Apple provides free 24×7 telephone support. You just go online, book a call to suit you and they ring as promised.
They’re pretty good, and I should know, I’ve had three long calls with them this week.
Technically they know what they’re talking about. But for a tech support team, that should be a given. They’re also good at being precise about what’s on screen and the things they ask me to do. Again, if you’re providing support over the phone and you can’t get this right you’re in trouble.
What has really made them stand apart is their approach. Everyone I’ve spoken to, and it’s been quite a few now, has been incredibly empathic and listened.
Usually when I call tech support or customer service lines I get the sense I have to give before I get. I have to give my name, email address, telephone number and any other personal data they tell me will help them improve their service. Then I have to answer their questions; what they want to know is more important to them than what I have to say.
With Apple it’s been different. I had to confirm my name at the start. Then came the good bit. No set questions, no repetition of previous calls (they had each read the notes prepared by the previous adviser). It was over to me. I could express my problem in my way, releasing my pent up frustration. They listened and proved they had by reflecting back what I said.
Then came the really good bit. They empathized. A lot.
The result; here I am praising them. It took three long calls to address the problem, which may even now not be completely fixed, but I’m praising them.
What’s the takeaway?
They treated me as an individual human being and got ‘in relationship’ with me. Humans are hard wired to be ‘in relationship’. As babies we work very hard, sometimes in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, to build relationships with our caregivers, our life depends on it. And we continue through our lives to seek relationships and to be ‘in relationship’.
In PR and communications we spend a lot of time defining target audience groups; working out who they are and what they care about. It’s important. But to really build loyal fans, who’ll put up with a few bumps and hiccups, we need to get ‘in relationship’. And if we get the culture and philosophy of our organization right we can do it at an organization level.
Give me a call to find out more about building strong, resilient customer and client relationships.