Jan 10th, 2007

Marketing 101

So. I’m a blonde, although here at the second half of my life, it is more of a rodential sort of brown, liberally salted with white? grey? transparent? Whatever. Anyway. I’m a blonde, and sometimes I act like one.

Take for instance the other night when I was reviewing my credit card bill. There were two very large charges to . I tried to review the purchases, but there were no details. I drew a total blank. I knew that I had bought no new hardware, no new software from Apple. And there were two charges made on consecutive days. I was stumped. It had to be credit card theft, right?

I went on-line to my credit card company and challenged the charges. Done and done. When the RLA came back from walking the dogs, I told him about the mysterious charges and he looked at me like I had grown a third head.

What do you mean, you don’t recognize the charges? DUH. It’s the calendars and books you made for everyone’s holiday gifts. Almost $800 worth of calendars and books.

Yesterday morning, bright and early, I called the credit card company. They had already credited my account the full amount and had closed the file. (Let’s give credit—HAH—where credit is due: American Express.) As far as they were concerned, the matter was over. I said it was fraudulent, they believed me. Done and done. If I needed to pay Apple, Apple would have to re-bill me; I need to call them.

So I did. And I apologized for being a ditz. And I told them that I needed to pay them, but AmEx couldn’t reinstate the charge, and what do we do now?

Apple support escalated me through a few levels of customer service, and then got my e-mail, so they could send me instructions for payment. But they didn’t. What they sent me was a thank you note for being a loyal customer. And told me to keep my order, free of charge.

There’s an old adage in marketing that an unhappy customer will tell seven people about a bad experience, but a happy customer will only tell one, maybe two.

I’m over the moon happy, and I want as many people as I can tell to hear the story of what customer service is supposed to be. Both from American Express (you said you didn’t make that charge and that’s enough for us, here’s your money back) and Apple. I don’t even know WHY Apple made that decision. Maybe it was because of . Maybe they looked up my account saw that I’ve been a loyal customer since 1988. Maybe it was just . Maybe I was the one millionth customer. Maybe it is just that Apple is the best company in the world.

What ever. I know that today, I’m proud to be a stockholder and a former employee. , you are my idol.