bookmark_borderTell the truth

In direct contrast to my recent experience with Royal Mail, I’ve also had some issues with my iPhone and had to deal with the Geniuses at the Apple store in Glasgow.

Genius might be over-egging it a bit but suffice to say the experience was far far more positive and is an excellent example in how to get customer service right.

So, my old iPhone (just over a year old) had, over time, developed a crack on the back of the case, running a 1cm up the phone from where the cable dock is located. Not something I noticed as I have a case which covers that area.

A quick Google suggested that I should take it back to the store as they would likely just replace it. I was sceptical as it was past the year warranty but thought that if they wouldn’t replace it they might be able to suggest a way to fix it, or at least stop the crack getting any worse.

So I made an appointment at the Genius Bar and after managing to get there without purchasing any new shiny Apple products (I deliberately left my credit card at home, yes I am THAT weak willed), I handed over my iPhone. A quick inspection confirmed that it was something that wasn’t fixable, they’d have to replace the handset.

A quick check of my details confirmed that, yes, I’d had the handset for 13 months, one month past the warranty but hey, they’d still replace it (granted this is the older model of iPhone, so they are probably happy to get the stock moving out of storage!). A quick signature and the new handset was mine. In and out in 10 minutes, and a nice smile on my face.

Alas that is not the end of this story. Yes, there is more. Sorry about that, but thanks for reading this far, seriously, I do appreciate it, I know I can waffle on a bit at times so I do appreciate you wasti spending your precious time reading this. I do. Thank you.

Where was I?

The next day, out and about with my new handset in my pocket it started to vibrate like I had an incoming call. I pulled the phone out of my pocket and… nothing. No call, no message, nothing. Odd. Put the phone back in my pocket and.. *buzzzz* and yet, still nothing.

And so it continued to the point where I could leave the handset on the table, and watch it randomly mute and unmute itself, triggering the vibration each time.

Back to the Genius Bar this morning where, after showing what the handset was doing it was, once again, replaced. In and out in 10 minutes, with an apology for the “Genius” and with a big smile on my face.

Lesson to learn? I know that not everything works all the time, things break, or aren’t properly made, such is life. It’s how you, as an organisation, deal with me at that point that makes or breaks my relationship with you.

So yes, having to get a replacement handset replaced isn’t ideal, but a quick acknowledgement, an apology, and some sort of corrective action is all it took to keep me happy. Case in point, if they’d said my original phone, with the crack in the case, couldn’t have been replaced but had suggested a way to fix it, that would’ve been ok as well.

So, well done to the Genius Bar in the Apple store in Glasgow, you’ve restored some of my faith that some organisations do know how to treat customers properly. Thanks (and ta for the shiny new handset!).

bookmark_borderPlease don't lie

This post is prompted entirely by my recent interactions with Royal Mail, but the hold true for many organisations.

Life, as we all know, has times when it just seems to be ganging up on you. Nothing seems to go right, nothing happens the way you expect and you are left in an uncomfortable place and without enough, or some times any, knowledge or information you quickly become frustrated as you are not sure what to do next.

So when, as a customer, I reach that place the last thing I want to hear are lies. They may be lies offered in good faith, but they are blatant and completely without excuse.

The most common lie I’ve heard is the lie of affirmation. Being told that I matter, or that the organisation is very keen to improve their service and help solve my problem, and other such positive affirmation is not useful and likely to only irk me further.

Apologise by all means but please mean it, and please make sure it is immediately followed up with an offer of help.

And when you have really stuffed up and I, the customer, point this out, have the good grace to agree, rather than look for excuses that I, the customer, have no control over. I’m sure that crucial system was down for a short while and that is the root of all evil in the world, but hey, it’s not my problem.

Lastly, and this is sometimes the worst of all, please please PLEASE do not send me out a questionnaire after the event. Remember, I’ve been angry and frustrated, lost in the midst of YOUR processes and systems and most likely I’ve been the one trying to peace together information from email A, website B and phonecalls C, D and E as, for no good reason (trust me, my company builds this stuff, there is no reason why you can’t have all your systems talking to each other).

That questionnaire is usually a stock affair with a nice welcoming “ohhh we are good people and not only that we are trying to be better!” waffle at the start, and is constructed in such a way as to make REAL feedback almost impossible.

People like me really don’t want to write letters of complaint, and you know what, when things go bad that’s ok. Just don’t lie to us. Tells us you know something has gone wrong, share the information with us, talk to us and be human. We don’t expect everything to work all the time, but the way you handle things when they go wrong makes far more of a difference than you seem to realise.


One slightly tattered and misused ‘will to live’. It has a distinctly yellow hue, and when prodded with a stick issues forth with a tirade of swearing that would make even the most extreme Tourettes sufferer jealous.

If you would like it returned, I can arrange for it to be sent down an ADSL line, or entrust it to Royal Mail.
Any Takers?