Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why I buy Apple products

I bought my first MacBook in 2006 before leaving overseas to live in New Zealand. The purchase was an easy decision, and an even easier transition, as I had been using a school-supplied MacBook in my role as a grade 1 teacher at Waukee. I had found the computer easy to work with, quick running, and effortless to carry around, and making the decision to purchase one of my own was only natural.

Along with my MacBook, at that time I also owned a 3rd generation iPod, as well as an iPod nano for working out. The Nano I received free with the purchase of my MacBook, and the 3rd gen was a present from my parents from a previous Christmas.

I bought Apple products because they were new, innovative, well put-together, and durable. But I will continue to buy Apple products because of the superior customer service they provide. My recent trips to the Apple Store this summer only confirmed that, and if, after this story, you're not sold on owning your own, then I'm going to go ahead and call you silly.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Apple's service policy, a quick tutelage: All Apple products are automatically covered under Apple's Protection plan for one year after the date of purchase, and additional AppleCare can be purchased for up to two years afterwards, giving your electronics a fix-it life of three years (which, in this day in age, is a heap of time). When a product is broken, defective, or running funnily, and still under warranty, Apple will gladly fix, replace, or fiddle with it until the problem is fixed. No questions asked, free of charge, and with very, very, very little hassle.

When I bought my first MacBook and got it home, I immediately experienced issues with the camera turning on and off without my doing so. I dropped back into the Apple store, and within hours, had a brand-new-brand-new computer that worked just as it should. Similarly (and more fortunately) only a week after purchasing my (very expensive) Japanese iPhone, and consequently after a night out with Rachel that included her spilling more than one drink on me and my new toy, I took my slightly battered phone down to the Nagoya store, pled the 5th, and, within an hour, had a brand-new, perfectly working phone, as well as a data transfer to make sure the settings were exactly as I had left them on the original. In both of these situations I paid nary a cent for either replacement, repair, or time spent. The appointment, fix-it, and new products were completely free of charge, and the people (both in Nagoya and Des Moines) who did the work served me knowledgeably, pleasantly, and very, very quickly.

But, like I said, nothing tops the customer service I received just last week. It's the reason I do, and will continue to, support Apple.

When I came home this summer, I quickly spent a small fortune on a new MacBook Air, a light and peppy little piece of work weighing only 3 pounds and perfect for the can't-be-bothered traveler. I had decided to treat myself to a new computer when, a) I couldn't be bothered to carry the 7-pound original through airports anymore, b) the 'h' key had fallen off of it, c) the mouse clicker didn't work either, and d) it was a year off of warranty (plus, I figured four years with one computer was plenty, thank you very much). So, I made an effortless and easy purchase of the Air, and have been in love ever since.

Along with my Air came a 1:1 service plan, which included complete data transfer by a Genius expert. When it came time for said data transfer, I dutifully dropped off both my old Mac and my new, and left them in the hands of a lovely Macboy with the promise that the data would be transferred within 24 hours. It was, and I picked up both computers gladly and thankfully, expressing how constantly impressed I was with Mac's superior customer service.

When I got home, though, I had trouble. I turned on my Air, which was fine, but my old MacBook refused to start. I had planned on letting Nik use it for the rest of the summer, as well as using it as a back up and an additional CD drive, but it wasn't cooperating with starting up, or even pretending that it knew me. A year ago this wouldn't have bothered me, but as the old Mac had been off warranty for a year, I knew that if it was going down, there wouldn't be anything I could do about it that probably wouldn't cost me a few hundred bucks. But, since the computer began having these problems AFTER the data transfer, I figured I had a good leg to stand on when I took it back in.

R, my Mac pro the next day at the Genius Bar, assessed the situation before looking at me sadly and said, 'Your hard drive has gone.' I replied, 'But, it was working fine when I brought it in the other day,' to which he replied, 'Yes, but sometimes these things happen.' Trying not to look too sad and forlorn at him, I instead looked longingly at my old friend and began lamenting it's untimely death when R replied, 'Well, luckily, I think I can replace the hard drive for you quite easily.' I quickly looked up, big-eyed, and truthfully (because Karma counts) replied, "But, I'm not under warranty on it any more." He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Eh, no big deal." I was ecstatic, and he began the quick replacement of the hard drive. After 5 minutes, he handed me back my computer, new hard drive in tact, and asked me to wait a moment to fill out some paper work. Then, we hit roadblock number 2. R noticed the broken hard drive he had just taken out of my computer (and was getting ready to send in to Apple for defective product inventory) was not actually a Mac hard drive (a co-worker in Japan had replaced it for me earlier this year in lieu of a generic brand with more storage space). R looked at me and said, "This isn't an Apple hard drive, and I actually can't replace it for you," meaning that he would have to re-remove the new hard drive he had just put in, and replace it with my dead one. But, after giving it a moment's notice, he instead replied, "Well, I'll pretend I didn't notice.' Nice!

He gives me instructions on how to take it home and reinstall everything from an external hard drive that I owned, which I promptly did. I had no issues whatsoever, except that Itunes, although recognizing my entire music library, would not open for lack of proper updates. Just to be safe, I made a third appointment with Apple the next day, and again, walked it in. R gave me a big smile, welcomed me back, and asked what was up. I showed him the iTunes error box, and he said, "We simply need to run an update. No worries. Come back in a half-hour, and it will be done." Earlier that day, my 'h' key had fallen completely off, and before handing it off, I warned him to be cautious of it. He looked at me and stated, "Why don't we just replace the top case for you? It'll fix the 'h' and the mouse, all at once." I quickly looked up, big-eyed, and truthfully (because Karma counts) replied, "But, I'm not under warranty on it any more." He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Eh, no big deal." So he sent the computer to the back for updates and a new top case.

When I came back three hours later to pick it up, he had replaced the battery as well

New MacBook Air: $2000
Three trips into the Mac store: 4 hours of time
Having half of your old computer replaced with no hesitations, hassles, questions, or worries: priceless.

So, why do I buy Apple products? Because if customer service counts as currency, they are worth every single cent.

1 comment:

craveVSworld said...

Being an Aomori resident, of course I thought you were referring to 'ringo.'

Keep up the fun posts Wendy!