Genius by appointment

Many of you who read this rubbish have come to do so through the common interest of Florida holidays and more specifically Walt Disney World.

For me, when it all boils down, one of THE most important factors for my enjoyment of the happiest place on earth is the customer service.  Calling it that seems to be a bit of an understatement really, as it goes beyond that, and I suppose, it is their ability to make their customers feel special that sets them apart even from their similar neighbours at Universal.

What I have found though is that now I have been spoiled by this experience, you tend to find yourself having to lower your bar of expectations when you are anywhere but on Disney property.  Certainly in the UK, service that makes you remember it is so infrequent, you can’t remember it!!

This week, I experienced such customer service, but first some back story.

Previous blogs here have outlined my chagrin with my mobile phone.  I say my mobile phone, but they aren’t really.  They are supplied by work, as you know I would be far too tight to throw around hundreds of pounds on such devices.  My HTC Desire was lovely, but it fell out with my Mondeo’s bluetooth, so I had to say goodbye to that, and the only other model in the dusty cupboard was an old HTC 2 (Windows not Android alas), with a screen like an iMax, and the speed of Anne Widdicombe.

I have endured it for a few weeks now, and was beginning to really fall out with it, when all of a sudden, fortunately, someone at work left, leaving a vacant iPhone.  I expressed my disgust one last time at my current handset, and outlined the upcoming availability of said iPhone.  Luckily it was all agreed, and last Friday one the Helpdesk boys brought it it over to my desk.

“It just need activating with iTunes” he says.

Sounds easy thought I, and I proceeded to abandon all work for the next few hours (as it turned out) in an attempt to make it work.  It didn’t so I returned to the IT folk and became lost in meetings for most of the day.  On my return, it was very broken indeed, and the real prospect of being stuck with my current phone filled me with dread.

Genius Bar
I want to take you to a Genius Bar!

“I can send it away to get fixed” he says, ” or you could just take it to an Apple store and see if the Genius Bar can fix it”.

Here’s me thinking that the IT chap’s job was to supply working kit to employees.  I did run an IT department for a while with my last employer, and if only I had known I could have abdicated fixing stuff to the staff.

“Yeh, the server’s gone down, but there’s a couple of screwdrivers and a manual in that drawer.  Let me know how you get on”.

Spurred on by my abhorrence for the HTC, I left work early (I wasn’t going in my own time!) and made the short journey from Salford Quays to the Trafford Centre.  I Dad walked to the Apple store, and joined the disciples of shiny in the shop.  The Genius Bar at the back looked nice and empty, so I approached.  Before I get anywhere near my tales of iPhone woe I am told I need an appointment. Oh!

I had visions of being booked in three weeks on Wednesday, but no there was a free one in twenty minutes.  So I spent that time playing with shiny things in the shop, and funnily enough googling the specific error code my iPhone kept throwing at me, 1015.

There were lots of fixes offered, but they are all aimed at people who actually know what they are doing.  Folk that have Jail broke it or something, and as I only understood about one word in four, I told myself I was in the right place for sure.  My appointment time rolled around, and I was greeted by my Genius, and I outlined the issue.

I was hoping he’d say, “Oh yes, error 1015, we know that one, I just have to jigger this pokery and you are all set”.  Alas no, he set the iPhone up, linking it to a laptop that probably cost as much as my car, and slowly and deliberately kept me abreast of everything he was doing.  Having scanned my iPhone’s serial number he assured me it was within warranty, and they would sort it out whatever the issue was.

Within about two minutes he two was confronted with 1015, and confirmed that indeed, something was wrong.

So what was his fix?  Simple, he walked to a drawer, pulled out a brand new iPhone, and gave it to me!

Now as Genius goes, I’m not saying this fix needs the brain the size of a planet, but in terms of customer satisfaction it is a gem.  Not only did I walk away with a shiny new product, that works, the chap even apologised to me for having to come all the way to the shop to get it fixed!!

As I walked out of the shop, I closed my eyes and imagine I would emerge onto Main Street.  Instead, I joined the hoards of Mancs getting in each other’s way on their way to New Look and Schuh, but still, it took all my will not to turn my warm glow of customer satisfaction into a mass spending spree between the rear of the shop and the exit.

It wasn’t just the quick replacement of something faulty, it was the way in which it was dealt with.  With courtesy, speed, and an absolute determination to make sure the customer was not put out, or disappointed in any way.

As we encounter service like this so seldom, we tend to forget what impact it can have on a brand.  I am not one of the Apple addicts that I have encountered, but I like their stuff.  However, if this is the way they treat their customers, I may just hand over my salary every month and cut out the middle man.

So Friday evening was spent getting to know the iPhone again, and reveling in the ease of use, plethora of apps, and all round goodiness of it.  Setting stuff like email up is simple, it is intuitive to get anywhere, and I remembered why it is the standard to which all other such devices aspire.  I like it!  The Desire was pretty much equal, but the lack of the handsfree funtioning was it’s down fall for me.

The week just gone doesn’t have much else to report other than this.  The garage is more bedroom than garage now, which is good.  We have four walls, and most of them are plastered.  They even started tiling the en suite this week so we must be getting somewhere close to finished now.  We’re at the stage now where we need to go and look at carpets, wardrobes, paint, and we did a bit of this on Saturday.  The net result of that was to be astonished at the price of the paint that goes into the Dulux Paint Pod machine!!

Rebecca Party
Can we stop time please?

Saturday evening, Rebecca went off to a “proper” party in a function room and everything.  This required a dress, shoes destined to cripple her and her looking about 23.  It also required us to drop off and pick up her and her friend, again!!  Anyway, by half nine she was ready to come home as those shoes were causing her long-term mobility issues.

Emily’s news this week were her Mock GCSE results.  They were OK, enough to get her into the sixth form college, were they to be the same in the summer, but she was a little disappointed to be honest, and hopefully now she will realise that she can’t just turn up and get the grades she is capable of.

I live in  hope anyway.  “I have been revising” roughly translates into, I had my books out on the bed whilst conducting seven facebook chats, and listening to my iPod.

The summer of my O levels cruelly coincided with the World Cup, so I know all about distractions for revision.  I remember vividly watching some crucial match whilst trying to understand truncated spurs (Geography) and how to ask for Black Forest Gateaux in German.

There are ever more distractions now, so I’ve threatened to bin her laptop should I not see suitable evidence of learning stuff.  Victorian Dad, that’s me.

Right, I’m off to play with my phone for a bit.

Till the next time……


4 thoughts on “Genius by appointment

  1. Are you sure that this has been written by you? Are you feeling ok? This is, in general, a very positive and inspiring entry which makes me believe that you have maybe delegated the writing of this to someone a little happier in spirit than what I have become used to in your blog!! I am left feeling a little….erm….different than how I usually am when I come away from reading your latest entry. I wont say its a nasty feeling and it could well be that you are so surprised at the service you were delivered this week that has left you a little out of sorts which then in turned was passed onto me. Can I therefore expect a return to normal service next week?

  2. Come on Craig, there must have been something wrong at Appledonia. Harsh lighting?, too many Hipsters?….it cant have been perfect!

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