Thanks Steve – This is how customer service should work!

steve jobsBy Alec Hogg 

A year ago, I subscribed through the Apple iTunes store to the online edition of Fast Company magazine. It became apparent quite quickly it wasn’t for me. With slow SA bandwidth the heavy downloads seemed to take forever. And when it arrived the content wasn’t adding much value. But I’d paid for the year so accepted my fate.

Then last week I was notified that £8.99 had been deduced from my account for the automatic renewal of the Fast Company subscription. Even after converting into Rands (R160) it’s not exactly a King’s Ransom. But it’s always irritating to pay for something you don’t want. Especially because of a mistake made a year before.

Now comes the pleasant surprise.

Along with the invoice, the Apple iTunes store provides a prominent link, highlighted in blue, requesting that you “report a problem”.  I clicked and was asked to explain why I wasn’t happy. Two minutes later – literally – a two sentence explanation had been followed by an email from Apple saying the purchase had been reversed.

No long explanations. No phone calls to a call centre followed by a sheaf of forms detailing why I wanted my money back. Apple treated me respectfully, accepted my word and reversed the purchase. Immediately.

It’s a huge difference to the experience I went through recently when my Discovery Credit Card was fraudulently used by someone who skimmed it, duplicated the details and started spending on air tickets, direct mail orders and other easily checkable purchases.

First off I needed to spend ages on the line to the FNB Call Centre (can’t Discovery afford its own people?) answering many questions that were not easy off the top of your head. Then there were those damn forms whose return was demanded in a week. When the deadline passed another email arrived warning if the forms were not completed within a couple days my “claim” would lapse. It made me feel like I was the criminal. And FNB, remember, brags about how it is SA’s best bank in customer service.

Thanks, again, Steve Jobs. Not just for my iPhone, iPad, iPod and iMac. But for another reminder of how business – and its critical component of customer service – should be done. It’s a pity the people who should be listening, still don’t. At least not here on the Southern Tip of Africa.

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