It finally happened after years of avoiding it. I was getting out of my car this weekend and as the door opened my iPhone went flying out of my hands. In what seemed like slow motion, it hurtled up and down as I leaped (literally) out of my car and dove to try to catch it. That’s when I heard the crash and saw my phone lying on the ground. I picked it up and the display was smashed – big time. For anyone who knows me, this is akin to saying Star Wars called off the upcoming movie being released in December. Panic overcame me. How am I going to work? I am traveling soon – I can’t possibly travel without my phone?! Deep breaths, Ed. Everything will be fine – maybe? Unfortunately, my panic only grew as the thought of even going one day without being “connected” overtook any semblance of rational thought. I immediately went home and got on my laptop. I checked all my local Apple stores to see when I could make an appointment. It was Saturday and before the stores even opened at 10, so I thought my odds would be great to get in and out pretty easily.
As the image of Gary Coleman suggests, I was out of luck. The earliest any store within 40 miles of me could get me in was Tuesday! I started to get angry and panic even more. I cannot possibly wait that long – I need my phone to do my job! Yes – I was being a bit dramatic (OK – a lot) but I kept getting angrier and angrier with the fact that Apple service could not offer me a solution that was any quicker than 4 days out to my problem. I then turned to, what I like to call, the “Yenta” network. The “Yenta” network consists of my wife and all the other moms on Facebook she converses with. I knew they always share this type of info and was hoping there was some sort of service I was unaware of that could fix my problem earlier than what was given to me by Apple. Much to my surprise, the “Yenta” network came through with TWO options for me. One was a local guy in my town who fixes broken iPhone screens and the other was Staples. Staples, in my initial gut reaction, was another “big” company that could care less about its customers like Apple so I said “no thanks” on that option and sought out the local dude.
I looked up the local dude and drove to his office (5 minutes from my home) in early afternoon on Saturday. As I reached his door I saw the sign: “Open Monday – Friday 9 – 6”. Panic again, but this time the panic was followed by anger. I thought – for a business that caters to people breaking their iPhones and iPads, don’t you think they would be open on the weekends? Most people work during the week and the weekends, I assume, would be an awesome time to be open for people looking to quickly solve a problem, especially with the Apple “service” I was experiencing. OK – I had one more option – Staples. I called them expecting the worst, but what followed shocked me. I was immediately told to come in and that, if nothing internally on the phone was broken beyond the screen, they could have it fixed and back to me in a couple of hours. A. Couple. Of. Hours.
Consider me floored. I got in my car and whipped down to their local store. I went straight to their new “easy tech” stand and the dude knew who I was and was already waiting for me. He took some info, commented that he loved my shirt (Beastie Boys FTW!) took my phone and said we’ll call you in an hour to let you know what’s up. Literally an hour later I got a call – your phone is ready – come and get it! Here I was, thinking Staples was just like Apple with “service”, and now I am thinking they are awesomeness personified. I was truly impressed. The reason I am sharing this story is threefold:
1. Customer experience is everything – First with Apple – the fact that I could not even be seen by a human being for four days is unacceptable. I LOVE Apple products but this service leaves much to be desired. Then think about the local dude. I wanted so badly to think I would get better service from a one man team but the dude doesn’t even open in the most optimal time for customers like me. Now think about my Staples experience – because of that service I can’t shut up about them and they have a loyal customer now should it happen again.
2. This is very relevant to recruiters – We all love talking about candidate experience, and I am one of the people screaming the loudest. This whole scenario just really crystallized it for me in a very personal way. While I was not applying for a job, I could only imagine the frustration I was feeling was akin to what a lot of candidates go through on a daily basis. While I still love Apple products, I must admit I was very turned off by them as a company and a “service”. If I was a candidate I don’t know if I would still “buy” from them if this was a pure job play for me. As a matter of fact – I KNOW I wouldn’t want to work there if this was a pure candidate “service” process. Think about how you treat candidates and customers.
3. Reputation Matters – Think back to my initial reaction about turning to Staples. There was no evidence of them not delivering on service, but for some reason that is what I thought. Also think back to the “Yenta” network. Through simple word of mouth from people who had positive experiences with them I was given “leads” (referrals if you are a recruiter). Think Employment Brand here too. I can’t help but relate my reaction (initially- since has changed dramatically) to Staples based on what I knew of them as a brand. Likewise, my experience with Apple now has sent off one pissed off customer in to the world. If this was a job appication process you can bet I would never apply there again and I would make sure my friends and colleagues knew I wasn’t impressed. Reputation matters.
In short – experience matters. Make it count. #wecandobetter