I was interested to see Steve Jobs’ press conference today. Here’s the link:
Apple Steve Jobs Press Conference, 2010 07 16
First, as a new Apple user (iPad) — which I’m liking very much.
And secondly, ‘Customer Service’ is how I’ve built my business.
But Apple’s handling of the ‘Antenna-gate’ issues is a case study in what I call a ‘Service Breakdown.’
An eloquent speaker, Jobs instantly moved into proving why these problems were overblown. The poor users had to wait thru most of the press conference, before knowing the ‘fix,’ or how Apple would make them happy.
You see, all of us have expectations of each daily ‘service experience.’ That goes for buying groceries, flying to Bermuda, or getting a new smart phone.
When our expectations are not met, we feel either annoyed, or victimized. The Apple 4 iPhone probably has people feeling both. Even though it sure seems to me that there are zillions of very happy iPhone 4 users.
Remember the hard truth about customer service:
Happy customers will tell 3 people about their experience.
Unhappy customers tell at least 10.
The good news: It is possible, to take a disastrous service problem, and create a customer ‘for life.’ Follow these 6 steps: *
Rule #1. Apologize.
Rule #2. Correct the problem.
Rule #3. Empathize.
Rule #4. Compensation. (also called ‘Symbolic atonement;’ extend an extra courtesy as a gesture of accommodating the client)
Rule #5. Notify your Team Members.
Rule #6. Follow-up. (Call, a personal note, whatever fits your style and the situation)
No one can promise perfect service. But we can all do a better job of recovering, when a breakdown occurs.
And sure, Apple is making a nice offer to its clients. I just wish they’d done so a bit earlier.
(p.s. Will I buy an iPhone — someday, you bet!)
* Credit the remarkable Ron Zemke, and Chip Bell, for their book about creating marvelous ‘service experiences’ for customers. These fellows, way back in the 80′s, taught me much of what I’ve used these 30+ years in various service industries.
- Julie McCullough Hale, Ticor Title & Escrow, RRNetwork.com