LuAnn Ezeonu’s son is a United States Marine deployed in Afghanistan. A year ago, before he left the country, he bought a laptop computer and an iPod from the Apple Store at the Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colo.
By the time he returned to the States, his electronics were in bad shape. Which is where today’s story of unbelievable customer service picks up: with Ezeonu’s son bringing the dented equipment back to Apple after his deployment.
“He returned from his first deployment with a computer and iPod that were dusty, sandy, beat up and the disk drive in the computer wasn’t working,” she remembers. “We took it to this same Apple store.”
Ezeonu’s son asked the technicians to fix the hard drive, nothing more. But they knew he was a Marine — they remembered him from his first visit a year ago when he bought both gadgets — and in talking with him, they also learned that he was about to return to Afghanistan.
“The techs at the store took the computer cleaned it, fixed the disk drive, got him a new charging cord and then took the iPod and cleaned it up also,” says Ezeonu.
“When we returned a couple hours later to pick up and pay, we were told that it was the least they could do in return for his service,” she says. “I was so touched I almost cried.”
When I heard her story, I almost did, too.
Here’s the thing: We talk a lot about how grateful we are to members of the armed services for the sacrifice they’ve made for our country, but so often, it’s just that — talk.
When it comes time to actually say “thank you” in a meaningful way, the “geniuses” at the Apple Store in Broomfield, Colo., did something. They went above and beyond their call of duty and they refused to take the Marine’s money.
I salute them. And I join them in thanking Ezeonu’s son for his service.
But that’s not all. The young man was so impressed by the actions of the Apple employees that day that he decided to give the company his business again. He spent his hard-earned money on a new iPhone.
“Because of the service and kindness of these Apple employees, they now have a life-long customer,” says Ezeonu.
Apple is this week’s recipient of the Elliott Award for Excellent Customer Service. Here’s wishing Ezeonu’s son all the best in his deployment and speedy, safe return.
If you’ve experienced excellent customer service recently, please let me know about it. We’re recognizing companies who go above and beyond the call of duty in a new weekly feature.