Yes, I love Apple. Mostly. But then sometimes I hate Apple. I felt both those things yesterday. This is Do This Not That Marketing. Allow me to add something to the “Not That” category.
I had an appointment to drop of my MacBook Pro at the “Genius Bar” yesterday afternoon at 3:40 PM. I had an unexpected opening in my schedule and wanted to change my appointment to anytime earlier in the afternoon. So I called the store. Here’s what happened:
- I called my local store with a single question: could I bring in my computer for repair any earlier?
- Computer answers, “Hi, [Ron], I can understand complete sentences. Please tell me why you’re calling….”
- Me: “Computer repair.”
- Computer: “I see you recently called about your MacBook Pro. Is that the device you’re calling about?”
- Me: “Yes”
- Computer: “Are you ….
After answering a ridiculous amount of questions, they put me on hold.
- Computer: “Apple is happy to offer you a selection of music while you wait. Press 1 for contemporary hits, 2 for classical….”
- I press 1 (although I’m usually a classical-music-on-hold guy, I wanted to change things up). The loudest, ugliest, scratchiest music you’ve ever heard starts blaring out of my iPhone. It was so bad, I felt like I was on Candid Camera.
- After 6 minutes on hold, Apple Lady picks up the phone. She asks me to tell her the entire story that I just told the computer.
- I tell her the story about how I have an appointment at the Apple store in Frisco at 3:40 PM, but I’d like to drop it off earlier in the afternoon if possible.
- Apple Lady: “Do you already have an appointment?”
- Me: “Yes, Ma’am. As I said, I have an appointment at 3:40 this afternoon.”
- Apple Lady: “I don’t see that you have an appointment. Which store?”
- Me: “The Apple store in Frisco, TX.”
- Apple Lady: “Please hold.”
- I’m back to the loudest, ugliest, scratchiest music you’ve ever heard blaring from my iPhone for 3 minutes.
- Apple Lady: “Which store?”
- I explain again.
- Apple Lady: “Please hold. I need to call the store.”
- Me. “OK. I tried to call the store to begin with. I’ve now been on this call more than 10 minutes and the solution is you’re going to call the store to find out? Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to be able to call the store directly and speak with someone? It’s a simple question, should take less than a minute for me to find out.”
- Apple Lady: “Blah blah blah It’s our policy/procedure.”
- And I’m back to the loudest, ugliest, scratchiest music you’ve ever heard blaring from my iPhone for 2 minutes.
- Apple Lady: “I called the store and there is no way they can get you in. You have to wait until your appointment and there’s nothing they can do to get you in earlier.”
- Me: “Ok. Thanks. That’s all I needed to know.”
- Then I remembered I had the Apple Support app on my phone. I opened it up, clicked on my appointment, clicked the reschedule button, and an earlier appointment time suggestion popped up. I clicked it and I was “all set” to bring my computer in earlier.
Here’s what you should NOT do:
- Don’t have a computer hijack my call to my local store. That’s inconsiderate and ended up taking much more time than if someone had picked up the call at the store, put me on hold, then answered my question when they were available. If I want to call your call center, I will.
- Don’t make me answer endless phone tree questions to route me to the best person if you’re going to make me answer all those questions again. This is such a common practice that if I know my answers won’t get to the person that is going to help me, I won’t answer. I will just press “0” or say “operator” until someone answers (I’m looking at you, Charter Communications).
- Don’t ignore my answers or make me repeat them because you’re distracted. I know it’s hard to focus sometimes. But I don’t want to repeat my story endlessly. Once should be sufficient. Twice was a nuisance. But three times?
- Don’t play terrible, distorted music on hold. Call your place of business and ask them to put you on hold. Do it now. I’ll wait…. If your hold music isn’t clean and pleasant, please consider silence. You can say in your hold announcement, “For your peace of mind, we won’t be playing terrible music while you’re on hold. And we won’t insult your intelligence by repeatedly interrupting the music to tell you that your call is very important to us.”
- Don’t blame policy or procedure and don’t undermine my trust in you. I am not saying that there was anything conspiratorial about my conversation with the Apple Lady, but the fact that she told me twice there was no way I could get in earlier and, within a minute on the app, I was able to get in earlier, makes me question their commitment to my happiness. It would have been better if she had either gotten me in or told me that she couldn’t but I could try the app. It almost felt like she wasn’t really trying. Maybe she was frustrated that I was frustrated with this ridiculously lengthy call. Even though I was polite and calm, I’m sure she could tell I wasn’t thrilled.
So what do I love about Apple? I have a MacBook Pro that’s about 5 years old and it runs nearly as well as it did the day I bought it. And it’s easy to use. So easy. Unlike getting a simple scheduling question answered by my local Apple Store’s Genius Bar. So hard.
Got any tales of things to Do or Not Do when it comes to marketing? Feel free to comment and share your story/tips with us.