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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In praise of Apple support

Last fall, I detailed my experiences with Apple Support, which were initially confusing and painful, though Apple quickly made up for it and really showed up.

Shortly after getting my MacBook back from Apple, I started getting optical drive errors each time I booted up a virtual machine in Parallels Desktop, but I figured it was a configuration issue and didn't think much of it. Then, in December, inspired by an absolutely excellent Apple Web seminar on podcasting, I decided to reinstall GarageBand and check out its podcasting features. To do so, I inserted the one of the setup DVDs that Apple had provided with my MacBook.


It's like the SuperDrive in my MacBook was gone. The DVD never showed up in the Finder. I couldn't eject it with the keyboard's Eject button (and there's no pinhole ejector on a MacBook). The drive didn't show up in System Profiler.

I was in the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Massachusetts during the holidays for a rare trip to the suburban shopping experience and dropped into the Apple Store there to ask about the issue. I was told that it should be easy to fix--either a loose connector or a bad drive--and to make an appointment whenever I wanted to get it done. The guy I spoke to at the Genius Bar was friendly, helpful, and seemed to know what he was talking about.

I waited on the fix because the holidays are busy and I had a photo book and 2007 family calendar I wanted to create in iPhoto, and was worried that the machine might be away for a while. Yesterday morning, however, I finally made an appointment at the store via the online Concierge form for 3:00 pm that day. I showed up a few minutes early and was amused to see my name on the LCD screens behind the Genius Bar. Nice touch, that.

Apple retail stores, of course, are amazing. Thanks to the success of the iPod, they're usually teeming with people, and they present a nice array of products to browse in a Spartan, well-lit environment. It's nerdvana for guys like me. It just is.

Anyway, a guy named Paul at Apple Store South Shore was on the case. As with the previous gentlemen who had spoken with me before Christmas, Paul was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Actually, he was personable as well, and really went out of his way to explain every wait (none of which were problematic), and he had the same ideas about the machine's problem. After a quick check at the Genius Bar, he asked me if I had a few minutes. If it was just a loose connection, he'd fix it right then.

Gee, I wonder who I'd kill ten minutes in an Apple Store? Oh, wait. No problem, I told him. Maybe I'll spend a couple of hundred bucks while you're gone.

He came back in a few minutes, apologized that it wasn't a loose connection, and told me he'd have to replace the drive. This could take 3-5 days, he said, because they didn't have the part on hand, but it could be a lot less. We filled out some paperwork and off I went.

I'm going away for the weekend, so I wasn't too concerned about the wait. Furthermore, I got a vibe from this guy that it wasn't going to take that long anyway. Sure enough, at 9:00 am this morning, Paul called. The MacBook was done he said. Unbelievable.

So I'll be running over there to pick it up this afternoon, but I just have to say... and I would have written this today regardless of how long the repair took... my God. This is exactly what the phrase "customer service" is supposed to connote. My experiences at the Apple Store South Shore, and with Paul specifically, were hugely and totally positive. Absolutely stellar.

[ Posted at 9:34 AM | Permalink ]


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