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Steve Jobs Personally Resolves Customer Complaint 341

Posted by samzenpus
from the steve-jobs-my-dishes-need-to-be-washed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Consumerist recently published a story about an Apple customer who went through support hell with a broken Macbook. After escalating the issue up the support chain, and a month wait for his Macbook, the guy gave up and simply wrote Steve Jobs a blistering flame-mail. So, was he surprised when Jobs' executive assistant responded back the next day! He got both a brand new Macbook, as well as his old one to copy the hard drive. The guy also responded in a comment, and he turns out to be a slashdotter! He even wrote a journal entry here about the story."
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Steve Jobs Personally Resolves Customer Complaint

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  • by Xest (935314) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:07AM (#18970541)
    Sounds more like Job's admin staff dealt with it than Jobs himself.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:14AM (#18970599)
      Yes, you missed something, RTFA:

      While I received the reply from Jobs' assistant, Jobs himself came around and personally transfered the data from my old laptop and the new one - only using himself as a computer telepath-to-tcp/ip router.

      After fixing my laptop, Jobs made me a cup of tea & rescued my cat from a tree it had been stuck up for several weeks (using telekinisis). He also fixed a leaking tap, did my old filing & satisfied my sexually frustrated wife. Thanks Steve!
      • by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:06AM (#18971083) Journal
        Well I think the confusion here is over the concept that the assistant came to help.

        You see there is more than one Steve Jobs and thus his "assistants" are in fact copies of himself. Thought Apple was outsourcing manufacturing to China or somewhere else? Nope, just a cover ploy to hide the fact that they have a manufacturing plant filled with Jobses.
      • by Jtheletter (686279) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:46AM (#18971607)

        He also fixed a leaking tap, did my old filing & satisfied my sexually frustrated wife.
        Damn, that new multitouch feature is amazing!
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:00AM (#18971777)
        Did I ever tell you about the time Jobs took me out to go get a drink with him? We go off looking for a bar and we can't find one. Finally Jobs takes me to a vacant lot and says, 'Here we are.' We sat there for a year and a half -- until sure enough, someone constructs a bar around us. Well, the day they opened we ordered a shot, drank it, and then burned the place to the ground. Jobs yelled over the roar of the flames, 'Always leave things the way you found 'em!'
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by seandiggity (992657)
          Did I ever tell you about the time Jobs and I were in a production of The King and I? Anyway, on opening night, Jobs chloroforms the entire cast and slowly eats them in front of the audience for two hours. The production got pretty good reviews.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ttldkns (737309)
            Did I ever tell you about the time Steve Jobs and I thought about inventing a new slashdot meme where we would post comments which started with "Did I ever tell you about the time steve Jobs and I..."
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by seandiggity (992657)
              Well, it's definitely not a new "meme".

              We once had a bachelor party for Jobs. He ate the entire cake before we could tell him there was a stripper in it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by StikyPad (445176)
          Drank it? When I was hanging out with him, he would shoot whiskey into his neck with a syringe!

          Anyway, one time I was with Jobs in the back of a pickup truck, along with a live deer. Jobs goes up to the deer and says, 'I'm Steve Jobs! SAY IT!' Then he manipulates the deer's lips in such a way as to make it say, 'Stevejobs' ... It wasn't exactly like it, but it was pretty good for a deer!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by StuBeck (983120)
      I e-mailed "him" about a year ago when I had a problem with my iPod that took a month to get resolved. They called me and said they were sorry, but that it wasn't "their fault" that they didn't put my new order into the system, so I had to prove to them that I in fact ordered something from them two weeks earlier. Also that their support staff really does know what is going on despite the fact that they sent me back the same iPod I had had earlier, with the same error, and it came back scratched to hell too
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's just more fanboy adulation. And the Jobs staff wouldn't have time or resources to take care of all complaints if all the dicked over Apple customers did the same thing. Apple laptops are atrocious. It's been going on for over a year. Apple delete threads on their forums which cite the issues. Apple Defects (.com) has a list a mile long. Almost exclusively laptops. Made in China. Slave labor. Jobs doesn't care. Jobs cares if his PR team tells him he has to do something. Otherwise Jobs doesn't give a dam
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:06AM (#18971867)
        People should also RTFA (no, I'm not new here). This wasn't just another customer. He specifically mentioned that he worked as an IT lab manager for MIT and threatened to start bad-mouthing Apple to students and advising against university purchases. That's more likely to have caught their eye than just Steve's selfless desire to help out a customer.
      • by Jellybob (597204) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:21AM (#18972087) Journal
        I may just be lucky, but my 1 year old MacBook has survived admirably. It spends a lot of it's time loose in my rucksack, and other then an accident involving a bottle of water in the same bag, which shorted the battery, it's had no problems at all. I'd imagine that most laptops take issue with having their battery left in a pool of water for several hours, so I'm not going to hold my own stupidity against it.

