How Apple didn't treat me like a number.

Inspiring Customer Experience Examples #5 - Weekly case studies on inspiring customer experiences to draw inspiration from.

How Apple didn't treat me like a number.

Even though I’m a big Apple fanatic, their giftcard system can be rather... confusing sometimes. They offer iTunes giftcards for apps, books and music, all to be purchased in the App Store. The Apple giftcard is for your hardware – iPhones, Macs, Apple watches etc. There’s a clear distinction and no possibility to use the giftcards for alternative purchases. They’ve deliberately chosen to have these touchpoints and manage it separately.

Here I was, late to the party and finally convinced that I also need a pair of Air Pods. My colleagues have been quite excited about them for some time and after working with my headphones on day in and out, my time was finally here.


To encourage me even further, my work was generous enough to send me a gift card for my birthday! It was only after opening the e-mail and redeeming the voucher code, that I figured out I wasn’t able to purchase my beloved Air Pods. I looked in my e-mail, and there it stared right at me ‘Your iTunes Giftcard’. After reading the tiny outlined terms and conditions on the bottom of the page, I understood my Air Pods purchase would have to wait a little longer.


I decided to contact their customer service. An honest mistake on our side, it should be able to get fixed. Right?


I called the customer service number (because I’m old) and was welcomed by an automatic menu: ‘Not one of these!’ was my initial thought. But I was pleasantly surprised by not one, not two, not three, but four actions that made my entire service experience outstanding.


Let’s list them out:

1.    Before I was being connected to a representative,they asked me to tell in a couple of words, what the purpose of my call was. After I explained it concisely. The friendly robot immediately understood my reason for calling. No confused Alexa or Google home here. Immediate recognition, nice!

2.    Even though nobody likes waiting, they tried to make my waiting experience positive by asking me what type of music I wanted to listen to or if I wished to wait in silence. I had a possibility to choose from an extensive range of genres. (Not only did I listen to some great pop songs, they also reintroduced me to Maroon 5’s song ‘Wait’, that I forgot about).

3.    The friendly (real) lady on the phone and I had a lovely conversation where she ended up asking about the reason I received this giftcard, congratulating me with my birthday, and recognising the excellent gift I received from my work. It was a truly non-scripted, personal and engaging chat. (Zappos, watch your back!)

4.    The best part of it all, Apple - one of the largest organisations in the world, with their stores being closed due to a pandemic and online demand being higher than ever- was able to connect me with a representative in 30 seconds. 30 seconds!


This shows that delivering great experiences not always need to be the shiny or expensive stuff. It is managing and delivering an experience that your customers expect from you and are -in this case- human and meaningful.

Now that my request is being taken into consideration, the only thing we need to wait on is the true question of today: Will I get my AirPods? I’ll keep you posted.

By Barbara.

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