still hadn't fixed it. They were super friendly, and promised to call right back when they could tell me more. I figured it would be another week before I even got through to them. But 10 minutes later, they called me back, apologized again, and promised it would be ready later that afternoon. Again, I figured that meant I might see it in a week. But an hour later, they called me back saying it was done and I could pick it up. I was already pretty happy that they recognized the mistake in their delayed repair and bumped it to the top of the queue so easily.

So, imagine my surprise when they called me back a *third* time, not 10 minutes later. They said they hadn't realized this wasn't under warranty and that I was paying for it. Given the extent of their delay, they said they wouldn't charge me, and have a nice day.

I was flabbergasted. I am a completely regular customer. I didn't pull rank (as if I had any), or promise to expose them. In fact, I wasn't even that concerned by the delay in the first place. And completely on their own, they not only took complete responsibility and gave an actual apology (rather than the all-too-common non-apology), and gave me a $361.56 credit without my asking for it.

I am already about 60% switched from Windows, but if using Apple means I can get customer service like that instead of Dell's or Lenovo's, I'm up to 70%.