        It has also survived being dropped from standing height, and having a glass of wine spilled over it.

        All that, and it'll run Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It really has been my dream web development machine, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one.

        This is my first Apple machine, and since buying it I've managed to persuade work to swap my aging PC for a shiny new Mac Pro, which is quite simply a beast.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Khyber (864651)
          The reason your macbook survived the pool of liquid is because not only does the battery contain some short-circuiting countermeasures, but the laptop does as well. And if it's off to begin with, there's no real chance that a sufficient voltage spike would occur anywhere inside the laptop. This has been a standard feature since the 72D iBook G3 series laptops. Nothing new to former Apple Laptop repair techs like myself. Not trying to steal your thunder, but since it IS your first Mac laptop, I thought I'd
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jcr (53032)
        It's payback time.

        Dream on, Ballmer.

        -jcr

    • I don't know what Apple pays Steve Jobs but it is probably more than they pay the people who pack MacBooks into MacBook boxes. So, in the interests of the longevity of the Apple Corporation, it is probably best that he spend his time doing whatever it is he does rather than go pack MacBooks into MacBook boxes.

      Also I doubt that Steve Job's assistant hands out laptops to every unhappy email that gets past the spam filters, so he was likely involved at some point even if it was only to approve the handing out,
  • What if (Score:5, Funny)

    by otacon (445694) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:10AM (#18970567)
    How cool would it have been if Steve came to that guys house and rang the doorbell and said "I didn't appreciate the tone of your letter, it was very hurtful." and then just left.
    • PR (Score:2, Insightful)

      How cool would it have been if Steve came to that guys house and rang the doorbell and said "I didn't appreciate the tone of your letter, it was very hurtful." and then just left.

      And miss out on all that (insanely) great free PR?
    • by ratsnapple tea (686697) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:35AM (#18970789)
      You know, some of us have known for a while that Steve replies to his email, or at least a small subset of the torrents he probably receives every day (a couple [msu.edu] of public examples [oreillynet.com]). He's answered a few of the questions I've emailed him over the years, too, and I'm just a regular Slashdotter Joe.

      But the more publicity he gets for doing it, and the more people actually try to email him, the less likely he'll be to read and respond, and the less personal it's actually going to get. It's obvious from the numbers. Part of me hates myself for saying this, and I acknowledge that it's elitist as all hell, but I sort of wish these guys (the ones "in the know" about Steve's responsiveness over email) would keep it to themselves. Because if Steve stops answering his email, that's another piece gone of the old Apple spirit.

      Of course, I suppose we must all eventually succumb to inevitability—but there's no harm delaying that end, while possible. So please. Enough. Let me suggest we simply appreciate Steve for keeping it real, and not trumpet it all over the blog-o-spierre.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Here's the text of that email thread between Steve and some blogger, regarding opinions on Cocoa/Objective-C vs. C#/VB/.NET [slashdot.org] (warning, top-posted). And for good measure, another anecdote about Steve's personal touch [tedlee.net] (diehard cynics will note there's no proof of Steve's personal involvement with this one... but, absent reason to doubt, I'm a believer).

        So again—and yes, I've come to terms with my implied elitism here—let's not ruin a good thing by blabbering about how amazing it is that Steve repli
      • I completely agree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by maynard (3337) <j,maynard,gelinas&gmail,com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:16AM (#18971227) Journal
        I really wish I hadn't BCC:d the Consumerist now. That was a mistake. I did it because I was angry and didn't expect any kind of resolution from Apple Corporate. I really didn't believe that even if Jobs read his email he would take action to resolve the issue. And now the whole shebang is posted to slashdot. Along with his email address. What a mess.

