Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

Apple Customer Service

I recently had a problem with my Macbook - it just wasn't powering-on.

On Sunday I took it into the Apple store, where I'd bought it less than a year ago. Now, I'd expect in any store with decent customer service (for example, the nearby John Lewis, which also sells Macs), somebody to say "Oh, right, I see, it just isn't powering on. I see it's in warranty. We'll get that fixed for you."

In the Apple store, the "Concierge" intercepted me, told me I needed to have an appointment to talk to one of their "Geniuses"¹, and there were none available that day. So, to get my obviously broken machine fixed, I had to live without a working Macbook for another few days, then inconvenience myself to be in town for 6pm today (the earliest they could manage an appointment outside normal working hours). That involved leaving the office at 4:30 and finding somewhere quiet near the town centre to be on a work conference call I had between 5pm and 6pm. (First attempt, coffee shop that then closed at 5pm, second attempt, bench on Christ's Pieces sufficiently far away from drunks, teenagers and busses to be quiet).

¹ The job title for their tech support staff meant I was tempted to administer a timed IQ test, or at least ask the specifics of something like soft real-time kernel thread scheduling in OS X.

The "Genius" took a few minutes to determine that my Mac wouldn't boot, even with power, even after the battery was removed and reinserted, even if a variety of arcane CMD-foo key sequences were tried. He then took my details and said words to the effect of "Oh, right, I see, it just isn't powering on. I see it's in warranty. We'll get that fixed for you", took my Macbook, gave me a receipt and said it'd be 7 to 10 days to fix.

Unfortunately, because he was the one in front of me, he got my complaints about Apple's customer service system that meant I'd been inconvenienced and the repair had been delayed. (Though I did make it very clear I had no problem at all with the service he personally provided). The official option is apparently to find Apple's website and whinge there, which I'll do, but I thought I'd treat my LJ readers to my complaints. Aren't you lucky?

If I'm being fair, I should first admit the "concierge" did offer me the option of just leaving my laptop there on Sunday, but was extremely discouraging about it, suggesting that it'd be fixed much more quickly if I came in. I also understand why Apple have a policy of recommending personal tech support, I'm sure that 90% of problems are down to user error and can be fixed by somebody who knows what they're doing having a look. However, in this case the problem was fairly obvious. It would seem reasonable if they could have one of their techies available to triage problems to determine whether something was obviously bust or more complicated in some way before recommending that people go out of their way to come in to the store and waste their own and the staff's time.
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