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Posted: December 02, 2013

The magical Apple genie

A tale of four wishes granted

TC North

Don’t you love it when you receive mind-blowing customer service? This isn’t a topic I usually write about, but when the geniuses at the Apple store in the Flatiron Crossing mall in Broomfield blew my mind, I decided to share.

Apple creates fanatically loyal customers as well as or better than any other large company in the world, and I’m one of their biggest fans. We can all learn from what Apple does right. The other day, I arrived a few minutes early for my appointment at the Apple store’s Genius Bar. After taking up residence on a stool, I began absorbing the store’s ambiance. It’s the only store I’ve been in whose energy lifts my spirits — the antithesis of my typical store response. I have the super-deluxe, highly dominant, antishopping gene, so I usually get a bad case of fried brain as soon as I walk into a store.

Keith, the ponytailed genius who looked more like a skateboarding dude than a computer geek, was helping an older couple at the other end of the bar. He looked at me, winked to acknowledge he knew I was waiting and mouthed the words “I’ll be right with you.” I paused to absorb the activity in the store. Everyone was fully engaged, either talking with a member of the Apple team or playing with a piece of technology. There was a palpable feeling of excitement and joy throughout the store, which was filled with a combination of elementary-school-aged children, teenagers, adults and elders. Where else can you find that?

Keith made his way down the bar while looking at his iPad and said, “You’re TC.”

I smiled and said, “Yes, I am. Hey, Keith.” Now here’s the beginning of my mind-blowing customer service experience.

I was in a few weeks earlier to have my computer problem diagnosed. Hunter and Keith were the geniuses who helped me that day, and Keith recognized me, saying, “You’re in because you need to replace your motherboard, right?”

“Yes,” I responded.

He then said, “Did we inform you that we generally need three to five days of turnaround time?”

I replied, “Yes, and if there’s any way to shorten that, I’d be eternally grateful. I’m finishing writing my Fearless Leaders™ book manuscript!”

Keith then did what I call “the Magical Apple Genie moment.” He said, “Can you wait just a moment?” He accessed a store computer as he continued helping the elderly couple at the other end of the Genius Bar. After answering their questions, he returned to his computer and then said to me: “TC, I’m requesting that your computer be done in two days and hopefully one. I know you’re working on your book manuscript.”

That was the beginning of being wowed. I use the words “magical” and “genie” because my experience with geniuses Keith and Hunter was like a genie granting me wishes. I make a wish and poof! My Apple genius makes it come true. My first wish had been granted.

Keith then printed the work authorization form, and the cost of replacing the motherboard was $492. I asked if my computer was still under the three-year warranty, and he replied that it unfortunately wasn’t. Keith then reviewed the notes made by Hunter, the Apple genius who originally diagnosed the motherboard problem a couple of weeks earlier and poof, another Magical Apple Genie moment. Keith then said: “You’ve been a loyal customer, your computer hasn’t been out of warranty long, and Hunter wrote a note that we’ll fix it for free.”

Holy shazam (not the actual words that went through my head)! What other computer company would fix something for free that was out of warranty? I was wowed! Poof! A second wish had been granted.

But my Magical Apple Genie Keith wasn’t done yet. After thanking him profusely for granting my first two wishes, I pulled out my nine-year-old backup MacBook from my briefcase and made my third wish. “May I ask your help with one more thing?”

“Of course,” my genie replied.

“I was going to use this old MacBook while you fix the motherboard on my MacBook Pro, but it isn’t charging. Could you do a quick diagnosis to determine why?”

“It’s probably the charger. Let’s test it,” he replied. Poof! My third wish had been granted.

Sure enough, the charger was defunct. Keith said he had an inexpensive charger that would work for my old computer for about $60. I hesitated and silently made a fourth wish (isn’t three wishes the limit with most genies?) that he would lend me a charger for two days. Then I said out loud to my genie: “I could buy one, but dang, I only need it for two days. I’m probably going to buy a new MacBook Air before the end of the year, so I won’t need the old Mac as a backup.”

Genie Keith had another of those magical Apple genie moments and said the words I’ve come to love: “Can you wait just a moment?” I smiled and he disappeared into the back room. When he reappeared, so genie like, he handed me a charger and said, “Here, you can borrow this.” Wow, another mind blower — he’s lending me the store’s equipment instead of selling it to me! I had my wish granted, and again, I didn’t even say it out loud.

I’ve had several similar experiences where the geniuses at Apple fixed my problem at no charge or just provided service that wowed me. I never consider buying anything other than Apple products when I have a choice. I’m proud to admit that I’ve been an out-of-the-closet Apple fanatic since I bought my first Mac, a Mac 128k, back in 1983. I’ll continue being a Mac fan as long as Apple keeps encouraging its geniuses to have those wonderful, Magical Apple Genie moments.

We all can find ways to wow those we serve. When we do, we’ll develop fanatically loyal customers and fans, just like Apple does.

Please note that I don’t represent Apple, and Apple in no way compensates me. I’m just an Apple fanatic. If you want amazing value, buy Apple products and visit your nearest Genius Bar to be wowed. All appointments are free.

Dr. TC North is co-author of the book, Fearless Leaders (release date is Sept. 2014). For 28 years, has been a high-performance executive coach and speaker who accelerates individuals and organizations in attaining their visions and dreams. He has also mentally coached a professional sports team and Olympic teams in the art of creating thoughts and emotions that maximize success. He’s a professional speaker on, “Fearless Leaders™” and “Master Fear.” Dr. North’s work has been featured on TV and radio and in business and scientific journals. Learn more at www.TCNorth.com. Contact Dr. North at 303-665-8920 or TC@TCNorth.com, or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

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Readers Respond

David, glad you liked the article and I apologize for getting the year wrong when I bought my first Macintosh. You're right; it was 1984. By TC North on 2013 12 02
Great story, and echoes my own experiences at the Apple store. You really did have a magical touch if you got your first Mac in 1983. They were introduced in 1984, by the now-famous "1984" commercial. I'm just saying... By David Houghton on 2013 12 02
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