Friday, June 06, 2008

Maybe this is why customer service gets offshored...

I recently experienced great customer service and horrible customer service from FedEx and Apple respectively. I called both companies more than once and every time I was greeted by someone with an US or Canadian accent for which I assume the customer service was indeed "American." But, my service from Apple reminds me why some customer service in the US can be offshored...even though FedEx's customer service made me feel the exact opposite way.

Here is the scenario...I made a dumb mistake and didn't select the right shipping address when making an Apple Store order. When i got the email from Apple, I saw the mistake and immediately called them. They consistently told me there was nothing they could do and it was in their store policy that shipping cannot be changed once an order was made. They said they would wait for FedEx to fail to deliver the package, return it to them, and they would cancel the order. They also said I could call and pick it up locally...proving they had not listen to me explain that I needed it in North Carolina and not California. Unfortunately the address was on the other side of the country and the $81 order was not worth the air fare it would take to pick it up.

I then called FedEx to see if there was anything they could do. They told me Apple could change the order if I could find someone willing to help. He searched for a number to contact Apple, came up with a number for Apple logistics, but unfortunately the Apple people again claimed they could not help. But the FedEx people went the extra mile, searched for a way for me to get through Apple's customer service, and tried to help. Finally, the FedEx representative told me that if Apple wouldn't help that I could call back and they could send the order right back to Apple instead of waiting the standard 3 delivery attempts plus 5 days at the local warehouse.

Multiple other calls to Apple stating that FedEx said they could help did not get me anywhere as their customer service was not willing to do anything to go out of their way to help when they could hide behind their "policy." I called the FedEx people back who put in an order to immediately send the package back to Apple. Again, the FedEx people were extremely polite, sympathetic, and helpful.

Bottom line is that I can understand why people appreciate American customer support when talking to FedEx, but when I was talking with Apple I might as well have been speaking to someone who doesn't speak English.

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