The Better Experience

Call Centers.

Everyone has them.

Some are really legacy, like banks. Others are pretty newer.

Most customers are not fond of them.

Whose fault is it then? Is it the organization’s fault that customers hate their call center? Or perhaps it is the vendor’s fault for selling a substandard solution. Maybe it is the outsourcing company’s fault. At some point, Indian outsourced call centers took the brunt of the hate due to language and poor service. They have improved a lot but we need to get to the bottom of why customers are unhappy with the call center.

I’ve written before about Apple’s differentiated service. I believe it’s all “about the experience.”

Since then, I have had the opportunity to test Apple’s service, a few times. And unlike other organizations, it was definitely not dreadful and in fact, you looked forward to connecting with their support. Organizations talk about omnichannel this, multi-channel that, customer service excellence and all but it comes down to the experience. Omnichannel doesn’t work if you need to constantly repeat your problem to every single person you engage with just to move your case closer to completion.

Context and handover are key. It doesn’t matter if you need the latest cutting-edge technology to do that or some genuine old-fashioned people and process, but make it work, and you’ve got it.

A recent repair for a six-year-old MacBook Pro was quickly diagnosed via chat and transferred to email as it was covered under a Service Warranty (similar to a recall) and passed on finally to a scheduled service appointment at an authorized repair facility which was followed up by a voice call to confirm. The facility used SMS to notify me of repair completion and it was done. Another repair of an older device was equally smooth and quick. The experience was literally enjoyable.

No fancy hoops, no crazy IVR menus, or complex processes. To me, it was pure respect for the customer and the customer’s time.

So, no, it’s not the system. It’s not the organization. It’s the experience. And when I needed a new laptop, I got myself another MacBook Pro. That’s the secret.