Apple founder Steve Jobs was known for frequently sending short-cut responses to emails from the public. One user emailed and asked if it will be possible to use Internet sharing from Iphone to Ipad – the answer came “no” and nothing more. A well-known example is when a user emailed asking why the mobile signal becomes weaker when holding his Iphone 4 in a certain way, and Steve Jobs warned: “Don’t hold it that way”.
Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ successor at the CEO post, has continued the tradition and over the years has often responded to emails from ordinary users. For example, the other day when MacWorld reader Lars Fransén sent a photo he took with his Iphone and a thank you to Tim and the entire staff at Apple for making it possible to take such pictures with anyone he has in his pocket.
A few hours later, a reply came from Tim Cook:
– Great! Thanks for sharing!
Lars Fransén could not enjoy the answer, and shared it on Facebook where he writes that the photo in question was taken at Kronoberg castle ruin in Växjö.
800 a day
There are no obvious rules to abide by if you write to Tim Cook and hope for answers. In an interview with ABC, he said that he receives around 700-800 emails a day and reads “a majority” of them. He also revealed that he wakes up just before 4 in the morning and likes to go through user comments before he goes to the gym (unlike some business executives who claim to manage with just a few hours of sleep, Tim Cook told him he’s trying to get seven hours of sleep each night).
As in Steve Jobs’s time, most people expect his inbox to be screened by assistants and that some emails are forwarded to be answered by others other than Tim Cook himself. But some are passed on to Tim himself, and on some of these he chooses to respond. How many people actually make a case and email him is unknown. Quiet Apple would never release statistics of that kind.
Unlike Steve Jobs, Tim Cook seems incapable of addressing sarcasm and we find no examples of snarky responses of the kind the Apple founder sometimes sent.
A question on the question-and-answer site Quora has a long line of answers with examples of how e-mails to Tim Cook have been answered in different ways. Sometimes it has not been in the form of an email – some have written about frustrating support issues and soon been called by Apple staff. For example, a Russian user writes that Apple does not normally ship to his home town and after many trips with the support, he wrote to Tim Cook, shortly thereafter being called with the message that they could send his entire order directly home to the apartment.
It seems that emails to Tim Cook that should really be directed to Apple support are forwarded there, sometimes directly to someone higher up in the support chain who can help with more difficult problems. Several users have reported how the mess with service in stores and service centers has been rectified after an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For example, a user in India talks about the annoyance of not getting help from Apple Care, and the next day a person from Apple in Ireland calls and apologizes. The next day he got his Apple Watch repaired.
Many users write only to thank for different products. This is especially true of Apple Watch – Apple has even made a long commercial of some of the often personal letters that tell it. Even shorter thank you emails have many times been answered by Tim Cook.
But of course there are also stories from those who have not received answers, and it is about all sorts of questions and comments.
Then you increase the probability of getting answers
Most people who have received a reply from Tim Cook have kept a nice tone in their own e-mails, have had a specific point in e-mail, and have been reasonably brief. Some have received answers to really lengthy publications, but even then they have been about something specific and not general thoughts or complaints.
Stick to the important thing, is our recommendation. Neither gory and gasping nor lubricating teaches to attract answers. Sincerity and respect are key words, whether it is something positive or negative. And stick to one topic at a time.