What can travel learn from Amazon and Apple
Over the past several weeks, I have had the need to order from Amazon and Apple, and coming off of those experiences I realized that there is a good lesson we all can learn from the two giants. Typically I am not a fan of online purchasing, but in today’s environment, sometimes it is necessary. Often times it is a horrible experience, but this time—quite the contrary.
I am looking into starting a travel podcast. I have been participating in one that has local community news in my hometown and saw some success and thought it might make sense to discuss some travel stuff periodically. I needed to order my own microphone and a few other accessories. We have no local audio store and a trip to New York was not in the cards, so Amazon it was. The microphone I ordered was shown to be in stock and deliverable in 4 days along with some cables and a stand. I clicked my way through the process and the order was completed. I got the expected confirmations by email and somewhat forgot about it, expecting my order to arrive later in the week. And then I got an email. It seems that my microphone was not in stock after all. They asked my permission to replace it with a better one at the lower price. Well, that was a no-brainer and I said yes. They apologized and said they would process the change. I then got another email saying that because of the change, they did not want to delay my shipment so they would be sending it out via a next day delivery. Talk about wow! I placed a $100 order expecting delivery on Thursday; I received a $150 order (for $100) delivered on Tuesday. Amazon delivered! And while I am not going to be an online evangelist anytime soon, the next time I do need to order online, you can bet that Amazon will be the first place I look.
So, what about Apple? My phone contract was expiring (as was my phone) and I needed to replace it. I called around to several Verizon stores and my local Apple store asking for the iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB. None were in stock. So I ordered from Apple online. My initial thought was that it might be in stock and available sooner, but that was not the case. The original order said it was a 4-week wait (coming from China), but that was on par with the retail options. The phone arrived and I had some issues transferring my old data to the new phone. After exhausting online forums, I called Apple Care (their warranty support) and was speaking with an agent in less than three minutes. In less than ten minutes, the issues were resolved. The next afternoon, I had a voicemail on the new phone. It was the same representative I spoke with yesterday just following up to make sure it was working correctly and to ask if I had any more questions. Impressive! I did not, but he asked if he could send me an email with some common tips and tricks for the new phone. Sure thing; bring it on. Well played Apple!
The takeaway from these two experiences is that they both over-delivered on their products and promises. How often do we go into McDonalds and receive a screwed up meal? How often does the car repair invoice exceed the quote? Perhaps a little closer to home—how often have we told a client we’d call them back on Monday but just did not get around to it? How often have we “forgotten” to respond to the email we have been dreading? How often have we missed something in a complex itinerary that the client specifically wanted?
Think about it. With every successful transaction, you have an evangelist like me. With every unsuccessful one… well, you can probably figure that out by looking at your bottom line!
As we near the end of the year, let’s all resolve to do just a little bit better. Let us under-promise and over-deliver.