Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thanks for the music, Steve.

I was the kid who used to hold up a tape recorder to the radio when my favorite songs came on. The first thing I bought with my first paycheck at age 15 was a Shawn Colvin cd. I was and still am, a music addict. So, my gateway drug into Apple was the iPod. Download all my songs into a handy little machine and carry them with me everywhere? Yes, please. I didn't mind having to use itunes, because that was just a way to buy even more music, even quicker. Plus the ipod was so smooth and pretty and so easy to use - scroll down, click and listen. I was in love.

By the time I started my business I'd been using a smartphone, a Treo in this case, for years. But the iPhone, the iPhone, man, could play my music. And it allowed me to buy more music right from my phone! I could also go online, research anything, figure out how to get anywhere, and it was one step down from just carrying my computer around. It was the perfect for me, and everything that I had to do in my business and in my life.

And then one day it slipped out of my hands and thudded onto the pavement in a parking lot in Pasadena.

I was horrified. I was about two blocks away from the Apple store in Old Town, and I walked in literally on the verge of tears. I had never experienced such fantastic customer service in my life before - in 30 minutes they took the shattered phone from me, replaced it with a new one, connected it to my cell phone account and even gave me a case for it. All for free.


I asked my friends who had Mac computers and none of them were surprised by this. If they every had a problem with their Macbooks, which they hardly ever did, they took them into the Apple store and got free help. One of my friends had a problem with their hard drive and it was replaced, gratis, with an upgraded operating system. But they were expensive, I was warned. At least twice as much as a PC. I was on my second PC in three years, and had already experienced regular crashes and virus warnings. My friends didn't have those problems. Plus the Macs were just so...PRETTY. I saved up and got this baby six months later, refurbished (bet you didn't know you could save money doing that, huh?)

Yeah, they cost a lot. But they're worth it, for the service you get, for the absolute belief that if you have a problem, any problem, that you're going to be taken care of, as quickly as possible. I adore my husband, but he is a klutz. One of the reasons we rent a house rather than own one is that if we had to pay to fix everything he's broken, we would have filed for bankruptcy long ago. Zane could break water. He is also the only person I know who has managed to disable his Macbook - twice. And the Apple store has fixed and replaced it both times. The cost has been completely and totally worth the money, every time.

I got the iPad this year, and I use it run my weddings onsite, read books, and, of course, listen to music. Last week, I used it to video record footage of a wedding - multi-tasking at it's finest. Don't worry, though, I have a case for it!

As a wedding consultant, my goal is to always be worth the cost of the money, too. And the best way to do that is to give my brides the same level of customer service that Steve Jobs' company has always offered me. I found out a couple of weeks ago that the Apple employee manual has broken that policy down into the acronym A.P.P.L.E:

Approach customers with a warm welcome
Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
Present a solution for the customer to take home today
Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return

None of them - none of US - deserve anything less.

So, thanks for the music, Steve, thanks for the support, and thanks, most of all, for setting the standard. Godspeed.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
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