Last week, I noticed my left AirPod would not pair to my phone. After Googling solutions and troubleshooting myself, I made the problem worse. Neither one of my Airpods would pair to my phone. To avoid going to the Apple Store, I started a chat with a support specialist. After chatting with two different agents, for two hours, I was told that someone would call me to help resolve my issue. The agent on the phone attempted to solve my issue by trying to see where in the process the AirPods would not connect; however, he was still not able to resolve my issue. He told me that he would send the transcripts and the data he collected to a specialist and get back to me on Monday. I was not happy with his resolution. It was Friday, meaning I would have to go all weekend without my babies. Unsatisfied with my experience, I decided to walk to the Apple Store to see if my issue could be resolved right away.
When I walked into the store, I immediately felt overwhelmed. No matter how many times I walk into the white open space, I feel lost. I scanned the room and attempted to find an associate, but luckily someone spotted me. After connecting my case to some fancy wires and an iPad, the store associate let me know right away that my case and left AirPod were shot so they had to replace both parts. Great! My problem was resolved instantaneously, but not so fast. The associate let me know that I would need to see someone at the Genius Bar, and that was approximately a two-hour wait. In my mind that made no sense, and from that point on, I reluctantly sat in the Apple Store observing and trying to figure out where Apple could improve their retail model.
As I sat and patiently waited for the system to let me know it was my turn at the Genius Bar, I observed little customers making purchases. Most customers ventured to the Apple Store with a problem that they expected to be solved. I sat, sat, and sat some more. I didn’t understand why I had to wait to see another person to give me a replacement AirPod and case. Why couldn’t the same associate that resolved my issue simply go into the back, grab what I needed, and let me enjoy my Friday night? That would be too simple huh? A more clearly defined, the streamlined process would potentially reduce wait times and get to the root of the problem faster.
Ding! It was finally my turn. I got up and approached the bar when the same guy that initially helped me said, “I got you, I checked you in already”. “Geez, thanks”, I thought to myself. He then came up to me with his fancy devices and let me know that the replacement pod and case were not in stock and would need to be ordered. They would be ready for pick up in two-five business days. So, I basically wasted about two hours in the Apple store just so someone could tell me my issue could not be solved. Sounds like a great way to spend your Friday evening, wouldn’t you agree?
Apple decision-makers need to get out into the stores and realize that the experience is not as glorious as they think. If they are not willing to get their hands dirty, they need to closely analyze customer journey maps to improve customer experience and subsequently decrease wait times. This may even be a crazy idea, but making sure that each associate is seeing the solutions all the way through. If the associate would have told me that the replacement parts weren’t available sooner, my experience would have been much more enjoyable. The root cause of the problem needs to be diagnosed properly so, the proper solution can be made, to improve the overall process. The following strategy should be implemented to help create a solid customer journey map:
- Actions: What is the customer doing at each stage? What actions are they taking to move themselves on to the next stage?
- Motivations: Why is the customer motivated to keep going to the next stage? What emotions are they feeling? Why do they care?
- Questions: What are the uncertainties, jargon, or other issues preventing the customer from moving to the next stage?
- Barriers: What structural, process, cost, implementation, or other barriers stand in the way of moving on to the next stage?
This simple and effective process would increase the in-store process. However, this is not a one-time stagnate solution. This needs to be done continuously so next time my AirPods decide to malfunction, I don’t have to wait two hours.