Lesson Learned : Don’t Be The Cheapest

My new MacBook Air 13″ has finally arrived and is a gorgeous example of Apple’s design, but this is not about design.

I documented my horrendous dealings with MacMall and the amount of time wasted before finally giving them the boot once and for all.  I won’t go into the painful details of that ordeal but wanted to share my experience with Apple.

I ordered the MacBook Air directly from Apple on 8/23/2011.  The model I ordered included the upgraded processor (1.8Ghz i7) and therefore takes some extra time.  Apple indicates today the item ships in 1-3 business days and free shipping is 3-5 business days for delivery.

This is the Apple way:

  • They do a great job of setting my expectations and does the same with this order.
  • Order shipped on 8/25/2011, not a full 48 hrs after placing the order.  Beating the expectations they set of at most 3 days.
  • Shipment confirmation gave a delivery estimate of 8/31/2011 but actually delivered on 8/29/2011, a full 2 days before their estimate.

Apple is not performing any magic, they give estimates out beyond what it takes to deliver.  This gives them some buffer for problems out of their control and also makes the customer extremely happy when the product is delivered *before* the estimate.

I decided to originally purchase from MacMall because their prices were cheaper and I would not have to pay CT sales tax.  The savings turned out to not be worth the hassle.  MacMall can take a lesson from Apple and provide delivery guidelines within their control and ones customers can live with.  This would make for happier customers and ultimately make the job of the MacMall customer service reps a lot easier.

It’s really easy and natural to simply chose something based on price but sometimes it’s not worth what you’re giving up.  As a business owner we sometimes think we need to compete based on price, be the cheapest and the customers will be ours.  When we venture down that path, we sell ourselves out and find out too late this was not the right path and probably too late to raise prices back up.

Apple doesn’t play into the retail game, they charge a price they want and don’t discount it.  They balance this will providing good, reliable service.

Lesson learned.

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