Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Apple Genius Support

Today I am going to tackle a tech topic that is frequently overlooked. Everyone has computer issues from time to time and need assistance from the vendor. The question is how well does the vendor respond?

My Airport Extreme base station stopped working preventing me from using AirDisk to backup my laptop. I first tried switching out the hard drive with another one and it wouldn't mount. Next I took the drive that was in the Airport and plugged it into my laptop and it did work. So I was able to determine it was likely the USB port.

I dropped by the Apple Store and asked if a Genius could take a look. Unfortunately that store was full for the day but they scheduled me an appointment later in the day at another Apple Store in town. So I returned later to the other store and explained to the Genius everything I had done on my own to diagnose and he said sounds like a dead USB port to us as well. I had already tried everything they would of tried.

So he took my Airport went to his computer and started processing the replacement request. The good news while I have had the Airport for a couple of years they were going to replace it free of charge. I fortunately have Apple Care on my laptop which extends coverage to all Apple Monitors and Apple peripherals while the laptop or desktop is covered.

The good news was Apple was replacing my hobbled Airport, the bad news they didn't have my model in stock and it would be a couple of days. I asked the Genius if there was anything he could do, without my Airport my phones at home don't work more than one laptop can't easily be connected to the network etc. He suggested buying a new unit and just return it in a couple of days when mine comes in. I told him I didn't care for the solution because it just felt wrong to me to do that. It costs me money up front and when I return it Apple has to refurbish it and sell it for less money. So he said he would see what else he can come up with.

A few minutes later after talking to the manager he came back and said he would just give me the newer model to replace my older model unit. He took one off the shelf unboxed it and traded me my old unit for a newer model unit.

This is not the first trip to the Apple Genius Bar where they have taken such good care of me. A few years ago my iPod died right before a trip out of town and it would be miserable to fly across country without my iPod to listen to on the trip. So the Genius saw I had a dead hard drive and that model was no longer stocked so they bummed me up to a newer model classic and sent me on my way.

I can't stress enough how beneficial the Apple Care warranties are to extend the warranty of any device you own from Apple and if you go in and stay calm and polite how willing the Apple staff is to make your experience as painless as possible and sometimes you only have to ask them to help you out and they can go that extra mile to make your experience a pleasant one.

The nicer you are to them the more likely they are to use that extra discretion Apple gives their employees to make you a happy customer.

I do recommend going on to http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/ and schedule a reservation so you can reduce your wait time when you go to the store.

Will Microsoft be able to offer this sort of experience with its retail stores when they start opening around the country? Tell me what you think here.