Author: Sarah Grace McCandless, Director, Global Product Management, Digital Solutions
As a Director of Product Management and Digital Services, I live at the crossroads of Social Media Customer Care and Customer Experience (and major dog lover…but that’s not important for the purposes of this post). So it’s fair to say that I see the good, the bad, and the ugly with social media care day in and day out. It’s probably even safe to say that I’ve become desensitized to certain types of care and experiences. However, when I do have the opportunity to see or experience exceptional customer care, I feel this overwhelming joy and excitement because customer care is alive and can have such a major impact on a customer. So sit back, relax and prepare to have your Customer Experience socks knocked off with this story of exceptional customer experience. (Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post)
The Exceptional Customer Experience- Some Background Info…
In 2011, I purchased a new MacBook Pro from Apple and was on top of the world with my new ninja computing machine. And like any responsible adult I purchased the AppleCare; even though it was only 2 years of coverage I knew that I would sleep better at night knowing my Pro was covered. Fast forward 5 years and we have traveled the world, had our ups and downs but have managed to stay together.
Here’s where my Service Journey Started
A few months ago I took a vacation with my family to visit the Oregon Coast. Beautiful, huh?
I took this trip and of course, I brought my handy-dandy MacBook. Well, one day into the trip and there was a problem- the trackpad wasn’t working; odd but nothing that I couldn’t handle. I went to a local shop and picked up a traditional mouse that I could use until I got back home to visit the Apple store. Well wouldn’t you know, the next day the trackpad started swelling and bulging from the machine casing, under my wrists as I was typing…Houston, we have a problem!
Naturally, I took to Google to search for the cause of this and found a discussion forum that said the bulging was happening because the battery was overheating. As if that was bad enough, the forum contributors advised the discontinued use of the machine immediately as it was a fire hazard. I don’t know about you, but a laptop fire doesn’t sound fun on vacation.
From there I decided to reach out to Apple via social media to see what could be done. This is how my conversation started:
Within minutes of posting this message to Twitter, I received the following message from @AppleSupport with instructions for the next steps:
Upon my DM with support, I was asked to provide some information so that they could identify the product. Responses were prompt from Apple Support and informative. A key piece of delivering an effortless exceptional customer experience is offering up helpful information even when it’s not asked for. You can see in the response below that when I was asked to provide my serial number, they accompanied the message with a how-to ‘find my serial number’ guide, just in case. Being proactive in customer support demonstrates a company’s commitment to their customer and that they have built their support with the customer’s needs in mind. Our DM communications are below:
From here, Apple Support went on to open a case for me (provided the number), set an appointment at my preferred location instead of sending me to a website or phone number, and let me know what their operating hours were in case I needed to contact them further.
All of the responses from Apple Support were within 3-5 minutes of my response back to them, which was great because I was still able to have my problem worked on while I was in dance class and running other errands. You may also notice that their overall tone throughout the communications was detailed and sincere, which makes customers feel like they are the number one priority. This is key in providing exceptional customer experience
My journey continued with my in-person store visit the very next day. Within seconds of walking into the store, I was greeted and checked-in. My total time spent in the store was only about 15-20 minutes. The Apple rep that checked me in didn’t know the background of my product problem but within a few minutes, he was up to speed and we were talking the same language.
At this time, the representative made it a point to assure me that he wanted me to receive a fair and accurate assessment and didn’t want to quote me for more repair than was actually needed (keep in mind my AppleCare was no longer in effect, so this was going to come out of pocket). Our conversation included:
- Quoting exact pricing for the base repairs which included replacing the battery, the trackpad, and labor.
- Quoting for the top case repairs, but he informed me I would be contacted via phone is this level of repair was necessary. The call would be so that I could approve the repairs and subsequent additional pricing.
- Timeline for the repair, 3-5 days
Now we get to the resolution…
As I was heading out of the Apple store, I already had an email confirmation of the quote repair details in my email (shown below).
I went to finish out my day and much to my surprise, I received and email and a phone call informing me that my machine was repaired and ready for pick-up. The email also included the retail store hours and pick-up options (shown below).
As it turns out, I didn’t need the top case replacement that the onsite representative predicted and my repair didn’t need 3-5 days, they only needed 3-5 hours.
This exceptional customer experience easily ranks as one of my best personal customer service experiences to date and I feel it’s a shining example of the type of effortless experience, omnichannel support that all companies should strive for within their support programs. With careful planning and optimization, your customer support programs can be equally successful and it doesn’t take big budgets or being a worldly brand. SYKES is a leader in customer contact management and this is an expertise that we take pride in delivering to our clients. We are always up for a conversation around best practices and industry trends so feel free to reach out to us here.
(Disclaimer: Apple is not a client of SYKES nor was this a sponsored post. I am a proud Apple user and just wanted to share great a exceptional customer experience.)