We asked for nightmare tales of the Apple Genius Bar—from both sides of the bar. One Apple Store employee submitted a customer encounter that makes us despair about mankind.
The majority of Gizmodo commenters sang the praises of Apple’s in-house customer service, reporting helpful, pleasant interactions with Genius Bar and Store staffers. The horrors often originated from the employee perspective, with mind-bending stories of entitled customers who lost their shit over electronic devices.
I work as an FRS [Family Room Specialist] at an Apple Store, so I see more than my fair share of both good and bad when it comes to working with people, but at the end of the day my goal is to take the very best customer.
Even when they treat you badly.
I had a woman brought over to me and I could already tell she was upset and didn’t want to be here. I asked her what was wrong with her phone and she took it out of her purse and dropped it on the table. She looks me right in the eyes and says “Your fucking phone won’t turn on anymore.”
Okay, so it’s going to be one of those situations.
I ask her when was the last time her phone was working but before I could finish she stops me and states “I don’t honestly want to answer any questions, I just want you to either fix my phone or get me a new one. Now, like, right now. Otherwise I’m going to leave this shitty fucking phone here and get a Samsung. Your service here is horrendous and I had to wait twenty minutes just to be seen. FIX. THIS. PROBLEM.”
Well, I’m no stranger to confrontations and she probably has had a bad day without having a working phone, one of the atrocities that you can suffer if you live in the first world.
So I look up her serial number and notice that although her phone is outside its regular one year warranty it qualified for two quality programs that we offer for certain iPhone Fives. I want to help her despite her being super frustrating to work with. I go to one of my managers and explain the situation and ask if I could just replace her whole unit for another for no cost since it qualified for two quality programs. He has no problem with this, only pointing out that we didn’t have a replacement unit in stock but a store, about thirty minutes from my store has several.
I get excited and go back to her to explain that although her phone was outside its limited warranty I was going to replace it for her for free since it qualified for two programs. She doesn’t seem phased at first, and when I explain that although we don’t have the phone in stock I had several phones at another store about thirty minutes from here.
“You’re telling me to drive to a different location so I can pick up my phone? No, no. Fix this RIGHT NOW. I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO, IF YOU HAVE TO DRIVE THERE TO GET IT FOR ME OR HAVE IT BROUGHT TO ME, I WANT YOU TO FIX MY FUCKING PHONE.”
By now my manager, the one who just okayed replacing the phone for free wants to know what’s going on. She starts the exact same thing angry tirade at him. My manager tries to explain that we want to help her out, that she won’t need another appointment when she goes to the other store, that it’s going to be given to her at no cost, but she isn’t having it.
She says “Frankly, you guys trying to go above and beyond in terms of helping me makes me sick, I ask you to fix my phone and you want me to drive to another store to get it replaced. No, I don’t want a iPhone Five, if you’re going to give me a new phone I want a Six Plus. You guys screwed up by not having it in stock and I want you to take care of it.”
My manager is in shock but plays it cool saying “Well, you can get a iPhone Six Plus, but it’s not going to be at ‘no cost,’ that’s just something I can’t do.”
She holds her hand up at him “Stop, never say ‘can’t’ to a customer. I thought this was Apple, not some fly by night operation.”
My manager looks agitated and I feel like I need to chime in. “Ma’am, with all due respect, if I could drive there and get your phone and bring it back to you I would, but there wouldn’t be enough time to do that. If you were to head out now you’d make it there in plenty of time to go and get your new phone. We want to help you, that’s all we want to do.”
She looks at me and then at my manager. “Why can’t he drive and get it for me? I’m not leaving until I get a phone.”
This went back and forth until my manager came up with a great way to help her and get her the phone she so desperately needed. Our quality program allows for the customer to get a loaner phone while the original was being fixed offsite.
My manager ran to the back, got the loaner, explained what we wanted to do was give her the loaner and then we would order her a new phone. For whatever reason this worked in her mind.
I have never been one to want someone to go away but she was so difficult to work with. Please, please understand we are there to help you. Acting this way doesn’t help you or us in getting your issue resolved.
MACROSS 82-99, you are a hero and a gentleman. Humanity, what hath thou wrought?
Image via Wikimedia Commons