I have blogged about my love of the new iPhones and as anyone who reads knows I have the oversized plus while my wife have the regular (but still pretty large) 6. We love these phones, me especially, they are game changers in the way I use digital media in my life and honestly I am bummed I never jumped on the note bandwagon years ago. However, I have an iLife and I also couldn’t imagine giving that up for anything.

Like all good things they also have negatives. In the case of this it’s that while a growth in screen size, battery life and overall beauty they feel fragile and after a recent trip to the Pittsburgh children’s museum we proved that feeling to be a fact. Technically I proved it but with my wife’s phone. So, like any good tech loving husband you know I felt awful, although secretly thankful it wasn’t mine. A less than 2 foot drop shattered the screen. Like all good new tech with a fragile feeling phone owners we have insurance. We filed the simple online claim (extremely simple- well done) and our new phone would be here the following business day.

This is where the blog post gets interesting and I promise eventually I’ll make a point and even tie in the title of the blog… Eventually.

Days came and went, 5 to be exact before we were notified the phone was on back order and would require an additional 1-3 days. My wife had cut her fingers multiple times at this point, was no longer able to give her phone to a screaming child in Costco who both refused to get in the cart or do anything until she could watch Woody. Remember this is all my fault the phone fell from my pocket. However, 1-3 days is bearable. 1-3 days came and went multiple times, we’re now 2 weeks later I decide it’s time to make a call. I felt horrible.

I hate the customer service process, I am guaranteed to get someone I don’t understand they either mumble, have a thick accent or might just be messing with me. I also hate complaining, it’s not in my nature, I expect people to offer a service and live up to that service. That is what I would do and you know how that golden rule goes.

So the select your options game begins, I tried 3 different ways to get a human only to get recordings that ultimately hung up on me after telling me my phone would be available in 1-3 days. So I finally waited 43 minutes and got a person I explain my situation, how we need a phone and how they should make this right besides my cell phone carrier (whose name rhymes with print) has the phone in stock on their website. They repeatedly told me it would be here in 1-3 days and there was nothing else they could do for me. I hung up furious when she closed the phone call asking if she had solved my problems.

I let the anger stew for a little while and then this happened… I am making a point right now… I took to Twitter. I mentioned my horrible experience with my provider and the insurance “provider”. In less than 3 minutes I have responses from my carrier, the insurance provide and a competitor who offered me a better experience. Wow! I had invested 86 minutes going through the posted customer service method and had no results but 3 minutes on social media where the world could see and even better Google my opinion I had responses. I went back and forth through DM with the insurance company and a few minutes later I had exactly the solution I had asked for via phone and honestly even more. They didn’t have the phone available and wouldn’t for weeks. However, the sent me the money to purchase the phone direct from Apple which would arrive 3 days later and even refunded our deductable for the insurance.

My question, why did it require me to go on social media to blast them? Why did a bad public perception mean more to them than servicing the customer in private? Why did I invest so much time working with their customer service team when I could jump to social media and spent 92% less time (that’s right, real math on my blog).

The truth is in the future I will go straight to Twitter and bypass the traditional route. I would suggest other’s do the same. I would also tell my fellow eRetailers to think about how you are staffing this channel. How will you turn a negative brand experience into a positive? In my case it shouldn’t have come to that but in the future I would be complimentary if digital teams could resolve my issues in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the effort on my end. So if one of these service teams solves your problems remember the complimentary tweet.

Miche is an eCommerce expert and a big fan of Apple mobile devices but not necessarily the service providers for these devices. He writes for various internet retailer publications and michedwenger.com

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