Today is 16 December 2011. My 12 year-old son was helping me unload the car and his one month old iPhone 4S fell out of his sweatshirt pocket. We had installed front and back screen protective decals and then placed the phone in a hard plastic aftermarket "case". Well, the only thing the decal did on the front screen was to prevent mass distribution of glass from the shattered screen. This happened about 10 days ago. I took the iPhone to the Apple store in Walnut Creek, CA. The place was packed, and I was told I had to make an appointment to see the "Genius Bar" to figure out what to do next. So I made an appointment online for this afternoon at 3 PM.
When we arrived at the store, it was again just packed with customers. I am guessing there were 30 to 40 people working with the customers on the sales floor. We checked in with one of the staff and then we did a little window-shopping while waiting for our appointment. Just before 3 PM, one of the "Geniuses" approached us and I let my son explain his predicament. The Genius took the damaged phone into the back room, then reappeared about five minutes later. He informed us the phone was repairable, for a cost of $199. We told the Genius that we could not afford that at this time, thanked him, and headed toward the front door.
Just then, the Genius tapped me on the shoulder and asked us to hold on...maybe there was something the store manager could do...
Well, lo and behold. Sure enough, the Genius consulted with the manager and then offered us a one-time free replacement with the understanding that any future peccadillos would be repaired on our dime. The Genius produced a brand-new phone, exchanged SIM cards, activated it and we were good to go. He kept the broken phone for autopsy by the Apple techs.
Now I understand why Apple is so beloved. Now I understand why their stores are packed with customers.
Now I understand why there is a huge sales floor staff, enough to ensure no customer is left waiting around for assistance.
I have heard some folks speak of the Apple "mystique". There is no mystery to superior customer dervice.
Way to go, Apple!