The Good, The Bad and The Apple

Oy. My brand new MacBook died a couple of weeks ago. Or I should say, the hard drive died a very rapid and painful (to me) death. Evidently, I’m not the only one to whom this has happened.

Being that this computer was only purchased this past July, I took it to the Apple store thinking that I could drop it off without a problem. Well, that wasn’t necessarily the case. When I got there, I was told that I needed to speak with someone at the Genius Bar, their customer service desk. Being that I usuallly follow directions, I set off to the Genius Bar and waited for a “Genius”. As I was waiting, a what I thought to be a helpful employee told me that I needed to make an appointment to see a genius and escorted me to a brand new computer in their showroom.

After he logged me on to their “concierge” page, I was told to make an appointment. The next appointment that night was for 8:50 PM and it was only 6:15. Being that I knew what was wrong with the computer, I asked if I could just make arrangements to order a new hard drive. The helpful salesperson told me no, but then began questioning me as to whether I had Apple’s Pro Care. I told him that I didn’t and I was just interested in getting my computer fixed. At that point he told me that if I had this wonderful product I could get priority treatment in “Genius” appointments, computer repairs, get first class service and essentially become part of the Apple elite. After 5 or so minutes of this barrage, I turned to this guy and told him that it was my opinion that every customer should be treated well considering that people were spending a good amount of money on Apple products. The salesperson looked at me in such disbelief and told me that if that’s the way I thought, then I could just wait for an appointment just like everyone else. I then asked him, isn’t that what I would have to do anyway? He shook his head and walked away from me.

As this oh so helpful salesperson walked away, however, a “Genius” named Eli happened to be passing by (and perhaps overheard the conversation) and stopped to check out my computer. He brought it into the back to check it out and confirmed that the hard drive indeed was dead. He told me that I did need to wait for an appointment to get the part ordered. I told him that I would bring the computer back the next day as I could not wait until (now) at 9:10 appointment. He told me that I could make the appointment at any time the next day and gave me his card. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Eli was on his lunch hour.

Next day, I made an appointment at 7:00 AM for an appointment with the Genius at 6:30 PM. I arrived at the store at 6:20 and grabbed a stool at the Genius Bar and waited. During my wait, in which a 13 year old in a Catholic school uniform was whining about wanting a new MacBook to the resident genius, I was asked no less than 3 times if I had an appointment. Each time I pointed to my name on the board for a 6:30 appointment, but it made no difference, I didn’t exist until 6:30. In all fairness, the person who helped me at 6:30 was very nice and helpful, but it was a strange experience nonetheless. After it was determined (for the third time) that the hard drive was no longer spinning. I filled out the paperwork, left the computer and was on my way.

When you are given a service order at Apple, you’re given a couple ways to check on the repair status – online or calling in. I called in a few days later and the automatic system told me that the repair was complete. Fine. When I went to pick it up, however, I was told that the computer was not fixed as the hard drive had not come in yet. When I inquired as to why the system indicated that it was complete, a salesperson told me he didn’t know. Also fine. Until another salesperson tells me that just because the system says it’s completed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completed. It may just mean that the parts had been sent. I am amazed. I tell him so and ask him why would I, as the consumer, know that as this is the number I was given to check the status. He just looked at me and walked away. Luckily, another salesperson named Jonathon was more helpful and wanted to look into what was going on because if it happened to me, it might happen to other people. Jonathon consulted with Eli, the one who originally helped me. Eli went into the back and discovered that there some confusion and the wrong thing was fixed and they were still waiting for the hard drive to come in (why they don’t keep them in stock I don’t know). Fine.

I picked up the computer this past Thursday. It works like a dream.

I’m not too sure that this is HR related although there has to be something somewhere as I’m somewhat amazed that the level of customer service at the Burlingame Apple store. It just seems to swing from one extreme to the other.

Was I the ideal customer? Probably not, but I don’t think that I was particularly difficult. I knew that I had to wait my turn, I just wanted to understand what I needed to do to get my computer fixed and not be sold anything other than what I chose to buy.

People like Jonathon and Eli went above and beyond (particularly Eli, who was on his lunch hour) while the unnamed salespeople were the epitome of unacceptable customer service.

One Reply to “The Good, The Bad and The Apple”

  1. So….. you’re mad that you have to make an appointment? Do you take your car to the garage and just drive into the garage for a oil change, without an appointment? And they tried to sell you something? How dare they. :)
    My experiences have all been first class at my apple store. Making appointments online is easy, I have found their service people to be very knowledgeable and helpful. And in the end, your computer “works like a dream” (your words, not mine). Glad things worked out for you.
    PS: You could always buy a PC, and then… any tom, dick or harry could work on it. :))

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