        My situation was extreme. I do NOT recommend emailing Mr. Jobs until fully exhausting the Apple support chain. If you have a problem, ask for a supervisor. If the supervisor can't fix it, ask for "customer relations". Call your local Apple store before sending that email (I did). And finally, after a month of hell, if all else fails, well... do a google search and find his current email address.

        But please don't waste the dude's time. I would have the same opinion regardless of the CEO or company.
        • Thumbs up, man. And I guess all of us longtime Mac users owe you a thanks, regardless of the Consumerist bcc:, for alerting Steve to your horror story with AppleCare. Who knows? Maybe with enough bitchy emails, he'll start whipping some asses into line down at the Texas facility.

          (Side note: I've had no problems of my own with Apple's warranty service, but it does seem anecdotally that when things go wrong with AppleCare, they go really, really wrong.)
        • by CokeBear (16811) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:49AM (#18971637) Journal
          I don't think you have to worry too much about this stuff. He read some of them, the ones that get forwarded to his private email box by the army of staffers that are reading his email. The only way you get all the way through to Steve is if you have exhausted the Apple Support chain of command, you have a legitimate complaint, you are polite and professional, and the SteveStaffer who screens your email is having a good day. (It probably helps to be an IT guy at MIT)

          So keep right on flooding Steve with emails. He'll get the ones that he should, and his staff will take care of the rest. Also, I know its unlikely, but have you all considered the possibility that its not really Steve answering those emails? In my experience, the emails that come directly from him are very short and to the point (a few words at most). He probably also has people he trusts to reply on his behalf.
          • by antic (29198) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:41AM (#18972403)
            "In my experience, the emails that come directly from him are very short and to the point (a few words at most)."

            I think that might be true of a lot of these big name corporates with very public images. Last time I emailed Mark Cuban, I got a brief but personal response within five minutes. It was appreciated despite the brevity.
      • Well, it would probably be ok when everyone who intends to mail Jobs thinks twice about it and ponders if it really, really really has to be escalated to his level. If everyone and his dog starts mailing him about it when some gas inflates his bowels and he can't find his intarweb in the Macthingie, then yes, the "old spirit" starts to wane. I mean, how would you react if suddenly everyone feels like sending mail to you, and only you, as their personal tech support "fix this or else" goon while you're actua
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jon Abbott (723)
        This all reminds me of the time I emailed Linus Torvalds back in '96... I was having trouble with the top program and for whatever crazy reason I figured "why not just email Linus?". Sure enough, he responded quickly with a one sentence reply, "try installing [x] version of the procps shared library" and sure enough it worked!
  • Flame Mail? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Piedramente (1063240) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:13AM (#18970587)
    I don't believe what he sent would qualify as a flame-mail. It seems to be a well-reasoned and cool-headed response to a support nightmare. Kudos to Steve Jobs for fixing it for him.
  • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:18AM (#18970631)
    ...and now has an asshole that's about 3 bore sizes larger than it was last week. Yikes.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:19AM (#18970651)
    I'm sure he has a staff of secretaries that screen everything and is well versed by now how to take care of these relatively unimportant problems (unimportant to Jobs - I imagine that guy is busy with other, more pressing matters). Though it might be a good idea to have the CEO of any corporation see the failures of his organization every so often.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:19AM (#18970657)
    I've looked up the details of whoever's in charge and contacted them directly before. Or, more accurately, got the name of the managing director, called head office, asked to be put through to "their office" and spoken to their PA.

    On the plus side, it's fantastically effective. A call from anyone at that level - or even their PA - will often go to the head of customer services very quickly, and get the issue resolved in far less time than trying to work your way up through a call centre staffed with people who quite frankly don't much care about any individual customer's complaint.

    On the minus side, it's not something you'd want to do terribly often - particularly not with one company - as it would rapidly lose effectiveness. And if you find yourself in a position where you've got to do this more than once, even for separate incidents, maybe they don't need your business that badly anyway.
  • If I had gone through the shit he has gone through
    the mail I'd have sent would sound 10X more nastier
    than what he had sent.
    And maybe that's what mattered in the end. The cool
    and collected way Mr. Maynard wrote the disgruntled-
    customer email must've done the job(no pun intended).
    • Granted, it's cool and collected alright, but this guy brought out some leverage... look at this:

      If someone at Apple does not resolve this pronto, your company will lose not only my future purchases, but also my purchase recommendations to graduate students, professors, and support staff at MIT.
      Also, as a close friend I'd surely like to see that flaming mail you would send :-D
  • I've known two people who have both done this when they got an unsatisfactory response from AppleCare. It's always the same: next day an assistant to Steve Jobs gives them a call, apologies, overnights whatever will repair the situation, and promises to fix the situation that caused you to get angry enough to email Steve Jobs to begin with. However, now that the cat is out of the bag, this might not be as much of a reliable last discourse any longer.
    • It's not nearly as uncommon as you might think, either. I've heard of a lot of people doing this, and they have always gotten their issue resolved.

