As I sit here typing and enjoying a beverage, I don’t feel angry or outraged, nor am I disheartened by the sad state of the world. I’m just happy I planned for these mistakes and for others that didn’t happen. It’s something I wouldn’t have done when I was younger, and I would have ended this day upset. Now I see my interactions with customer service as a sort of strategy game: can I plan my way around the obstacles the game will put in my way? Today I came out on top. Tomorrow is another round.
Dr. Drang did a post on two customer service stories that are worth considering.
I would not be a bit surprised if the airline that gave him conflicting information about gate passes at O’Hare Airport was United although this kind of issue could happen with any airline. It seems that United has been slowly but steadily going downhill for a while and since the Continental merger the downhill slide rate has increased. I fly United almost exclusively because I’ve got some status with them and this makes things a bit easier but once that status is gone (I stop flying to LA to visit my mother) and my miles dry up I’ll play the field.
When think about these kinds of scenarios (customer service reps not taking personal responsibility and attempting to pass the buck when mistakes are made) I think bigger than individual companies: it seems the infrastructure of the world is coming apart at the seams, both physically: bridges are falling apart, airplanes are lost en route, and socially: the people responsible for overseeing these things are disorganized, inept, or badly managed.
We have a wireless network in our house. An older (flying saucer) AirPort Extreme base station covers most of the house but in the days of the titanium PowerBook with it’s weak wifi capabilities, I wanted a stronger signal at the far end of the house so I bought an AirPort Express and used it to extend the network wirelessly with WDS. It has worked flawlessly for many years, not only giving us better wifi reception but also allowing us to play music from iTunes on our stereo system downstairs through AirTunes.
Yesterday I noticed that the AirPort Express wasn’t lit up and seemed to be dead. I moved it to another power outlet, reset it with a paper clip but could not get it to start up. No lights, no power.
I posted my predicament on flickr in a Macintosh group there and it seems there others have had similar problems.
I was about to order a new AirPort Express when a woman with username *Karo* posted that she had had a similar problem and the AppleCare service plan she had on her MacBook Pro covered a replacement. Wow, this was great news.
This morning I called AppleCare (which I have on my MacBook Pro) and a new AirPort Express is on its way to me now, no charge. Wow, now this is the way to do business.
I don’t think many people know this but when you have AppleCare on a Macintosh computer of any kind, all Apple network and peripheral equipment is covered under the same policy. I’m not sure what the limits of this are but certainly my two AirPort routers are fully covered, no matter how old they are. The serial number on my AirPort Express clearly shows that it was bought long before my current MacBook Pro but it did not matter, it’s covered.
This is great news and one more reason to consider AppleCare for those of you who never buy it.