Thursday, March 19, 2009

My local AT&T store admits error and gives me a month of free service

Right before I finished graduate school, my Blackberry Pearl started acting up. The cursor ball would get jammed and send hundreds of emails and texts and call people at random if I left the phone unlocked. If the phone was locked, it would just drain the battery in about two hours. Either way, it was grossly inconvenient.

Luckily for me, my two year upgrade was coming up. So, all I had to do was wait a month – while looking for a job – with a highly unreliable phone. During that time, I lucked out and found a job, and right before I moved I decided to go to my local AT&T store in Evanston and get either the Blackberry Bold or an iphone. I ended up going with the iphone for a number of reasons that I’ll talk about some other time, but a downside (or maybe an upside) to purchasing the iphone is that you can’t buy an insurance policy for the phone but you can get Apple Care.

While they had run out of Apple Cares at the store, I paid for it along with the phone and was told to come back on Monday to pick it up. Long story short, they sold mine before I could get there. In fact, they did this two more times: they’d tell me the shipping days, I’d come in that afternoon, the Apple Cares would be gone. Two days before my move, I went in to the Apple store for a fourth time with no intention of raising hell. The manager recognized me from my multiple visits, went to look for the Apple Care himself, said – once again – that they were out of stock, and said he would ship the stuff to me the day it came in AND give me a month of free service.

Well, a month has now passed and AT&T of Evanston, IL kept up their end of the deal. My Apple Care was shipped and I didn’t have to pay my most recent bill. That’s some great customer service.

Note to all those cell phone providers with retail outlets near college campuses: Making sure individual customers are happy is always important. Making sure that your customer – who can spread word across an entire community in less than a day by using a university’s diverse communications networks – is imperative to the survival of your business.

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