      It's a shame Mr. Jobs' personal assistant didn't handle all technical support issues ;-)
    • by LMacG (118321)
      It's that last bit, the "promises to fix the situation that caused you to get angry ...", that doesn't seem to be working. Sounds like they have an ongoing problem in their support area that they have been unable or unwilling to fix.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:21AM (#18970681)
    the continual decline of customer service here in the US.

    According to "Consumer Reports", Apple has the best customer service of ALL the PC and laptop makers and their quality also beats everyone. If you look at their charts, Apple takes the lead by a wide margin, none of this jazz of they're 8.2 while the closest competitor is 8.1. (Unfortunately, I don't have the issue in front of me to give you guys the real number numbers to show how well Apple rates.)

    Now, here's the best, and they're pulling this horseshit!?

    Stopping now because I need more coffee.

  • MIT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Any Web Loco (555458) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:22AM (#18970693) Homepage
    Key reasons for Jobs' response...

    "I am also an IT Manager for one of the labs at MIT"
    and...

    "...your company will lose ... my purchase recommendations to graduate students, professors, and support staff at MIT"
  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:22AM (#18970697) Homepage Journal

    One famous manager (I don't remember who exactly though) once said, that if the company's leader performs mere employee's duties then either he does not understand his role or there is something terribly wrong with the way the company operates.

    Look at this story: the guy waited for months for the support to handle the problem!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aadvancedGIR (959466)
      Another way to see this:
      -Act nicely and the world will treat you like a crap.
      -Act like a crap and the world will treat you nice.

      Maybe Buda got that whole karma thing the wrong way...
      • -Act like a crap and the world will treat you nice.
        Maybe Buda got that whole karma thing the wrong way...
        Try acting like crap. If you come back in your next life as crap, then we'll have our answer.
    • by s31523 (926314) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:02AM (#18971043)
      Maybe you don't remember his name because HE didn't understand HIS duties. The referenced quote is how old-school business works. Places like Apple, Google, and others don't conform to these old stigmas. Quite frankly, Jobs probably get a thousand of these emails a day and probably has a PA who's sole task is to sift threw them and cherry pick a couple for him to "Take action" on. It generates good will and and is good press, when the public actually heres about it, to the tune of, 'look, Steve really cares, buy Apple! F- Microsoft'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      One famous manager (I don't remember who exactly though) once said, that if the company's leader performs mere employee's duties then either he does not understand his role or there is something terribly wrong with the way the company operates.

      Dunno about that. I lead a small team of engineers who do internal toolchain support for several of our sites. Most of my job involves allocating tasks and taking care of planing, etc. But every now and again I take a job off the queue and do it myself because (1) it

    • by Khomar (529552) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:01AM (#18971801) Journal

      One famous manager (I don't remember who exactly though) once said, that if the company's leader performs mere employee's duties then either he does not understand his role or there is something terribly wrong with the way the company operates.

      Personally, I find that line of thinking very elitist and in the end self-destructive. Managers who look upon their employees as "mere employees" will not be able to get the most out of those employees. I believe that true management is serving those under you to enable them to do their best.

      Regardless, there is a certain point to that statement. The key here is not what Steve Jobs did but what changes will occur in the company to see that he doesn't have to do this again. It is all well and good that he is able to provide good support, but if all of the other support employees fail, it could eventually sink the company.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jaeph (710098)
      I don't care what famous name said what. When you look at the great leaders in history, all of them were very detail oriented and could help out with the small things in a pinch. For example, Patton (and his generals) did direct traffic, etc.

      If you are a great leader, you do what you need to do to get the job done, and once in awhile that's a matter of low-level work rather than high-level thinking.

