Apple is an organisation that is often feted for its customer centricity. There’s no denying that they make their devices seductively irresistible and easy to use. Even if I do get annoyed with the seemingly inbuilt obsolescence of an iPhone battery that’s on its last legs after only 3 years (I’m of a generation that believes things should be built to last), I stay loyal to the brand because the process of switching to a new device has been made exceedingly simple.
Previously I sourced my Apple products indirectly through other retail stores but on this occasion, I was tempted to buy directly from Apple with a tantalising 24-month 0% interest deal, which involves a loan with Barclays Finance.
Having selected my device on the Apple website, the process for applying for the loan was information-hungry but relatively easy. Unfortunately, the website then refused to cooperate when I tried entering credit card details to pay the deposit. After a second attempt, and over 30 minutes later, I resorted to calling Apple. I got passed to three different places (although each time the agent did provide a handover to the next in line) and after another 30 minutes it was concluded that the purchase would need to be reattempted another time. The agent then sent me an email with a saved basket to save me time!
A couple of days later I reattempted the purchase. I got through the loan application part again and encountered the same problem when trying to enter credit card details. This time I did succeed on a second attempt.
I got my new iPhone which was delivered as promised; but I was dismayed at the amount of effort I had to put in through the purchase process. All of this was done post login, so the repeated failed attempts would be easily ‘visible’ to the company, not to mention the feedback I provided to the contact centre. And yet no proactive attempt to recover goodwill for the wasted effort as a result of technical problems on their website.
So yes, the products are superb – but does Apple deserve its pedestal position in customer experience?