Dave Wiener, the RSS guy, recently posted about his experience as a customer with Apple. He had ordered an iPhone and something went wrong in the process of shipping it to him. So he reached out to customer support:
When you call 1-800-MYAPPLE, an intelligent robot answers the phone, introduces itself as as such and kept sending me to tech support when I had a customer service problem, and said so clearly in short phrases. I am trained at talking to Alexa, Siri and my Tesla, I know how to give them commands. #Apple’s boastful robot
Then, on my way back to tech support, it asked me to identify myself, but didn’t say what info it wanted. It paused and in a stern voice said I had not answered the question in enough time. #
And then it connected me to customer service to talk to a human. #
Which btw was exactly what I was hoping for when I called the number in the first place. #
This is a great example of how Customer Service is part of Customer Experience. In this situation Apple has chosen to automate part of its Customer Service with a phone-bot. However the experience of the phone-bot is creating a new problem for the customer. Apple’s decision to implement the phone-bot is probably based on cost, you don’t have to have as many humans to answer the phone if the phone-bot can resolve the issue first.
One hopes that the Customer Service rep, that Dave eventually spoke with, was able to submit Dave’s complaint about the phone-bot. Then that complaint needs to make its way to whomever implements the phone-bot so that an adjustment can be made.
Unfortunately for Dave and Apple the experience did not get better. Based on his phone call he got an email that talks about ‘replacing’ his phone. Since he never received the phone this makes Dave feel like he did something wrong in the situation. Not good. Then there is an issue with the payment which ends up being due to Apple trying to charge someone else’s card. Really not good.
Clearly Dave is emotional in these posts and rightfully so. You spend $1300 on a phone from a company that prides itself on great customer experiences and your expectations should be high. In this case we see that Apple’s customer support channel may be suffering from too much automation. We don’t know what the inside of Apple’s decision to automate this looks like but from the outside the experience is not great.
Things continued to get worse in this case as well. Mother nature brought in a big snow storm and now UPS has lost the phone. Isn’t business fun? The question on my mind is how can Apple take this one case and apply it to their business to resolve the issues?