      -Jeff
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BeanThere (28381)
      I guess your insight and clear superiority to Jobs in terms of business skills must be why Apple is collapsing into the ground as a company, while you're posting to Slashdot from your successful multibillion dollar company headquarters. Honestly, I've never heard such nonsense. Revel in your +5 interesting while Steve enjoys the most profitable quarter to date in a company whose support rates amongst the industry's best. Must be something "terribly wrong" there.
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:25AM (#18970709)
    "So, I installed the WGA update and it mistakenly identified my OS as pirated....after two months of trying to resolve the issue through technical support where I was repeatedly assured that, '...we understand problem...send you SUPER DELUXE answer....next day....you betcha!', I finally contacted Steve Ballmer himself. Amazingly, he showed up at my house the very next day!.....and threw a folding chair at me.....so I bought a MacBook"

    [DISCLAIMER: every word of this is BS (duh)]
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:28AM (#18970725) Journal
    I had some beef with Intuit. They stopped supporting QIF format in 2005. So I stuck to 2004 Delux. Then in 2007 April they switched some service provider who interfaced with the financial institutions and I was forced to upgrade to 2007. I have railed against corporations being vendor locked into MSFT, and I found myself locked into Quicken. To add insult to injury, the upgrade was actually a downgrade because I lost the ability to import QIF files. And further insult was that I was also holding a Quicken Mastercard. This stupid turd of a card does not have any rewards program, no cash back, no miles, no reward points, not even stupid software updates. I was so miffed I wrote a letter to the Quicken CEO. All I wanted was a free copy of Quicken 2007Deluxe.

    Promptly I got a phone call from his assistant. Unlike Apple they did not fix anything. She offered a 20$ off 2007Deluxe, which is basically the standard discount everywhere from Costco to web downloads. I think they just sold the right to use Quicken name to some bank for a one time fee and Quicken does not care whether I keep the card or not. The bank is really dumb to lose me as a customer. I had charged more than 100,000$ over the years in that card. They should be willing to spend 0.5% or 500$ to keep me as a customer. They just lost me over a stupid 30$ software update I demanded.

    I also heard a story about the CEO of Virgin Atlantic (charles bronson?? or was he an actor, God I have bad memory for names) traveling with the public or playing the role of a flight attendent/steward and listen to customers. One Indian guy had ordered vegetarian meals and it was not available. Charles was playing steward on that flight. He made an unscheduled landing at a nearby airport and rented a limo to take the passenger to an expensive Indian joint and flew him first class to complete the journey.

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:56AM (#18970993) Homepage Journal

      I also heard a story about the CEO of Virgin Atlantic (charles bronson?? or was he an actor, God I have bad memory for names) traveling with the public or playing the role of a flight attendent/steward and listen to customers. One Indian guy had ordered vegetarian meals and it was not available. Charles was playing steward on that flight. He made an unscheduled landing at a nearby airport and rented a limo to take the passenger to an expensive Indian joint and flew him first class to complete the journey.

      Thats Richard Branson. He does that kind of thing because it gets in the news and it is much cheaper than paying for advertising. He is a similar kind of charismatic leader, though.

    • I also heard a story about the CEO of Virgin Atlantic (charles bronson?? or was he an actor, God I have bad memory for names)
      That one is Richard Branson, you fool! Now, get ready for a roundhouse kick in five, four, three, two.......

      [[BADABOOM]]
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Stormwatch (703920)
        Oh, goddamnit, foot-on-mouth... I mixed Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris. Fuck.
        • Sounds like you're the one that will have to get ready for that roundhouse kick.
        • Although by the time it would probably take you to read this, Chuck has already delived a kick from "Law" his left leg, propelling you into the afterlife - a second kick from his right leg "Order" will not be necessary. How is heaven treating you?
        • If Chuck Norris roundhouse-kicked Charles Bronson in the face, would the mighty force of the kick take Charles Bronson's head off, or would he just chuckle as it bounced off his leathery hide?

          Either way, Richard Branson would be there to make money off it, somehow, I'm sure.
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)
      FYI: Sir Richard Branson is CEO of Virgin Atlantic
    • by wjsteele (255130)
      That would be Sir Richard Branson: See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson/ [wikipedia.org]. I can't wait to see how he handles this same scenerio on Virgin Galatic flights!

      Bill
    • by sbryant (93075)

      I also heard a story about the CEO of Virgin Atlantic (charles bronson?? ...)

