Over the weekend I dropped my iPad. It was a classic case of butter fingers and I’m so glad it was entirely my fault and nothing to do with my wife or children. It landed right on the corner, dented the casing and smashed the screen into hundreds of thumb shredding shards of toughened glass. Miraculously the device still worked perfectly. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it despite the fall except for of course the screen was criss-crossed with dozens of spider like cracks and resembled a cheese grater to the touch. I made an appointment at the Genius Bar of our local Apple Store at the Touchwood Centre in Solihull to find out what the damage to my wallet would be.
The Genius Bar in Solihull was pretty busy today. Lots of folks with problems with their iPhone and Macbooks, but the Geniuses were working hard to clear the backlog of appointments. My appointment with the Geniuses was booked for 2pm and it was about 2.25 before I was seen by anyone, but no matter I could see how busy it was. I told my Genius exactly what happened and it didn’t take him long to assess the damage. He asked me a couple of technical details about the accident in order to help improve future designs.
“What sort of surface did it fall onto?”
“Umm concrete…. No tarmac”
“What height did it fall from?”
“Umm this high” raising my hand to my chest…
“Did it slip out of your hands?”
“No if fell from a pile of stuff I was carrying…”
“Have you got insurance?”
“Yes, but I think that a repair won’t be covered by the excess…”
My Genius prods all this information into his weird little iPod Touch device, examines the damage and takes down details of serial number and so on…
“You’ve only had this a couple of weeks…” says he.
I reply in the affirmative and babble on about it being used at work for development and presenting before trying to press him about how long it will take to repair and how much it will cost.
“I tell you what,” he says, “how about I just replace it free of charge on the condition that you don’t drop it again?”
I’m speechless…. “yeah, of course, fantastic” I splutter.
I can’t believe it. He calls upstairs for a replacement unit and continues with the paperwork while I manage to pick up my lower jaw from the floor. The replacement iPad pitches up and is an exact match except it arrives in a non-descript cardboard box instead of the swish white retail packaging.
“Here you go” my Genius continues, “I’ll take this and here’s your free replacement. Have you backed up your iPad profile?”
“What about erasing the data off this one” he asks….
I wipe my old iPad and before its even finished its bundled into a box, tagged and sent back upstairs. One more thing, I’m asked to confirm my name, email address and sign some paperwork and that’s me done….
Wow… just wow. I still can’t believe what has just happened, even a couple of hours after the event. What an awesome feat of customer service. I still can’t figure out how and why that happened. The paperwork that I received by email mentions a gesture of goodwill, but that doesn’t explain the commercials behind what just happened.
Here’s a little snippet from the repair paperwork. Note the Proposed Resolution.
The email address I used was my work email and isn’t connected to my Apple account, so its not as if they were able to deduce I’m a valued iTunes customer even if I was. I don’t remember stating I worked for an App developer, so that can’t have been a factor. However the cost of replacing my iPad free of charge means they have got me hooked as a loyal customer, but surely they don’t do that for everyone with a smashed up iPad, do they? Actually I don’t care about the rationale behind it, I’m just so happy about the outcome. And there’s more. I asked whether my new iPad was a reconditioned one or a brand new one. It’s brand new – apparently a reconditioned one “wouldn’t be very good customer service would it?”
Thank you to the Apple Store in Solihull. For replacing my smashed iPad free of charge, you have won my vote for the award of the most awesome demonstration of customer service skillz…. EVER!
Author: Paul Saunders