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a bruised apple no more

January 23

When I started this blog I committed to myself that I would try and post a couple of times a week, giving myself leave when life gets in the way. Well I was forced to take leave these past couple of weeks as my Apple MacBook’s hard drive fried after three and a half years of faithful service. You think this is one of those things that only happens to other people, but alas when my dear sister-in-law was so kindly walking me through options and maneuvers to start my frozen Mac as she read them to me from the Mac website, over the phone, I started getting the sinking feeling that this Apple was no longer an apple, but was now toast.

* the tribulation begins *

When a somewhat ominous error message appeared while attempting to reload the operating system, I decided it was time to take my computer into the Apple store at the Toronto Eaton Centre, for a Genius to take a look at it. My worst computing fears were realized, with a call the next day, eventually informing me that the hard drive was failing. But that message was preceded by some rather peculiar customer service, quite unexpectedly from the generally exemplary Apple.

The perky woman who made the initial call to me (actually what ended up being the only call to me) proudly announced my Mac was ready for pick up. Really? It was now working, no problem with the hard drive? ‘No no, you only dropped it off to replace the face plate’ (an unexpected side benefit to taking it to the Apple store was discovering that they would replace the cracked and splintered face plate free of charge, despite being off of warranty, as it is a known manufacturing defect in this model). Great, they had replaced the plate, but Ms. Perky came back on the phone and announced, sorry, but the hard drive has to be replaced. She quoted me a price but quickly followed that up with ‘oh but you can get it done for a lot less elsewhere’. Really? Don’t you want my business?

So I spent my lunch hour calling around to a number of Apple authorized service centres in Toronto, and resolved that my time was worth more than the savings of dropping it off elsewhere, so I called the Apple store back and requested that they replace the hard drive. I was informed that it would take three to five days. Fine. So be it.

* it gets worse *

Well seven days later I found it odd I had not received a call informing me that my now repaired MacBook was ready for pick up. Placing a call to the store, and after the queue of more than eight callers dwindled, I finally connected with a male Genius (really, that is what they call their staff). After asking him if the hard drive had been replaced yet as it had been longer than the quoted three to five days, he somewhat snarkily stated it was probably due to the post Christmas backlog. Really? When he went to check the status he came back saying it was ready. Why didn’t I get a call? ‘They probably tried calling but didn’t leave a message when they didn’t reach me’, he stated with his so very engaging tone. Again, really? I think I’d know if they had tried calling, given a  feature called call display on both numbers they had on file for me.

Being a marketing professional, customer service is high on my list of priorities and I thought I’d provide the courtesy of informing management at the store of my less than impressive experiences on the phone, when I went to pick up my computer that evening. After telling my story to a very welcoming and understanding associate named Andrea, she called on a coworker to get my computer. When he reappeared with my computer, it quickly became apparent the hard drive had not been replaced, just the face plate, which was the status a week earlier. Without me having the chance to count to 10, they quickly arranged to have the hard drive replaced within 45 minutes, and promised (on my request) to speak to the manager about a discount.

* the happy ending *

During my saunter around the mall in that three-quarters of an hour, I had already planned to blog about my experience, the bad and the good, as I was confident that Apple would come through with a discount that would help to off set the customer service challenges I had faced. I returned in the agreed upon time to find my computer finally repaired. The Genius who handed me my computer announced that Andrea did speak to the manager on my behalf and about my plight, but alas Apple does not give discounts. Hmmm. Really…ok…? Waiting for an offer of a gift card of some small amount to use on a future purchase at the Apple store, he quickly blew me away and reinstated my positive impression of Apple’s service by stating that, since they don’t give discounts, they must give me my hard drive for FREE! Good work, Apple. Now that is exemplary customer service.

…I’m still in the process of setting up my computer again, and will be back blogging regularly soon. I hadn’t been completely diligent at backing up, I’m slowly reloading files and such from various sources. And I’m adding buying an external back-up drive to my resolutions.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. GLB permalink
    January 23 8:43 am

    There are many reasons Apple is doing so well. I really need to look at a Mac for my next computer!

    And automatic on-line back up is the way to go. MOZY sure got me out of a jam in 2009.

    http://peterforint.com/newsletters-for-business-owners-and-their-advisors/issue-4/surviving-computer-disasters/

  2. January 23 9:26 pm

    Wow, what a surprise ending! Good work, Apple.

  3. January 23 11:36 pm

    Thank goodness there was a happy ending!! The tricky thing about customer service is that a company is only as good as their front line staff.
    Good to have you back online, Susan!

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