I finally did it. I stepped into the new millennium and bought an iPhone. I was giddy with excitement when I walked out of my local Verizon store with my brand spanking new 32 gig sleek sexy multifaceted multifunctional multiwhatever iPhone. I got home, plugged it in to charge and fire it up and, and, and – it didn’t work.
I went back to the Verizon store the next day disappointed but looking forward to a quick fix and a new romance with a new phone. Such was not the case. As it turns out, according to the very polite Verizon rep, you can buy an iPhone from them but once the deed is done, all service, tech support AND returns must go through Apple and the nearest Apple store was an hour in heavy traffic away from me. I was incredulous and pissed. It wasn’t even 24 hours ago that I had purchased the dud at that very same Verizon store.
I grudgingly got in my car and trekked north to the Apple store. I had asked the Verizon rep to make sure a rep at Apple would take me right away having heard how busy it gets at Apple retailers. She assured me it was all good and even handed me a sticky note with a case number and other relevant info.
When I got to the store I was met by a very nice young woman at the front of the store who politely but warily informed me that no arrangements had been made and I would have to wait 2 hours before I could be assisted. I was annoyed but restrained as I insisted on speaking with the manager.
And here is where the story changes. A self-assured young (I guess everyone seems young to me now) man, Greg, came up and listened empathetically to my tale of woe. He immediately agreed that I should be frustrated and had every right to expect that I should receive special treatment given my circumstances. He was apologetic and asked me if I would be willing to wait a moment as he checked into the tech team’s schedule. Within minutes he came back and apologetically said it might be as much as 10 minutes before a tech could effect the exchange. I was ecstatic – here I was girding for pushback and figuring how I would spend the next 2 hours in a place where I didn’t want to be and Greg was apologizing about a 10 minute wait!
As it turns out, it was less than 10 minutes, the tech guy was as friendly, as self-assured and as competent as Greg and quickly got me taken care of. I walked out an even more loyal Applephile than when I had arrived.
The kicker was that, as I was being taken care of, I knew the protocol that Greg and the others were operating out of. I had been trained to do exactly the same at various points in my career. But even with that knowledge, I still felt special and was very taken with the Apple team’s professionalism and empathy.
I realized as I was happily driving home, that I had just been in the same situation that many of my internal clients have been in countless times when faced with missed deadlines, typos, cost overruns etc. etc. etc. I vowed to “be Greg” whenever I encountered frustrated clients in the future. You may want to consider the same.