Monday, June 29, 2009

Apple Store Experience

I recently had to take my iPhone in for servicing or replacement and had one heck of a time! I wanted to tell my story and see if anyone has had similar problems. Sorry if it's poorly written, thats just my lack of writing skills! Oh, and I took out the name of the Mac Genius to protect his identity (see, I'm a nice guy).

*Update* - This was at the Pentagon City Apple Store


Dear Apple,

I usually never have a problem with Apple. I'm a big Mac user that has proudly helped convert two very stubborn parents and whenever I get a chance to talk Mac, I dive right in. I also think that they have usually superb customer service but this most recent trip was a real shocker.

I am currently on my third iPhone 3G. The first one got replaced after the vibrate switch stopped working. The second one (the one that this story is about) had an issue where the backlight would go all the way off instead of just super low.

Thinking that it was maybe a bug that 3.0 would fix, I just waited it out. But when I updated I still had the problem and decided to go into the Apple Store and have a Genius look at it.

******, the same Genius that just months before replaced my first phone was now going to be dealing with my second phone. He didn't seem like he recognized me and he probably sees tons of people everyday so I wasn't hurt.

I explain my problem to him.

"The backlight goes to off when just 1/4 from the lowest setting. Every other iPhone goes to a super dim mode but mine goes to completely off."

To my friends and myself this is a legit problem that we knew with 100% certainty that Apple would fix or replace.

Well, ****** didn't seem to see the problem. He says that it's his job to see a problem and he doesn't see one here. After explaining further he decides to go to the back and ask some other people about it.

Waiting just about 5-10 minutes he returns with two iPhones and says they don't see a problem either. He sets the two iPhones down on the counter and says, "Look, yours is actually brighter, and it has better range."

I told him that it was only brighter because the one he was comparing it to had a plastic film on it. Anything, no matter how clear it really is will diffuse the light at least somewhat. And I explained the "range" he talked about... yeah, it obviously has better "range" if the light goes off and the rest don't! That's getting technical.

Oh, and I'm not an idiot. I've worked in customer service and I realize that he was only trying to get me excited about it and walk off thinking my phone was now better than the rest. No dice.

I forgot to mention that this entire time he has not been giving me any eye contact whatsoever. I kept leaning on the counter trying to meet our eyeline and at the same time making sure that my stance and body language wasn't defensive or aggressive. I'm very aware of these things.

With the two phones still on the counter I asked him to take them in the back again and just slide the backlight all the way off while in the dark and compare the phones. He said "that's not necessary." I then asked him to just cup his hands around my iPhone to see the backlight go out and he once again said "that's not necessary." But isn't that what customer service is all about? Going above the necessary! It would have only taken a few seconds and would have made me, the customer, feel like he was at least trying to help.

I told him that I was in the store the other day and showed a fellow Apple employee who said that it was indeed a problem and asked if I could bring him over to "testify" but of course his response was "that's not necessary." He once again made me feel as if I was losing my mind! It's like I saw a ghost and no one would believe me!

He then had me give scenarios as to when I might need this functionality. I shouldn't have to explain things that the designer of the device came up with! But I did give him examples.

He also asked if the phone made calls, alluding to the fact that if it doesn't hurt the functionality then it's 100% fine. I told him that I didn't buy the iPhone to just make calls, the little kids "Firefly" phone that has a button for Mommy, Daddy, and Police just makes calls, but I bought the iPhone to play games, watch videos, surf the Internet, control my computers remotely, and everything else it can do!

Overall I felt as if he was just patronizing me and saying that he didn't see a problem and if this happened to him he wouldn't have brought the phone in. That makes me feel like an idiot.

In the end I got a new phone, but to be honest, I don't feel like I won. I'm not trying to pull ****** down because maybe he was just having a bad day but in the world of customer service you can't let that affect you.

My biggest problem is that there is an Apple employee that is "specially trained" in customer service and technical know how though he won't look me in the eye or even try to acknowledge my problem.

Oh, and it looks like some other people have had this problem. I searched the forums after (yeah I should have done that first though) and dug up some info. Also, I wish I videotaped it something just to have proof but I have the word of some co-workers I showed if you are interested in asking them.

Apple Forum Thread:


Dan said...

Man. Thats frustrating. Hopefully your new one will work.

matthew stephens said...

As a former Apple employee, that is NOT how employees are trained, even genius' go through an extensive customer service training. More than 60% of their job is Customer Service only.

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