Hi, i'm Lucian and here I share my experiences, thoughts and opinions on life in the blue cloud. I'm a Cloud Solution Architect, specialising in Azure infrastructure, at Microsoft, in Sydney, Australia.

Learn from negative customer experiences, but, celebrate and high-five positives more

I was sitting at my desk. I was at home and it was early on a Sunday morning. Mrs Lucian was still in bed and I was catching up on some RSS feeds and news from overnight. Coffee in my left hand, right hand affixed on my Macbook Pro’s funky new Force Touch wonder of a trackpad.

Sidebar- I find myself not using a mouse much anymore. That’s either a nod to the brilliance of the MBP’s new track pad, or I find it faster to use my right index finger to navigate the interface.

I’m what you would call on the spectrum of OCD. I like order; things to go in their rightful places. Neatness. Form. All attributes or mantras that I live by. That doesn’t always extend to every single thing in my life, but, for the important things and things that are in plain sight all the time. My Macbook is one of the things fastidiously keep to attention at all times.

I’ve had this laptop for almost a year now. It’s my third Macbook. Not that I’m counting, but, to set the scene, I have had several in the past and all of which are still in fine running order. The oldest, a mid-2009 15-inch unit runs as well todays the day I first turned it on. It’s amazing that a device that’s 7+ years old, having been lugged around client site to client site, train ride to the next train ride, all over Sydney and even Melbourne, runs so well.

Along with being a little OCD, I’m careful with belongings.

It came as shock when, after I had finished my coffee that Sunday morning, blew away some dust from the screen to find that a spec was just not going away. I scurried and fussed over it with different cleaning agents only to realise it was a dead pixel. Not just one. This is a retina display and the pixels are so small that the naked eye can barely tell. Well, my mid tier vision from siting to close the TV when I was younger can’t really see the individual pixels as I run in scaled resolution: more space mode (2880 x 1800 pixels).

My experience

The following Monday morning I was at Kloud NSW HQ. Previous project finalised and taking a 2 day breather after 6 months on-site. I decided to call Apple and see what can be done by this spec of imperfection on my perfect harmony of a laptop.

The call was brief. Nothing can really be done over the phone. So I was kindly offered a 10.15am genius bar invite at the Apple Store. Unfortunately it was for the following Sunday. Not the end of the world, but, a little disappointing. I had to wait almost a week. It took all of 5 seconds to get over that fact and I pressed on with my week and my life.

Fast forward to the Sunday morning. The Apple Store was a buzz of activity even before it opened. A crowd and a line had formed as I walked past at 9.55am. Some with expressions of frustration and agony having to wait. Some with expressions of exhaustion holding their 27" iMac’s (yes that did happen).

I walked off and didn’t stress at the sight of such a large number of people having known that I have an appointment. Feeling great already. Tick.

When I returned I was again impressed. I’ve not had to come see the lovely people at the Apple Store for any faults as every device I’ve owned has been fine. This experience was what all retail fault, warranty or problem resolution should be like.

I presented my spec of imperfection and all was smiles and processed order. My Macbook was restarted and a centralised diagnostics was run. The data streamed to the genius' iPad with my warranty claim info and my Apple ID with complete history of my device and account. A precaution to validate that nothing else was wrong. I was impressed by the speed and effortlessness that this process went through. Tick.

Nothing else was wrong and the device was taken away. They had replacement stock for a new screen. All ~$920 of it. That seamed allot, but, considering I was covered by Apple Care, the figure was nothing more than a process formality and a representation of value.

I was given the expectation of about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the repair to finalise. Considering the work, having to take the device apart with those tiny star-shaped screws, and given the business of the store, not really that bad at all. I read online it would have to be sent away for 3-5 business days. That would have definitely not made my Sunday. The 1h30m was not a problem at all. Tick.

I can’t be the exception. I must be the rule, otherwise, no one would buy Apple products. Less than an hour from my initial diagnostics review and dropping off my Macbook, I was summoned back to the store: you’re Macbook is done and ready for pick up! TICK. Expectation well exceeded. TICK. TICK.

The result

The experience got me thinking about all the bad and disheartening warranty claims I’ve randomly had over the years. Nothing came close to the smooth and easy process that was my experience with Apple.

I lie.

From a professional sense, I’ve dealt with Lenovo allot in my past junior roles at system integrators. Having business support with Lenovo actually got you on-site repair and replacement of parts. Tick. So that experience was great, for the most part, but, that was a business grade machine with considerable upgraded warranty support.

What that Lenovo and this, fresh in my mind, experience with Apple showed were the leading examples of how customer support should be handled.

I’m a consultant. I design and implement solutions. I support the customer. I’m basically in customer support myself. I can only learn from these experiences and try to improve my interactions with a customer when something bad happens.

…customers rarely remember good times. They expect them. They only remember and judge you on the bad times…

Rule #1 (or insert random number here to sound like there’s a lot of rules) of being a consultant is that customers rarely remember good times. They expect them. They only remember and judge you on the bad times. Although, this most likely applies to any customer service industry and environment.

Final words

Positive and great experiences when dealing with customer service are great. We all want to have those. However, it’s a shame that is the expectation. I say a shame in that it’s a default. Anything but that gets tattooed on our brains.

We overlook and often forget about positives and focus on the negative.

I wanted to highlight this experience to change the perception, in my mind at least, to high-five and pat on the back the positive experience. To look for and savour those.

Good will always overcome any bad. It’s best to remember that and not dwell on the bad.