      His name's (Sir) Richard Branson, and he really is known for being down-to-earth and game for a laugh. I wouldn't call him an actor, but he has appeared in Friends (he sold Joey the hat while they were in London). He's had cameos in a couple of other things, such as the last Bond film.

      In one Candid Camera style show, they played tricks on him by dressing up people he knows really well so that he wouldn't recognise them, and t

    • by ElephanTS (624421)
      CEO of Virgin Atlantic (charles bronson?? or was he an actor, God I have bad memory for names)

      Classic!
  • I'd bought an Ambra 486 which promised that when the Pentium overdrive came out, it would work. It didn't. Customer service basically told me tough titties. I wrote letters (snail mail!) to the CEO, president, chairman of the board, a couple of others, and the chairman's office called back immediately (in snail mail terms) calmed me down, got their Scotland division to call me and explain how they had screwed up, sent a floppy with a BIOS upgrade, bingo, problem solved. No free computer but it solved th
  • by wesley78 (1086999)
    Customer Service call centers just suck. I probably should have tried this tactic with HP a month or two back. I think the big problem with so many of these places is that they refuse to admit thier own mistakes, or if they do, they refuse to properly fix the situation. In my case, I had paid for overnight shipping and the product wasn't shipped until they it was actually supposed to arrive, and even then it was shipped to the wrong address. Instead of just refunding me the cost of shipping and getting the
  • by canb (792889) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:40AM (#18970841)
    Well the author of the mail certainly has not sent a flame mail. On the contrary, it is very level headed and well reasoned. However, I do believe the fact that he has been an apple customer for over 30 years and that he's an IT Manager at MIT with the ability to sway the students' and staffs' buying preferences (which he makes sure gets conveyed in the mail) had an effect. I doubt if I had been in the same situation and written a similar mail, would get a similar response. Overall, I applaud the author for doing the right thing.
  • BOB SLYDELL: So what you do is you take the specifications from the customers and you bring them down to the software engineers?

    TOM: That, that's right.

    BOB PORTER: Well, then I gotta ask, then why can't the customers just take the specifications directly to the software people, huh?

    TOM: Well, uh, uh, uh, because, uh, engineers are not good at dealing with customers.

    BOB SLYDELL: You physically take the specs from the customer?

    TOM: Well, no, my, my secretary does that, or, or the fax.

    BOB SLY
  • "Steve Jobs Personally Resolves Customer Complaint" .... ummm no he didn't. Customer sent email to address that was supposedly The Steve's but some dude name Mark took care of the problem for him from that point on. No evidence of divine intervention by The Steve .
  • well i imagine this helped quite a bit:

    "I am also an IT Manager for one of the labs at MIT (J's MIT email)."

    he wasn't just some guy who walked into an apple store at the local mall..
    • its like a secretary paging a big wig "sir a group of gentlemen would like to speak to you outside"
      "just send them in"
      "sir the gentlemen are the first brigade of the first infantry division they won't fit in the building (and they seem upset about something)"
      "have all of my callers call me b
  • Stop the fanboyism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TorKlingberg (599697)
    Could we please stop this Apple fanboyism? How is this interesting in any way?

    "Today the great chairman Mao visited a poor child in the village Mangtung. He gave the child healthy food and read a story. This how out great chairman Mao cares cares for all the people."
  • by juuri (7678) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:08AM (#18971109) Homepage
    I feel many people are afraid to ask for or demand better service when needed. Sometimes you simply have to escalate as far as possible to get any sort of result. Systems break down and often it only takes the incompetence or lack of caring in one person in a lengthy process.

    Around aught-zero my DSL provider was forced out of business by some rather dramatic changes in the DSL market. They had a length of time to shut down and began immediately cutting employees. At the time this was a very fast DSL connection and my bill was on the order of $200 a month. After canceling my service they continued to charge me. I called, of course it would be fixed! It wasn't for month two... then three... then four, every month them charging me only to refund money after many calls on my part and being told the problem was fixed for good.

    Month five. They did it again. So I did what any pissed off customer would do, I flew down to their office and bea... er. Found their about page and looked for personal information for company employees listed at the VP level and above. Guess others had done the same, because it was all impossible to find. Then I noticed their board list, sure enough, many of the board members had information available online. So I wrote one, more out of frustration than anything explaining what had happened for the previous five months. Twenty minutes later the CEO of the company called me and assured me the problem would be resolved and then proceeded to offer me an additional refund for my "time spent on their failure".

