November 6, 2014

A Pot of Gold at the End of the Customer Service Rainbow

iphone5s

A Midwestern man wrote to us with a story that plays out the fears of many parents whose 

kids play games on devices and can buy upgrades or token-like items with the click of a button. But don’t worry – there’s a happy ending.

Alan from Mora, MN, was on vacation recently when he noticed that ITunes sent him an email saying several purchases had been made on his account in a one-hour period.

One problem, he hadn’t bought anything ITunes. He checked his Wells Fargo account and, sure enough, there were more than $300 in charges to ITunes.

He called his ex-wife and discovered that his 9-year-old son had been really engrossed in his IPod for the last hour playing Clash of Clans. It was soon discovered that the boy, who was allowed to make occasional small charges under $5 was buying many $20 “sacks of gems” after he’d made an initial purchase for a $4.99 bag by entering his dad’s passcode.

“If he had bought one it would have been totally fine but he was so caught up in the game that he didn’t realize that the sacks he was clicking on cost $20 each,” Alan says.  

With Apple’s great customer service (a rather recent development that involved at least one class-action lawsuit over this very issue) Alan was able to resolve the situation rather quickly.

He opened the ITunes app in his phone and was able to click on a button that alerted an Apple rep to call him back. The representative called back within moments. “It much easier than if I had been forced to find the number and then type it into my phone. I just clicked a button.” The dad was assured that the unauthorized charges would be reversed – and, sure enough, a few minutes after he hung up he received an email from the bank saying there was a credit from Apple. 

Alan also gives kudos to Wells Fargo for stopping all payments to Apple at $300 due to the fact that he had exceeded his daily limit for unauthorized charges on his debit card.

“I normally would have gotten hung up tracking down and then cutting and pasting or writing down phone numbers. Instead they had set up a call center that was alerted through the app. Everything was confirmed and sent back to me via email. It made me feel like I didn’t have to worry about leaving my credit card on file with Apple. Otherwise I would have stopped buying things from them and my kids would have stopped buying things from them. I also appreciated Wells Fargo’s great customer service in that they got involved because someone was spending too much money.”

The legal action Apple faced a few years back over this very issue has clearly resulted in some customer-friendly changes that will help keep the company on top. By not playing hardball with customers like Alan and accommodating families in this type of situations through easy-to-use technology, Apple is helping to ensure positive PR and lifetime customers. Now this is a great example of a tough situation ending in an exceptional customer experience.

Want to see another way to better the customer experience using mobile? 

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