Thursday, February 17, 2005

Where has the customer service gone?

I always thought one of the greatest things of this country was its customer service.
To me this reflects the values not only of a company but of an entire society. Whether some people may call it capitalism or marketing strategy (dirty tricks some people says) to keep getting the sales up, the truth is I love to feel pampered or at least well taken care of when I am planning on spending money on a product.

After growing up in a country where the absence of care for the buyer and his/her needs is the norm we all got used to live with (and I am talking about Spain), getting in a store and knowing you will find people ready to help you and answer your questions with knowledge and expertise was a great satisfaction. Not to mention how any complaint or problem was; in most of the cases, solved with grace and speed.

How was my surprise last week, when I went to visit my favorite Apple store.

It has been a year since I didn't step in what I got to call my "geek heaven".
It may be that after this time in Spain dealing with bad service, I was expecting something else. Maybe I even idealized my past experiences; and believe me, I have a bunch of apple products to show for my visits, but to tell you the truth I certainly got disappointed.

I understand Apple has felt the growth of its market big time, for what I can see for the number of people shopping at the time in the store, but I thought this growth was among other things due to the great customer service they were known for, the nice and sleek manners their sales people had; at least to me it was.

I got my first surprise when from the two questions I had about two products I purchased a year ago in that same store, the person whom helped me had no knowledge whatsoever.
I don't expect any of the guys on the floor to know all the answers to all the questions any customer can come up with, I even understand they go to the back room and consult with other sales representatives, but what seems a bit odd is the fact that they came back with some answers that even to me; a non-expert, sounded more than weak (and as I searched on the web later where totally wrong).

I felt as if they were not interested on wasting time helping me, while they could be selling a 5.000$ G5 to raise their commission. I have already spent my good bucks on the store before, they already put my money in their pockets and I have the two laptops at home, my G4 and all the rest of the stuff, so what else there is to be?.

What about the CUSTOMER SERVICE?
What about all of us who have been using Apple for the last 15 years or more?... ooops my mistake, I expected to be treated as a friend, as part of the club. But got to see I have become simply a bank account.

It is not only my Apple experience that makes me write my posting. I have been feeling as if the customer service that American companies used to offer has gone down the drains. Big companies are more concerned about making big money and crushing the competition, than the happiness of their customers.

It is just too bad we customers don't seem to have much tools to fight back, besides bitch and complain on personal bloggers like this...

Boy, I feel like I'm back in Spain.


Finally, I went wireless, and I say finally not only because it was something I've been wanting to do for a long time; since apple came up with the airport, but because finding the right cable's exit in my new apartment had became quite a challenge.
The only connection available was in my bedroom and my office is downstairs, which made a challenge to run an extension all over the house.

Anyway, I imagined the wireless to be a good thing, but never expected it to be so awesome!!!.

The set up was easy and it works so smooth. I love to be able to sit on my couch and answer my emails, or chat with my friends while resting in bed. Not being connected to a cable coming out the wall feels almost as if I had cut off my umbilical cord to bring back my independence.

Is this new independence creating a dependence in a web connection?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Back in California

Sorry about the delay, but you may understand I have been quite busy with the move.
I am finally back in Orange County,California. For the past two weeks, we had to find apartment, fill it with furniture and organize the stuff we brought from Spain. It has been a challenging time for the all family, but we finally have made it.

It feels as if it was just yesterday than we left for Spain. Now our year in Europe is becoming kind of a dream, something we surely enjoyed but that starts seeming a bit unreal. It may be we have found an apartment close to where we used to live before; so pretty much we came back to the neighborhood... It feels as if we had never left.

Now the new challenge is starting our life again. Almost from zero.
I should be used to this by now, considering how many times we have moved in the past, and how many times we have left everything we had behind, but it keeps being hard anyway.

I haven't had time to think about what I want to do with my future. I don't know how much room on it I will have for design; client design I would say. I am lost in this empty space looking around, trying to see some land on the horizon, but so far I was only able to keep afloat shaken by the sea waves. Trying to survive.

Has any of you felt this lost before?

Good night.