    The point of all this? Even the boss has a boss or someone he is "scared of" or "respects". When you come to the end of a normal process without success, it is okay to escalate to them.
    • by Scutter (18425)
      Twenty minutes later the CEO of the company called me and assured me the problem would be resolved and then proceeded to offer me an additional refund for my "time spent on their failure".


      Because it's cheaper than a lawsuit for fradulently charging you for services not delivered. Make no mistake: He was not interested in making an ex-customer happy. He was trying to avoid a lawsuit.
  • by CdrGlork (1096607) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:21AM (#18971289)
    Bill Gates did the same thing once. The guy was found dead, strangled with his own Ethernet cable. I TOLD Uncle Chuck to get wireless, but would he listen...? Now it's too late...
  • I am a longtime Apple customer. In fact,
    I have an original Apple II (not II+) still in my basement (and it still
    works!). I am also an IT Manager for one of the labs at MIT.


    It would have surprised me if he wasn't a Slashdotter, not that he was.
  • If he was "sold a non-functional computer" how did he get his data on it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rob1980 (941751)
      People do that to make their tech support issue seem like a bigger deal than it really is. I've heard people say they haven't been able to use their computer for weeks when the only thing that was wrong was the printer cartridge was dry.
  • The other day, while running the CTO duties of my company, I had a call. Not only did I personally help the customer through rebooting his firewall, I also personally transferred him to Sarah who not only watches my young'uns, but lines up sales and picks up equipment from the Office Depot.
  • Sadly, it's the only way to resolve a real problem. I've, unfortunately, had to resort to this for 1) Powerbook that was DOA and in repair for 6months (I'm naive) 2)2 DOA Powermacs (the 3rd one worked!?) 3) Recently a family member needed a logic board replacement and is unable to carry the computer to the store.(an imac g5 that had the extended replacement due to defective capacitors).

    It's not so impressive that executive relations actually fixes things.. It should be embarassing that you have to go that
  • Steve Jobs didn't give birth to the iPod, it sprang from his skull fully grown.
    Steve Jobs doesn't code software or fabricate hardware, he sensually caresses raw silicon until it wants to please him.
    Steve Jobs' turtleneck is actually his own sleek yet soft and downy coat of fur.
    Chuck Norris almost fought Steve Jobs this one time when Chuck's iPod died on him halfway through the kickass guitar solo in "Freebird," but Steve used his powers to not only repair Chuck's iPod, but also did a reality-restore poin
  • by sockonafish (228678) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:59AM (#18971773)
    This is nothing new. sjobs@apple.com, stevejobs@apple.com, and a few other addresses all go to Corporate Executive Relations. This is a group of premier customer service folks that have the power to get things done if the lower tiers are failing.

    Please, everyone, don't abuse it. I've had a couple of issues that the regular AppleCare folks weren't taking care of properly, and those issues were promptly resolved by the friendly people in Corporate Executive Relations. I'd hate to see them lose their effectiveness because they're being bombarded with things that ought to be going to regular AppleCare.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:32AM (#18972229) Journal
    I've always been pretty pleased with my Apple purchases, until I ordered one of the early Macbook Pro notebooks. I had to wait about a month for its arrival, which wasn't any fun - but I went into it knowing that would probably happen. What REALLY sucked is, when it arrived, it was completely D.O.A.! I could plug the power adapter in and got the green light saying it was supplying power, but the computer wouldn't do a thing. I went through all the usual steps (reset PMU, etc.) and no luck.

    Apple promptly shipped me a postage-paid return mailer to send it back in, but I had to wait several *more* weeks for a second unit!

    Then, shortly after receiving the second (working, thankfully!) unit, Apple announced a voluntary battery recall. Knowing the problems people had with other batteries splitting open, etc. - I called in to get that taken care of. I had to send in my original battery, which I did, but the replacement they provided refused to charge at all! I tried to get it resolved at the local Apple store, but after getting the big runaround (make an appointment to talk to us at the genius bar, drive home, and come back hours later, etc. etc.), I was simply told they had no more batteries in stock so they couldn't help me! Ugh! Why wouldn't they simply tell me that when I first came in, instead of the bull-headed refusal to speak to me until I made that appointment and came back later!?!

