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Apple IT

Steve Jobs Personally Resolves Customer Complaint 341

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 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.
  • 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!

  • 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 wesley78 ( 1086999 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:39AM (#18970833)
    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 part to me the next day, he tried to explain how it would have been impossible for me to receive the part on time. It looks like the same type of thing happened here. Someone in the customer care department made a promise and never followed through with it. For the record, while I was on hold with HP for over hour, I got the opportunity to listen to how highly rated their customer service was. Do high service ratings really mean anything? One really shouldn't have to go outside the regular system in order to get the level of service expected from these big companies. Hats off to whoever it was at Apple that made things right though. It's certainly better than I got.
  • Solaris 10 ????????? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:59AM (#18971017)
    Remember the free Solaris 10 DVD that you didn't get back in January? But you did get all of the promotion E-Mails right? Well in May I used the return comments on one of the E-Mails selling a new server and asked WTF happened to the DVD? That E-mail shot to the top of the pile and two days later FED-X delivered the DVD.

  • I completely agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maynard ( 3337 ) <j.maynard.gelina ... m ['l.c' in gap]> 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.
  • 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:What if (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Joe Snipe ( 224958 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:31AM (#18972221) Homepage Journal
    You just made my fan list, sir!
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Jon Abbott ( 723 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:35AM (#18973355) Homepage
    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!
  • 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.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @12:25PM (#18974253) Homepage Journal
    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 let you in on a tip or two.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.