Customer Service – Fail!

Two words that don’t seem to belong together these days are “Customer” and “Service“. Recently I paid good money to buy a brand new version on Nuance’s diction software – MacSpeech Scribe. Scribe promises to allow you to use the Mac or iPhone’s audio source  to input your verbiage. (Their other apps require a special mike.) Great! So I sent them $80 USD for the digital download and got the software. However when I tried to install the software it asked for a “license.key” file. downloaded the license key from the web site, but the software doesn’t recognize the license. So I open my browser and went to the site for support.

After about 15 minutes of thrashing about on circular links I found that there is no way send a simple email to them. Phone support is available Mon – Fri 9 – 5, but in 2012 who needs to call a person to ask a question. Come to think of it, if this company hides behind it’s web site and support forums, what is the likelihood that I would actually end up speaking with someone who works at the company? Since this company seems to like to hide they would most likely use a third party call center. By using a forum to get support, they are probably hoping that the end users would end up supporting each other.

Sure you are trying to keep costs down. That is no excuse for poor customer service. I regularly sell Apple computers to clients and lose money doing it – because it’s the right thing to do. I buy Macs from a distributor who eats up a large percentage of the sales margin and charge shipping to send us the Mac. More often than not my client will pay me by credit card. My credit card merchant supplier takes their percentage and I end up $10 in the hole. BUT my client is happy!!!

Additionally, if a client asks for a product or service that I don’t provide, I often refer them to another supplier who does. I will even help them make the decision about what is the best product to meet their needs. I have even taken clients into a competitors store to help them make the purchase. Apple often has a better deal than I can provide – so I refer the client to buy from Apple directly. Sure you can see that I’m losing money on this engagement, but the client is pleased because they get what the need and deserve.

Recently a client of mine, a expert photographer, referred me to another company where I could buy a “Red” DSLR camera as an Xmas present. The sales rep was helpful and made sure I left with what I needed to make sure that the Xmas day reveal was pleasant. Where the support failed was when I asked the sales rep point blank whether the camera would go on sale before Xmas or during Boxing Week. He told me not to worry, as I was buying the Extended Warranty I would get 30 days price protection. You guessed it! Three days later the camera went on sale for $50 off. Since it was the pre-Xmas week, I figured they would be busy, so I would follow up after Xmas… I had 30 day price protection after all. After Xmas, I contacted the sales rep, who had given me his card, and imagine my surprise when I was told that the price protection was only in effect while the camera was on sale… not before or after but “during”. WTF is the point of the “30 Day price protection” then?

If I tried to evade my clients or provide them with insufficient information I wouldn’t have any clients. In case you’re wondering, I would have called the client and told them to “get in here and get your discount”. I often will tell clients to go to another store, even Apple Retail, if there is a better deal to be had (ask my clients – they will tell you!) Also we don’t hide behind our website. There are several ways to get in touch with us by email, phone, through the Apple Consultant Network site, from Apple (1800 MY APPLE) and our online ticket system. If I don’t answer, leave a message I will get back to you.

Ah! Always read the Fine Print:

If your xxx warrantied product goes on sale at xxx OR any other Canadian retailer and is in stock we will gladly price match the product within 30 days of your purchase. The advertised item must be the same brand and model as the originally purchased product, must be new, factory sealed and subject to manufacturer warranty applicable in Canada. xxx does not price match a competitor’s advertised price for ‘time limited‘ or ‘minimum quantity‘ specials, including Boxing Week prices, nor does it apply to advertising errors,special package prices, restricted offers, manufacturers’ rebates, bonus offers, online auctions or photofinishing.

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