Make Sure You Get All the Information

Posted on by in Customer Service

I have been an Apple fan for close to two decades and an owner/mac evangelist for 17 plus years.  And in those 17 years I haven’t had a serious problem with any of my computers.  However, a week ago, I noticed that my 15" Powerbook G4 was losing power, even though it was plugged in.  I left the room to take care of something with my kids and when I came back, my Powerbook was dead.  So first thing on Friday morning, I called Apple and explained what happened.  They tried a number of phone repair options and came to the conclusion that I’d have to send in my Powerbook for repair. 

Unfortunately, Apple has this somewhat arcane system where they send out an overnight package to you.  Since it was Friday, i didn’t get my box until Monday.  I shipped it overnight (their cost) and they received it on Tuesday.  They fixed it Tuesday afternoon, but it didn’t get shipped out until Wednesday.  So, this morning, when my computer arrived, I was excited.  Not having my laptop for a week was a killer (especially when you’re in the process of writing a book! Note: This is also why I haven’t been posting since last week). However, my joy soon turned to sorrow.  My computer wasn’t fixed. I turned it on, then plugged it in—and it still wouldn’t take a charge.

Now, why wasn’t it fixed correctly?  My best guess is that the person who took the original notes, didn’t write down all the details.  The service order form simply said, "No power/Light won’t turn on" (i.e. nothing about losing power while plugged in).  So, my guess is that the person who went to repair my laptop charged the battery, found out that it was working okay and thought, "That sure was easy."  However, they never knew that the problem was that my computer was losing power when plugged in because it wasn’t on the service order form. In other words, they didn’t have the all the information.  And when someone doesn’t have all the information, they can rarely solve a problem correctly (a great life principle!!!!).

Apple is a remarkable company in many regards, but service is not one of them.  When a computer owner has a computer down, they want their computer fixed quickly.  If a company does that quickly, that’s just meeting expectations, that’s not remarkable.  So, having to wait for a box, then sending that box in, then waiting for that box to return is already a two strike offense.  Not having it repaired correctly is a third strike.

But if you think about it, all of these problems are systems errors.  The system at Apple needs to be redesigned. The lack of full information being given to the technician who had to repair my computer was a system error.  The lack of Apple sending out DHL tracking numbers to those of us with repairs awaiting is a systems error, etc.  Basically, for a company bent on innovation and remarkable products, it would be great to see them deliver on remarkable service as well.

That said, in your company (or family/church/organization/non-profit) where are there some systems errors  that render your company et. al. less than remarkable?  And when you try to solve a problem, do you make sure that you and everyone else involved has all of the information necessary to make a correct diagnosis? I hope so because no one can get to remarkable without first meeting expectations and making sure that the problem is solved correctly.

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