Are you better than Apple at letting your employees help your customers?

I’m a mac fan. Not one of those loony, raving fans, but I do have an iPhone and an iPad, recently bought a MacBook Air, and there are several other versions of iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc scattered throughout our apartment. On top of that, I’ve bought iPads for my mother and my mother-in-law to allow us to FaceTime and let them see my kids more often.

Apple store stairs

So, I’m bought in to the ecosystem. Like so many other apple customers, one of the things I enjoy most about their products is the ease with which you can flit back and forth across your devices.

When I bought the MacBook Air a few weeks ago, I stumped up an additional $99 for Apple’s “One to One” membership — a kind of personal trainer service to help you improve your mac-savviness. But, when I logged on to the site today, I was told my membership had expired. So, I called Apple. First, I got a voice activated system that told me it could understand complete sentences and then kept trying to send me to the wrong place (and, no, it wasn’t Siri). When I finally got through to a live body, they told me that I should contact the store where I bought the membership, since that’s where my membership is tied. I pointed out that that wasn’t very convenient since I bought the membership in New York and live in Florida. I didn’t see how I was going to get much personal training in without flying to NY on a regular basis.

So, I was transferred over to AppleCare, the technical service and support people that I had paid a further $249 to access. They also told me that I needed to contact the store, and went to great lengths to explain that One to One is not part of AppleCare. In the end, I spent 30 minutes being passed around to various people, none of whom were able to help me.

Everyone I spoke to over at Apple was extremely polite. At one point, I was disconnected between transfers and got a call back from the intended recipient, who was up-to-date on the issue. But, ultimately, it left me with an awful impression of Apple. The smooth interplay within their software and device ecosystem is completely missing in their internal structures and processes. None of the several people I spoke with were empowered to own my problem and help me solve it. In the end, I got the situation resolved, but it wasted a silly amount of my time for something that should or could be as easy as flipping a switch or punching in a number.

It’s easy to point fingers, of course. But, how many of your processes, policies, and systems get in your employees way and prevent them from serving your customers better? If you know the answer to that, start solving the problems! Your employees and your customers will thank you.




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