Every Interaction is Part of a Story

Everyone knows I’m a long time Apple user. So you can imagine there are a lot of interactions with Apple that form a fairly long, and at this point mostly positive story.

My ADC membership expired a few weeks ago, so as is usually the case I started poking around the website to click the “buy again button”. I found that Apple has discontinued their ADC program and replaced it with the Mac Developer Program, which is cheaper (yeah!). I had no idea this was coming mainly because I’ve almost completely stopped reading email that doesn’t hold my attention. The issue is I’ve been trying to pay Apple for a service I want for about two weeks now.

Sounds crazy. I know. I’m persistent. I really just want to give them my money. I’ve been an ADC member since 2006. I like the benefits. I think it gives me an advantage. I think it’s a great asset for my company, and this is the problem. My application has been rejected because my personal address and the address on my articles of organization do not match. WHAT?! Yes, they seriously sent me an email saying that.

After they lost my first fax, took a week to verify I need to resend the fax, then took another 4 days to tell me that the address I put in the field for personal address does not match the address of my LLC. Thanks! No shit. Does this mean that everyone who has signed up for this program lives, and/or works at the same address that is on the legal documents for their business formation? Say it out loud, I guarantee it doesn’t make any sense.

I’m not sure how this story is going to end, but this interaction got me thinking about how long it takes to build trust with a customer and how quickly that trust can evaporate when it is not given in return. Commercial software companies show their customers a great deal of mistrust almost every time the customer peels away shrink wrap to find that regardless of how functional the software inside is there is a piece of paper that says they can not return it.

What I’m saying is simple. Companies need to go out of their way to recognize when they have earned trust, and treat the customer in that relationship accordingly. You might profit from my misplaced trust once, and you may take a loss from your misplaced trust in me once, but you can profit in many transactions once a mutually beneficial relationship has been built by trust. This ignores the profit to be gained from the positive story I have to tell to friends and strangers when a company exceeds my expectations. Unfortunately, it only takes but a few bad interactions to undo many positive interactions.

Update: Apple responded satisfactory by asking if I wanted my address updated. Sure. Now go update your web form to state that the address you want is the official legal address of my business. Thanks!

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