Customer Service

I have a third generation iPad and I love it, except for the home button which hasn’t quite worked right since I received it. In order get it to work, you have to press really, really hard or hit it in one specific corner. Quitting and switching apps is difficult so I’ve been using the three and four finger gestures introduced in iOS 5 instead. But enough was enough and recently I decided to bring it to the Apple Store in Salem.

I had been waiting to bring my iPad in to the Apple Store until supply had ramped up. I wasn’t sure how many the store would have in my color and capacity and didn’t want to waste a trip to Salem only to find out that they couldn’t replace it that day. There was NO way I was giving it up for two weeks while they mailed one to me. Now that it finally is easy to get one I decided to bring it in.

I had prepared myself for the worst, as I always do for customer service operations, even though I’d had positive experiences at the Apple Store before. I had a whole strategy planned with responses to any possible grief that they’d give me. I made an appointment that morning via the Apple Store App, and other than only offering one appointment 20 minutes after they opened, it was extremely easy. We arrived at the store and “checked in” with one of the twenty five sales people that were on the floor helping an already healthy number of customers. Within a couple minutes a Genius came out and found us on the floor. I’d had experiences with Geniuses before but back then I had to meet them at the Genius bar. Having them come and find us was pretty cool. I’m sure the two strollers helped us stand out.

Having the Geniuses come out to the customers is one of Apple’s newer strategies to make shopping easier. For instance, you no longer have to go to the checkout counter to purchase products. A salesperson simply brings the box out to you along with an iPod Touch that has a scanner and credit card terminal on it. You just pay right there and you’re done. They recently rolled out a feature called Easy Pay which lets you use the Apple Store app to scan products and purchase them without checking out. The purchases go directly to your iTunes account. It only works in the Apple Store (it’s based on location) but it sounds extremely easy and simple. I plan to use it the next time I have a small purchase.

After less than a minute of explaining the issue the Genius said that he could replace my iPad right there within “five to five and a half” minutes. He scurried away and five minutes later I had a brand new white 32 GB iPad wrapped in cellophane as if it had just been taken out of the box. All I had to do was sign a sheet of paper and I was done. Ten minutes. No hassles. The only thing that I lost was the custom engraving I had on the back of the iPad, but I don’t miss it. I got a brand new iPad hassle-free. Now that’s customer service!

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