Persistence, PR and Customer Service

Not what you want on a new iPhone 4G: a diagonal crack connecting the upper and lower screen limits.

But . . .that’s what I saw when I pulled my iPhone out of my purse one morning. It wasn’t there when I put it in away on my way out of a social networking event the night before.

I’ll admit I can be hard on my equipment. I dropped my Canon G2 camera in a parking lot a few weeks after I got it. It was durable, but not indestructible.

Wondering how fragile the iPhone4G could be, I searched the web for fixes. I didn’t see many/any cracked screen reports. How unlucky could I be?

A few comments on a blog post about iPhone 3g suggested going to the Apple store to request a replacement. But, the Apple stores around us are a 15 minute drive. Yeah, that’s not really that far, but I decided to check in first at the at&t store where I ordered the phone.

Signed in as the third name on the list, we knew we were in for a wait. In our area, people like to make sales interactions into exchanges about life and such and so on. One couple I watched took at least 20 minutes telling the sales rep about their personal communication habits before they decided on a phone. It’s all about who we are out here. And, believe it or not, most of the time everybody’s okay with that.

Maybe it’s a Midwestern tendency or a DuPage County peculiarity, but we don’t mind telling people who we are and why we are doing what we’re doing. And, yes, it’s okay if you want to, too.

So, I was honest with Erik, the sales rep who greeted me and my youngest son aka the entertainer who’s a geek and kind of a bit obnoxious at times when he wants to be, which is almost always.

“I’m really sad and disappointed that the iPhone is so fragile,” I said. “I didn’t expect it to crack in my purse. My HTC/at&t tilt was much more durable.”

When I asked if was still covered under the 30 day return policy warranty, I knew the answer was almost certainly no – and it was, by 12 days.

Erik couldn’t exchange the phone, but he could ask his manager for an exception. He’d never seen a crack like this and thought maybe the phone might be defective.

His manager said I couldn’t return the phone. So, I was ready to take it back and live with the crack when Erik noticed something: a black particle from the case on the counter. Did the case break the screen?

He suggested that maybe his manager might consider exchanging the phone. Before he walked over, he found another piece of plastic from the case on the counter. Both pieces and the phone went over to his manager.

The youngest and I waited while Erik submitted the evidence.

A few minutes later, he came back and said that they’d determined that the case cracked the iPhone. And. . . they were going to replace it!

I wanted to replace the case, too. Ballistic HC for Hard Core with four layers of protection and Otter were the top choices. Safe and snug in it’s Otter Box, my iPhone looks like some odd device. Too small to be an Android and too big to be an iPhone, it looks clunky. But, that’s okay with me. I know I can a) find it and b) keep the screen protected.

Yay! I can close all of the iPhone 4G repair service windows.

And the PR part? Why it’s this post, of course. Thanks to Scott Stratten, who recently spoke at Social Media Club Chicago, for sharing a customer service story that inspired me to write this post.

Image credit: Louvre Apple from the Paris 2010 collection by Barbara Rozgonyi c2010 for
Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links; if you purchase products through these links, I will receive a commission.

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