Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Good, the Bad . . . and the Snuggly!

Several readers of The White Rhino Report have asked for details of how I ended up losing my iPhone on the streets of New York. Here is the tale.

The Good

No human beings or white rhinos were harmed during the filming of the events described below. I am safe and healthy.

The Bad

Last Friday, my travels began with a breakfast meeting in Manhattan, followed by a lunch meeting in Philadelphia and a dinner meeting, also in Philadelphia. I needed to be back in Boston for some engagements on Saturday, and train and plane schedules were not conducive to my getting home on time. So, I chose to take a bus from Philadelphia to New York, and a “red eye” bus from NYC to Boston.

My bus to NYC left Philadelphia at 10:00 PM. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees in the Bronx, and I was monitoring the score periodically on my iPhone on the bus. We pulled into Chinatown around 12:30 Saturday morning, and the game – an instant classic – was still scoreless in the 14th inning. I needed to go by subway from Chinatown to the Port Authority. I was reluctant to go underground and lose cell phone connectivity until I learned if the Red Sox had survived the bottom of the 14th inning. So, I stood near the entrance to the F train, my suitcase and laptop on the sidewalk beside me and my cell phone in my hand, proudly wearing my Red Sox cap. A street-wise young “gentleman” rounded the corner, quickly sized up the situation, karate chopped my forearm, grabbed my iPhone – now his iPhone! - and then “Sprinted” away into the night. For a few seconds, I was too shocked to realize what had happened.

I soon learned that within moments of the theft of my phone - and the disruption of the karmic connection I had worked hard to maintain between myself and my team playing a few miles away across the East River – A-Rod hit a 2-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 15th inning. Coincidence? You decide.

The Snuggly

My personal and professional lives demand that I be in almost constant real time telephone and e-mail communication with a wide variety of family, frineds and business connections. Losing my iPhone cut me off and left me in communicado. How frustrating. So, my first stop on Saturday when I returned to Boston was at the AT&T store in Boston where I had bought the phone a few months ago. The level of customer service I received over the next few days from Yesenia Fajardo prompted me to write a letter of commendation to AT&T. Here is what I said:


Great customer service is such a rare commodity, that whenever I encounter it, I try to take the time to acknowledge it. I thought that you should be aware of what an asset Yesenia Fajardo is to AT&T.

This past Friday night in NYC, my iPhone was stolen, leaving me completely in communicado. When I returned to Boston on Saturday, I came to the Boylston St. location where I had purchased the phone, and I was greeted by Yesenia, who asked me how she could help.

Here is a list of all the things she did "right" in responding to my complex set of needs.

1) She was warm and professional in her initial greeting.

2) She really listened to my problem and went well beyond the normal level of customer service in helping me to solve the problem.

3) When she explained to me that my replacement coverage did not include coverage for theft, she suggested I try talking to the people at the Apple store to see if they could be of help in replacing my iPhone.

They were not able to help, and I am not in a position to pay full price for a replacement iPhone at the moment, yet I could not be without cell phone coverage for business and personal use. I realized that I had a Blackberry that had been sitting in a drawer. Over the weekend I tried charging the phone, but without success. So, I returned this morning to the store.

4) As soon as I walked in, Yesenia recognized me and remembered what my problem was.

5) When her attempts at recharging the phone also failed, she sent me to Radio Shack to get a replacement battery.

6) With a new battery having been installed, I returned to the AT&T store, and Yesenia set me up with a new SIM Card, solved the problem of setting up a new voicemail account on my phone, synched my e-mail and made sure that everything was working properly before sending me on my way.

7) During the course of the morning, there were several times when she was on hold with AT&T customer service. During those times, she asked me about my business and generally did everything in her power to understand my needs and profile as a customer.

AT&T sometimes is accused of being a large and impersonal corporate behemoth. You should be aware that Yesenia puts a human face on the corporation and is a tremendous asset to your store and to the company as a whole.

By her extraordinary level of caring and customer service, Yesenia turned what had been a very frustrating experience for me into one that I am proud to share with you.

If you have need of any AT&T products or services and live in the Boston area, contact Yesenia and she will help you. She works on commission, so reward her great service with your business. The store is located at 647 Boylston St. in Boston’s Back Bay between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets. Her direct phone number is (617) 217-1953. Be sure to tell her that The White Rhino sent you!

All’s well that ends well.

Thanks, Yesenia!

Go Sox!



Mark Sohmer said...

I'm just glad you weren't hurt, Al.



Jonathan said...

Seems like the Apple "Find my iPhone" service might have been helpful...