I’m a Mac user—nay, a Mac lover. They’ve done an exceptional job of not only gaining customers, but creating disciples, witnesses to their products’ user-friendliness.
I’m guilty of the occasional light-hearted jab at a couple of my PC-using team members. The joke always being, when they’re having issues with any of their non-Mac “devices,” that they should just get a Mac. Because Macs simply don’t have problems.
The problem with that thinking–that Macs don’t have problems–is that this particular Mac user is having a problem. And that’s a problem.
I remember, while reading the book Steve Jobs (can you guess what it’s about?), being impressed with his perfectionism. Sure, it occasionally resulted in regrettable interpersonal ineptitude, but Steve’s vision for the experience that his customers would enjoy was phenomenal.
He was painstaking about the appearance and organization of the internal components of his devices—the parts that most people would never even see! He is the reason we have tempered glass on the faces of our phones—because no other material had the exact properties that he imagined, and he simply was not okay with a diminished experience on the part of the consumer.
So, back to my problem. I’ve started having some issues with my apple ID. The details are boring at best, and immaterial to this post. The point is how my problem is being handled.
I feared the worst. I don’t have any sort of AppleCare coverage under which I can take refuge. I was afraid I might have to pay to even get support. So I decided my best bet was to talk to a human being, in person, and maybe bat my eyelashes and put on a little charm if necessary.
That turned out to be the right move, although my eyelashes remained relatively stationary. In short order, I was on the phone with someone at Apple who could help, and she immediately took a very personal and sincere interest in my problem.
Right off the bat, Kim gave me her direct line so that I could skip being passed around or explaining and re-explaining the problem to whomever happened to answer the phone (we’ve all been there, and it sucks). She emphasized that I could call her directly with any questions, whether it was about this problem or any other.
She also did a consistently fantastic job of something that is a pillar of my team’s operation: she shaped my expectations faithfully and realistically. She let me know, every time we spoke, when she’d be working next, when I should expect to hear from her next, how long it might take, and so on. And best of all, she actually did what she said! When a particular task wasn’t yet completed, she still called me on the day she had told me she would, just to let me know that she was still waiting.
Most striking was her concern with my experience. I could hear it in her questions, and in her apologies. She didn’t apologize to appease me. Even after I said to her that it wasn’t a big deal and not to worry about the delay, she maintained, “Well, I just feel like you’ve been having to deal with this and have had this in the back of your mind for a couple weeks now, and I know that’s not ideal. I know you have kids and work and don’t want to have to be talking to me about this all the time.”
That is a person who is expending energy to imagine and understand where I’m coming from, what I might be experiencing, and empathizing with me. From a customer experience standpoint, that is powerful stuff.
I expected a typical, AT&T-style call center experience. In short, impersonal and ineffective. Apple could easily treat these issues with the same, least-we-can-do-to-get-by manner as most large companies, but they don’t. They imagine and internalize the customer experience (Steve’s obsession), and commit themselves to the quality of that experience.
The point of this post is not that you should all go buy MacBooks. (You should, though.)
The point is that no matter what you’re doing—no matter how seemingly inconsequential the task—no matter where you’re working, who you’re working with or how much you’re earning, you have the opportunity to serve people well.
We are faced daily with the opportunity to serve, to contribute, to make an impression, to care for others. Mark my words: they will notice, and it will pay dividends.
Go-to Resource: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: READ. THIS. BOOK. Not only is it riveting–it reads like a novel!–but for all his delusions and selfishness, the man was also brilliantly meticulous. I found his devotion to peoples’ experiences to be truly inspiring. Certain insights that I gained from reading this book played a major role in my development of BrianBandas.com.