Apple Crisis Could Have Been Averted

Since it’s release, Apple has been collecting location data on it’s users of the iPhone. This has been very worrisome to various users and privacy advocate groups. However, for a solid week, Apple has been denying that it tracks users locations at all. Finally, a security researcher released a data file that showed that the iPhone was in fact gathering location data. Apple released a list of 10 questions recently saying that the location data doesn’t store the physical location of iPhone users, but instead keeps a list of cell phone towers and Wifi hot spots around the user. It does this so the phone doesn’t have to listen for faint GPS signals from satellites. The fact that Apple took so long to release this report is a crisis, according to experts, that could have been averted had Apple been upfront about the usage, or lack thereof, of the location data. Immediately upon releasing their phones, they should have released a privacy policy making clear the exact usage of this data.

Apple also said in their statement that there is a software bug that stores the data the iPhones collect for up to a year, but this bug will be fixed on the next release to reduce the amount of time the data is stored. Instead of denying that the data file existed, Apple should have answered their customers’ concerns, even if they weren’t sure about all the details yet. Apple saying “I don’t know, but will update you soon” would have been better than lying to their savagely loyal customer base.

When asked why Apple chose to wait so long before they responded to the concerns, they had no comment. However, speaking to the New York Times, the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, said that they waited so long because they wanted to be sure about exactly what was going on instead of rushing its public relations. According to Jobs, something this technical takes time to isolate and determine if it is real, and what is going on. He says that a week is relatively quick for the technicality of the issue. He then said that it is an important issue, and took the time to write the response personally and with other top executives.

It looks like the issue with the iPhone 4 is that there is a spot on the phone that will cause reception issues when covered with a bare hand. However, Jobs said that there wasn’t an antenna problem that was in need of fixing, and gave out cases free of charge.
Although this incident seems to have had little effect on the popularity of the iPhone, or bother Apple’s devoted fans, experts say that they could learn from other companies such as Domino’s or Taco Bell about how to deal with public relations mistakes such as this. For example, when a video came out of a Domino’s employee doing disgusting things to the food was released, the employee was fired as was the co-worker who recorded him. Domino’s then released a statement apologizing and ensuring that they had sanitized their stores and would adopt a more rigorous hiring process.

Taco Bell, on the other hand, spent millions of dollars to counter a lawsuit that had been filed against them claiming that their taco meat wasn’t actually beef. The lawsuit was dropped. Taco Bell realized that its customers care less about nutrition and more about price and taste.

Apple’s customers care little about their location being tracked, because many features of the iPhone rely on it, such as getting directions to nearby stores or restaurants.

J. J. Gallager writes articles for the customer service courses online blog and produces solar iphone charger reviews. He has more than 10 years of C.R.M. working experience and trained a lot of small business customer care managers to deal with the top customer service software reviews.