    Then I called in to Apple, only to wind up arguing with some guy who tried to tell me I wasn't allowed to get free phone support because I had my laptop longer than 90 days and didn't pay for AppleCare! WTF?! I was asking about the BATTERY they JUST sent me, not the laptop itself! He finally did swap the battery for me, but only after a condescending attitude and an insistence I understand this was only being done because he was "making a 1 time exception" to their policy.

    By this time, I was really getting pissed off at the way Apple's support seemed to be rapidly going downhill! But at least I had a working notebook for a while. That is, until one day, my bluetooth suddenly quit working! It was still within warranty by a month or so, so I gritted my teeth and called Apple. They made me give them my CC number first, but did walk me through some steps (including making a new user account in OS X to see if bluetooth would come back that way, which it didn't). Then they agreed it was defective and had me ship it back to them again.

    I sent it off the next morning after receipt of their mailer, bracing for weeks of waiting AGAIN. The next morning, I had a box sitting on my doorstep when I was heading off to work. Huh? My notebook! I was REALLY pissed this time. (Obviously someone screwed up and didn't get it delivered properly, or Apple messed up and sent it back without even looking at it! ... or that's what I was thinking.) I opened the box though, and saw paperwork on top. Woah! It said they DID work on it already! New bluetooth module installed along with a few other related parts, AND they even fixed the display hinges I commented felt "a little bit loose"!

    Was this service so prompt this time because Apple realized I had so many issues, and/or because I posted about all of it to several well-read forums? I'll never know - but THAT was TOP-NOTCH service!
     
  • by rollthelosindice (635783) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:51AM (#18972593) Homepage
    Bring macbook to local Apple store (cambridgeside galleria perhaps) instead of dealing with phone support.

    Mac genius fixes macbook the same day.

    rejoice.
  • by the_rajah (749499) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:05AM (#18972827) Homepage
    I've had a couple of instances. Back in 1999, I bought a new HP Pavilion desktop machine. I was on dialup at the time and it had a Rockwell chipset modem on the same card as the sound. My phone line was not the best, 28.8 was obtainable on a very dry day in August, usually 26.4 was the usual connect speed, but I had no affordable alternatives. The HP modem would connect, but the call would be dropped within a minute. The two other computers in the house with different modems could stay connected for hours. I went through HP phone support with the techs there were reading from a script blaming the phone line. One of the guys even whispered "Read between the lines." I posted to their forums for my model and had my posts deleted where I criticized the modem. Finally, I wrote a very polite letter to the, then CEO, the one before Carly, describing the problem and why it was the modem, not the phone line or my setup. I mailed it from the Midwest on a Thursday. Monday I got a call from a gentleman in the CEO's office who said that if I bought whatever modem I thought would work and sent them a copy of the receipt via fax, they would immediately cut me a check for that amount. I bought the newest USR USB modem which sold for $239.95, faxed the receipt and got a check within 4 days.

    Much more recently, I had trouble with a web site hosting company that I've had a site with for several years. They changed management and I started having serious trouble with the mail server where we have about 70 email accounts. For several days I tried to work through their phone support (Philippines - Very nice, Polite, easy to understand), but couldn't get the problem fixed with the server in Atlanta. I finally got escalated to email exchanges with a sysadmin, who wasn't getting the problem resolved either. I took a shot at guessing the email address of the CEO given that I now knew the pattern of their email addresses and got a quick response directly from him stating that I would be getting a phone call ASAP from their director of customer service and the head sysadmin. The calls came as promised and the problem got fixed quickly.

    So sometimes getting to the top guy works, but I use it sparingly as it can be overdone, too.
  • by jht (5006) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @12:09PM (#18973915) Homepage Journal
    I ordered a BTO iMac G5 back in March '05, and wound up getting entirely the wrong unit (and as equipped, it was pretty much useless to me). I went through the process of getting an RMA, and they told me I'd have a replacement in a week or two (the usual build cycle then). I was OK with that, but wrote a nice e-mail to Steve asking him what the manufacturing breakdown was that let that happen, and that though I was fine with the goof, I hoped it was a rare case. I even explicitly said in the message that I wasn't expecting anything from Apple as a result - it was just to let him know it had happened, and hopefully it wouldn't be a regular problem.

    A couple of hours later, one of his assistants called me. He had all the info on exactly what had happened to that sales order, and explained the whole thing to me. The next morning, my new iMac arrived at my office around 9AM, even before the pickup was ready to go of the old one.

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