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Imus and Customer Service Redux

There’s an excellent interview with PR guru Robert L. Dilenschneider on what Don Imus could have done differently. Here’s Dilenschneider’s take: “From the get-go, Imus should have and could have been out there in-person – at Rutgers, in the Afro-American community, etc. In addition, he could have dug down deep inside himself where true contrition resides. I didn’t see that and neither did those whose opinion counted. From that deep inside would have come an authentic plea for mercy.”

There’s an excellent interview with PR guru Robert L. Dilenschneider on what Don Imus could have done differently.

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Here’s Dilenschneider’s take: “From the get-go, Imus should have and could have been out there in-person – at Rutgers, in the Afro-American community, etc.
In addition, he could have dug down deep inside himself where true contrition resides. I didn’t see that and neither did those whose opinion counted. From that deep inside would have come an authentic plea for mercy.”

Being out there in person is something a lot of companies and individuals should be doing as well. Companies spend millions of dollars to promote themselves and establish a personal brand. And then when a customer has the nerve to contact them, they too often vanish.

Previously, I wrote about the deafness of telephone retailer Hello Direct – which hasn’t a clue how to handle customer problems. Now, I am adding another company to the “Personal Branding Hall of Shame.” Welcome Apple. That beloved brand must have a worm crawling around inside it when it comes to customer service.

Here’s my Apple customer horror story.

I received a $50 iTunes music card as a promotion. When I entered the scratch-off code online to redeem my card, I was told that the number I entered was invalid. No big deal I thought. How wrong that turned out to be.

First, I called Apple’s customer service only to be told to send an email to customer service. You heard that right. You call to get help and are told to email..
I wrote customer service. Not just once but twice. And all I got for my troubles was an automated response saying someone would get back to me within a few days. And then heard nothing.

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As a PR professional, I thought I could get some help from Apple’s PR department. Wrong again. I emailed the PR person listed on Apple’s website as responsible for iTune’s PR about my problem thinking he would jump to respond. Did I get a response? You know the answer to that one. Not one to give up easily, I next sent a cordial note to the head of PR for all of Apple figuring that person would at least have the courtesy to respond. Did I get a response? You know the answer.

Back to square one. Two days ago I called Apple’s customer service again and got someone who truly wanted to help. She got me to customer service for iTunes. The gentleman there said he would get back to me within 24 hours. Have I heard back? You know the answer.

Shame on Apple. Shame on Apple. Will the worm turn? Stay tuned.

Wendy Marx • Public Relations/Marketing Communications • President, Marx Communications, Inc. • wendy@marxcommunications.com

About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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