CNN Tech writer Mark Milian has written an e-book about Steve Jobs based on his email correspondence. It covers the way Jobs was involved in customer service–so much so that he responded to his company email (email@example.com). You can read an article based on the e-book here, but it’s really fun to skim the thread at the MacNN forum about whether Jobs really read his email or not.
Posters claimed their own experiences with Jobs via email or phone. Here’s one forum member’s account:
Once, I had a Ti 550 that was in repair for 10 weeks from a backordered part, with no end in sight. I emailed him, and in a courteous manner, explained the problem. I also explained the computers that I have owned and that I was a loyal customer.
I got a call the next day, from a Customer Service guy. He was very apologetic, and to my surprise, the computer was shipped back the next day. At the end of the call, he said ‘I’ve got somebody here who wants to talk to you’.
SJ: Hi Scott, this is Steve.
Me: Steve JOBS?
Me: OMG, I can’t believe it.
SJ: *laughs* I just wanted to tell you that I got your email. I just wanted to apoligize for your incredibly long wait. It’s really nobody’s fault, it’s just one of those things.
Me: Yeah, I understand.
SJ: I personally put through a expedition on the repair. It should ship tomorrow.
Me: Wow! Thanks.
SJ: No problem. I also wanted to thank you for your support of Apple.
Me: Well, when there’s a outrageously superior product…..
SJ: *laughs* Well, I see how much equipment you own. It really makes my day to see someone who enjoys our products so much, and who supports us in the good times, and bad.
Me: Well, it certainly is a pleasure to do so.
SJ: Well, I need to be going if there’s nothing else you need.
Me: No. It certainly has been cool talking to you, and thanks for the help with the repair.
SJ: It’s nice talking with you. Have a great day.
Me: You, too.
That’s true. I really did get to talk to him.
Then there was another forum member, Chris Utley, who posted this:
Okay, look here… I was telling a friend about this thread last night, and even my friend thought I was nuts. So we made a wager, the results follow. Could I fake something like this? Yup. Did I fake it? Nope.
So to my friend, all I can say is thanks for the extra cash – I’ll be applying it to the purchase of that sweet Brenthaven bag for my 17″ PB. To the skeptics in this forum, all I can say is Steve Jobs is a bright guy. Don’t you think he can read his own email? If you had to guess the name of a CEO that reads and replies to his own email, wouldn’t Steve be a natural guess? Think Different, people.
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Date: Wed, 05 Mar 2003 07:30:05 -0800
From: Steve Jobs
Subject: Re: Help me, Steve.
To: Christopher Utley
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Yep, I read ‘em.
All the best,
On Tuesday, March 4, 2003, at 11:35 PM, Christopher Utley wrote:
Steve, you have replied to me a couple times over the years, when I
pointed out some opportunities for Apple to improve a process or two.
In both cases you promptly resolved the issues, which in an age of
declining customer service is greatly appreciated. I’ve been an Apple
customer since the Apple II+, AND I voted for you in the Forbes CEO
survey, so let’s just say I’m calling in a favor.
Would you please reply in the affirmative that you do in fact read your
email and sometimes respond directly? Let’s just say I have a pending
wager on this matter, and should you reply I’ll use the proceeds to
snatch up one of those 17″ PowerBooks. It’s a win-win!
To read Millan’s e-book, go here.