Saturday, December 07, 2013

Mess up?

Right after I got done with graduate school, I got a job as warehouse/operations manager for a company in the cutthroat business of video distribution. The gross margins were in the 5-7% range—and out of that they had to pay all expenses; net profit was probably in the range of less than 1%. With margins that thin, every customer counted. Consequently, customer service was highly emphasized. It was there that I developed the philosophy that the most important customer service employee was the warehouse employee. After all, what is the first thing that a customer sees from the company? That's right, the package. If it is mispicked or damaged, what is the initial impression on the customer?

Anyway, I digress...

One of the things I learned there was a tacky little phrase: Mess up? 'Fess up. Dress up.

Huh? OK, let me translate: If you mess up, then admit it ('fess up) and then fix it (dress up). Simple isn't it? Except it is hard to do for various reasons. For some it is pride; they are afraid that it will lower their standing in the eyes of some if they admit to being less than God.

For others, it is profit margins. To fix the product will cost money, so better to stonewall and hope the problem goes away. Pity the poor customer service rep who is trying to assist the customer, but the policies of the company get in the way.

So what is the point of all this????

Two fold. There has been a recent flap about plagiarism by Mark Driscoll. You can read about it here. Anyway, rather than admit to wrong-doing, someone (the publisher? Dricoll's PR team?) pressured Mefford to remove the accusations from the web site. Perhaps Driscoll's defense should be he was predestined to do it!

Personally, I see this as a case of pride getting in the way...

What's the other situation? My recent bouts with my iPad locking up/bricking because of iOS 7 (you can read about my woes here).

Well, I have to say that I am giving Apple a solid endorsement for customer service here. It was a bit hard to get them to admit it was their fault (Mess up?, 'Fess up.), but once they did, it has been amazing. The box to send the iPad back came the next day (Wednesday), I sent it out the day after that (Thursday), and they received it Friday.

The customer service rep called me to let me know it had arrived. Two hours later, I received an e-mail telling me it had arrived. A few hours later, I received an e-mail saying that a replacement was on the way. Today I checked the status and it is scheduled to arrive here on Monday!

Besides that, the customer service rep told me she would call to make sure it had arrived...

That is a clear case of "Dress up" if ever I saw one. So, even though the iOS update was screwed up, Apple gets an A from me for fixing it... Here are the relevant screen shots:

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