My laptop needs to be repaired. Nothng major, but does mean I’ll be without it for a few days. Appointment made, part ordered, and we’re good to go. The only problem is that when I show up at the Apple store, I’m told the appointment has been cancelled. No notice, just cancelled. No phone call, no voice mail, no email, just cancelled.
‘We’re sorry’ they say. ‘We’ll order the part again and set up a new appointment’ they say.
The thing they miss out on is the time and emotional labour cost. To them, it is a part and service slot. They will slot me into a new one. There is no problem for them. I’m a widget in their factory. However, for me, it is completely dfferent. I made arrangements to use a different machine when mine was in the ‘shop’. I took time out of my day, out of my kids summer holidays, to drive to the shop for the appointment. The time I wasted could have been used for other pressing tasks needing to be done.
But they had no way to engage with that. No empathy. ‘We’ll set up a new appointment so you can do it all again.’
This is not just a challenge for Apple. It is a challenge for all of us who serve others. When things go wrong (and they do and will), how will we empathise and do the emotional labour to understand the impact it has on those we impact? Too often all we focus on is the task, we forget that there is a lot more going on than the task, the appointment, and so on.
Rarely is it done well. Perhaps this is a way to set yourself, your team, your organisation apart from the others?