“You Know How To Take The Reservation. You Just Don’t Know How To Hold The Reservation…”

The title of this blog is a direct quote from a Seinfeld episode.

And that’s because sometimes, life imitates art.

Or does art imitate life?

Last week I had need to travel up to Sydney to have some new parts fitted on Jayne’s car.

As you know, Jayne and I live about two hours southwest of Sydney.

Because Jayne’s car was going to be in service for the whole day, I decided to kill two birds with one stone…. I decided to book my iPhone in for a couple of necessary changes that it needed, because I knew that I could get those changes made during the lengthy time that Jayne’s car would be at the dealership.

To be sure I wasn’t going to be wasting any time, I phone the flagship Apple store in George Street Sydney to schedule my booking.

My phone needed:

  • A replacement battery. The original battery was struggling to hold charge for a long time, and had been in the phone nearly three years.
  • A new screen display. My phone screen was showing red shadows of icons from the home screen that appeared to be burned across the screen. It wasn’t a glass replacement issue… moreover it was a screen display issue.

When I rang to schedule my visit, I was very specific that I needed both of these defects rectified as I was travelling some two hours each way and a visit to Sydney was not a regular event for me… the two closest Apple Stores to our home were located between 100 and 115 minutes away from our home, and were not located along my journey to Sydney.

So here’s what happened on the day…

After dropping Jayne’s car off at the dealership I arrived at the Apple store prior to my scheduled appointment time. When an attendant came to register me, it was apparent from what she was saying to me that the two needs that I had discussed on the phone when scheduling my appointment had not been recorded.

The attendant informed me that the store was going to be able to change my battery, but the screen display issue was not going to be able to be performed there on that day because this store, the flagship store, did not have the part in stock that my phone was needing.

However, the attendant did let me know that two nearby Apple stores did have the part, but those stores were located east, and south of this city store. The lady told me that if I wanted to travel to either of those stores, she could phone ahead and make me an appointment.

The problem was that Jayne’s car was being serviced in the north, and so both of these alternatives were not a viable solution for me at all.

I asked if she could phone and have the part sent from the nearer of the two stores down to the city store.

She said, she could, but although one store was only 15 minutes away by car, the part would not arrive at the city store until the next day.

I asked if this was for real?

She apologised, but to me her apology was merely disingenuous words.

I told her that the reason I had called a few days ahead and booked the repairs was because I wanted those repairs done for me on this day.

She said, sometimes the store runs out of parts.

And I said:

“But if I’ve reserved the necessary part, why can’t you hold the part for me?”

Especially because when I was on the phone scheduling my booking, the agent on the phone was able to run a virtual diagnostic inspection of my phone while I was speaking with him!

I told the attendant that I had specifically phoned to ensure that I could have both repairs done at the Flagship city store, because I was having my wife’s car serviced on this day, and because I also wanted to go visit my ninety-year old father who lived close to the city.

These events at the Apple store just making any sense.

It was just like the Seinfeld episode about the car reservation…

It was life imitating art…

[From the Seinfeld TV show:]

Jerry: “The name’s Seinfeld. You made a reservation for a mid-size.”

Car rental lady: “I’m sorry. We have no mid-size available at the moment.”

Jerry: “I understand. I made a reservation. Do you have my reservation?”

Car rental lady: “Yes, we do. Unfortunately, we ran out of cars.”

Jerry: “But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.”

Car rental lady: “I know why we have reservations.”

Jerry: “I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. So, you know how to take the reservation. You just don’t know how to HOLD the reservation, and that’s really the most important part of the reservation. The holding. Anybody can just take ‘em….”

So here’s what happened next…

I decided to get my battery changed at the city store, and to organise another time for my screen display to be repaired.

While my battery was being replaced, I suddenly had a BFO moment….

I thought to myself:

“I wonder if the Apple Store located twelve minutes north of the car dealership has the screen display part that I needed?”

I asked another attendee at the Sydney store to see whether a visit to that northern Apple store was going to result in my phone getting repaired this same day, as planned?

The attendee went and checked, and returned to tell me that the northern Apple Store did have the part that I needed and would hold it for me so that I could have the screen display repair done on this same day.

YIPPEE!!

I raced by train to that northern store and was able to have my screen display repaired, with just enough time afterwards to get down to the car dealership before they closed and pick up Jayne’s car.

And then once that was done, I was able to go visit my Dad, and spend some time with him.

But what a shemozzle!

In reality, and in business…

In reality, and in business, a business’s solutions to their customers’ problems should always be customer centric, not business centric.

If as a business, your customers’ solutions are all about your business, and not about your customer, your customers will soon walk away, and take their business to a company that actually cares about customers.

Listen up businesses… IT’S NOT THAT DIFFICULT TO DO!!

Business arrogance displayed towards customers, is ultimately toxic, when it gets out of hand…

In my case, I’m waiting for the feedback survey.

Sadly, from previous experiences with Apple this year, I don’t think they really care….

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*****

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