Posted by: Chad | August 21, 2010

Service or Policy Failure (or neither)

Earlier this week, I went to return a broken IPOD to a national retailer.  Though I have no love for this retailer or Apple (this is my 3rd broken IPOD), the product or retailer is not the point.

At the retailer, I was informed by the store manager on duty that there policy was that electronics, such as an IPOD, had to be returned within 15 days.  With that said, he found a “complimentary customer service” link that Apple provides in the small print (very small) of the “product information” booklet that I could use.  Apple had a policy that may cover the IPOD for up to one year.

This retailer also has two references on their posted return board that stated, customer satisfaction was #1 and ask for a store manager if you are not satisfied.

I understand this retailers policies.  Policies are policies, since there are dishonest and unethical people in the world, you need rules.  I also understand the position of Apple.

Only one answer to one question had me puzzled.

I asked the store manager, “Apple provides a one year return policy, but you only provide 15 days, do you agree with that?”

His response was, “NO, but that is our policy” (end of conversation).  Keep in mind this was a store manager of a national retailer.

What is the right answer, or the right position to take, if you are in his position?

  1. Blindly agree with company policy and provide the token cliche, “It is what it is” (As he did)
  2. Explain the policy (even though I understand) in attempts to keep a customer as happy as possible
  3. “Sir if you give me your email, I will send you a link to follow to make your return process with Apple as painless as possible”

In the end, I was able to figure out the issue in about an hour (with some online help) and the IPOD seems to be working fine.  BUT, will I consider where I buy electronics next time?  Yes

What do you expect in regards to BASIC customer service?


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