The iPod Shuffle Repair Service Experience
Monday 4:00 p.m. – I begin to realize that my iPod Shuffle at 2 months old is behaving strangely, not holding a charge, and isn’t recognized by my computer when I plug it into the USB port.Tuesday – I think about how new this iPod is and how I really don’t want to go back to Best Buy to return it, 60 days late. They’d just smile smugly and remind me that I could have bought their extended warranty for $14 at the time of sale and they’d have taken care of it. But I’m not a fan of Best Buy.Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. – I check out the Apple.com support site for FAQs and support advice on the Shuffle. A little banner offers “Live Chat with an agent” for iPod Nano and Shuffle support. I take the bait and connect. In about 60 seconds, I’m greeted in the little pop-up window by Priya, whose responses are thorough and polite, though a little delayed (as though they were coming from halfway around the world. Can you imagine?) – – after leading me through some questions, she determines that my iPod’s inability to hold a charge and the Mac’s inability to “see” it warrants a full replacement. She IMs me the link to the support ship-in page. A clean 5-step wizard takes me through entering the serial number, my name, address, shipping address and credit card number. It concludes by letting me know that a replacement iPod will be shipped to me, after which I need to send in my old iPod or they will charge my credit card for the shipping and purchase price of the replacement.Wednesday 7:30 p.m. – Five hours later — I receive an email from Apple support with a repair tracking number and my iPod’s symptom listed. It i repeats the process for receiving the new iPod, returning my old one, and the warranty date and costs I’ll incur if I fail to trade in the old iPod within 10 days. This seems very reasonable. Of course I’m going to send it in. They’ve got my credit card number and my digital agreement that they can charge me $89 if I don’t meet my end of the bargain. Although this model only costs $69 — I guess the extra $20 is for shipping and hassle?Thursday 5:10 a.m. – 15 hours since first contact — Another email from Apple. This one very short. They have shipped the replacement iPod Shuffle via DHL. There’s a tracking number, the repair ID number and another reminder that I must return the original iPod to Apple by June 22. There’s also a link to track my repair status online. I like knowing that the process is in process, so to speak.Friday 11:00 a.m. – 45 hours after first contact — DHL delivery shows up to my house and asks for a signature. Inside the plastic shipping envelope is a padded manila envelope, which holds a brand new, naked, white iPod shuffle. And a letter from AppleCare Service. It instructs me how to remove the shipping label and affix it to the interior envelope, and lists the DHL number to call for service.I’m amazed. This was incredible service. It’s less than 48 hours since I visited the Apple support site, and now my new iPod is charging in the side of my Powerbook, filled with new songs and registered under my name on my Apple profile. Somebody at Apple has figured out the science of customer service process brilliantly. What’s interesting is that it was easy, simple, and no-frills. They didn’t even waste packaging on me. It was a naked iPod with a black-and-white laser printed letter stuffed into an envelope. The agent on chat didn’t argue with me. And they virtually guaranteed my compliance with the process by getting my authorization to pay for the replacement if I didn’t send in the broken one right away. Well done guys.