When it comes to buying big-ticket items, we’re all guilty of trying to find the lowest price at any expense. In fact, a lot of us use physical retail stores as a showroom and then eventually buy the item online. Maybe it’s to save on the sales tax or because there’s a more valuable coupon online than in store. But oftentimes, we do it without recognizing the customer service or added benefits we receive by buying offline.
(MacBook Pro. Image Courtesy of Apple)
I was faced with a similar situation today. I bought a new MacBook Pro laptop from Apple, as my current computer just celebrated its sixth birthday and sorely needed replacing. (In computer years, it would probably make my current computer 150 years old.)
Originally, I intended on buying the computer via Ebates.com, an online rebating service that receives money from retailers for referring customers. In my situation, Ebates would split this referral fee with me, amounting to 1% cash back on purchases in the Apple Store.
It would’ve been a straightforward online transaction, but I had questions I needed to ask Apple. I called Apple’s sales team and spoke to Byron, a Mac telesales expert. A quick question turned into two more questions. Then a few more questions turned into an hour-long conversation. Byron answered all of my questions, addressed my concerns, and made me feel comfortable about my purchase.
I ended up buying the computer from him over the phone, recognizing that I would lose out on the 1% Ebates cash back reward. On this $3,000 computer purchase, that would’ve been $30.
I have a certain friend who, when I tell her these types of money-saving stories, would call me cheap. I always tell my friends that a dollar is a dollar and we should be mindful of where each dollar goes. But in my case, I recognized the excellent service provided by Byron and felt that $30 opportunity cost was worth accepting.
So the long-winded answer to my own question is: good customer service is worth $30. At least in this situation.
Take the poll below and let me know how much you would be willing to pay for good customer service when making a purchase, all else about the item being equal.