Strike one for Apple. Late Friday afternoon I knew that my copy of Leopard wasn't going to arrive on the 26th as stated on the sales order, so I decided it was time to try and get as much detail as I could. When I had spoken with a sales rep fromt eh Apple Store online earlier in the day, they didn't know what the status on the order was, just that it hadn't been prepared for processing yet. Since the order page still had not been updated, I decided to call in again. The Agent I spoke with this time was clearly a little more flustered than the Agent I spoke with in the morning, and after talking with her for a few minutes, it became clear why.
I was definitely NOT the only person calling about the status of the order.
Unfortunatly, this second Agent had no better information to give other than "it hasn't shipped and I cannot tell you why, but we're working as fast as we can to rectify the problem and get the product shipped." Not being satisfied with this response, I asked who I could speak with to try to get more information. The Agent transferred me to Corporate Customer Relations and gave me the number. After about 10 minutes on hold, I finally spoke with the CR Agent and took a little different tactic with my concern. Honestly, I wasn't terribly put out that I wouldn't get my copy of Leopard on the 26th as advertised, but I was a little more than frustrated that the party line was "we don't know what's going on." I explained to the CR Agent that if I had been able to get some concrete information about the order the first time I called, I could have A) altered my schedule so I wasn't sitting at the office all day waiting on a package that was not coming, and B) made arrangements to head down to an Apple Store locally to be ready for the Launch Party that started at 6pm and get my copy of Leopard there. But knowing at 4pm that the product wasn't going to even ship by the 26th didn't help at all. All in all, I waited aout 30 minutes on hold with the CR Agent as he dug around trying to get any information that he could. That's when I knew for sure that it wasn't a party line I was being fed. No one had any clue what was going on. Finally, the CR Agent came back and said that he was able to find someone who would be able to get me some additional information, and ironically it was someone within the Apple Busines Agent program. So I hung up with the CR Agent and called my ABA contact who, I was told, would be able to provide additional information.
She was able to tell me definitively that my order, along with a number of others, was not going to ship in time to arrive on the 26th or even ship on the 26th. But that was it. Nothing like "we didn't have enough product to cover the number of orders that came in through the online store" or "we put all the media in the retail outlets and online orders will get shipped when additional stock arrives." In fact, other than confirming that my order wasn't going to ship on the 26th, she was as in the dark as anyone else. I reiterated my main concern, which was that the lack of information kept me from being able to make necessary business decisions (like passing on a couple of local support jobs because I couldn't leave the office in case the package had actually been shipped), and that if Apple is going to make claims about product being delivered on the day of the launch to users who placed orders on the site, that they really better be able to stand behind those claims. She got the message.
Now I have to say that ay no point in any of these calls did I ever lose my temper or even raise my voice. I've worked on the other end of support lines for too long to "lose it" with any phone agent. My years in support management have taught me that receiving negative feedback in a constructive manner is just as important as receiving positive feedback, and since most of the time people who are unhappy with a service provider will tell everyone they know EXCEPT the service provider, when I have an opportunity to share negative feedback, I not only do so, but I try to get to someone at the management level and deliver the info in the same way I wanted to receive it myself.
When I did finally get home last night (I did work a few remote calls before leaving the office), I checked my order status at the Apple Store again. Still says "Delivers on October 26th." This morning I got up and, out of curiosity, checked the order status again. And it's been updated! Now instead of a status of "Not Shipped" and "Delivers on October 26th" I have a status of "Prepared for shipment" and "Ships by October 29 - October 30." Now that's useful information. That tells me that if I wait for the online order to process, I won't get Leopard until at least mid-week. So now I have the opportunity to try to find a copy at the local Fry's or the Apple Store that's closest to the house. CompUSA is already sold out of their stock, and they were offering a $30 mail-in rebate. Fry's is closer, and opens earlier, so I'll try there first, and head to the Apple Store as the last resort. So there might be updated Mac Connectivity docs this weekend after all. then again, this might be a sign that I need to take the weekend off. We'll see...