Sunday, October 08, 2006

Apple Pro Care: A Tale of Two Cities

I bought two MacBook Pros about three weeks ago. When I picked them up with the colleague that was going to be using the other machine, we joked that one of the machines was probably a lemon. Sure enough, mine turned out to be the lemon. The first problem I noticed was the track pad just would not work properly. I tried tweaking the track pad settings but to know avail. Since I needed to get on the road for a few weeks and I needed the machine I packed a USB mouse and decided to live with the problem until I got to somewhere for enough time to bring the machine in to get it repaired. In the mid point of my trip, on a Saturday, I ended up in San Francisco and what better place to get my system repaired then the San Francisco Apple store. I thought how long could it take to repair a track pad. The genius at the bar told me it would probably take 24 hours. The timing was good since my conference didn't start until Sunday night and by his estimate I'd have it by 3pm on Sunday. Perfect. Well 24+5 hours later they finally called me, it turned out when they started working on the machine they discovered that there were errors on the drive. They would have to copy my data, reformat the drive, and copy my data back. It would be ready by sometime Monday afternoon. I've done that kind of repair on my mac before and I figured that was reasonable. If I had another drive and my install disks I could have done that myself but they were all back in New Jersey. So I decided to let the tech do his job and let him get it to me on Monday. Two days later and after three trips to the apple store to find out why it was taking so long, I finally got the machine back. The track pad was fixed and it seemed the machine was more responsive. When I got home I noticed that the keyboard was not properly seated and that the hard drive was acting up again. This was really starting to suck. So I backed up the machine and took it down to my local Apple store in Menlo Park Mall. The tech there reviewed my case and couldn't really understand why the SF store took so long to deal with my problem. He figured the hard drive was really defective and it should be replaced. He went into the back of the store and checked his inventory. He came back with some bad news. They didn't have the part and it would be some time to get a new one in stock to fix my machine. It would take three days to get the part and get the machine back to me. However in reviewing my recent Pro Care "experience" he said his manager agreed to let him extend a complete machine replacement. In a half an hour I walked out with a brand new machine and tonight I'm back up and running. This was an ordeal. I don't know why the SF Apple store took 4 days to get my machine back to me but I am sure glad my local Menlo Park store tech took the initiative and completely changed the experience for the better. The guys a Menlo Park are fantastic. I've written about them before and they deserve to be recognized again. They could teach the rest of the Apple Store organization a thing or two about customer service.

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