Monday, April 20, 2015

My (Positive) Apple Retail Repair Experience

I switched to Apple machines several years ago, and have been very happy with them generally.

One convenience is there is an Apple store in the mall about 10 minutes from my home, so when things go wrong, I know where to go.  Thursday night a screen-related hardware glitch developed (which, to be clear, in this case was not what I would call a product defect;  let's say it was a me defect).  I ran over and they said it would probably need to be taken in for a repair.

Not being ready to hand over machine just yet, I went home to pull off some data, and then booked an appointment.  The downside to the Apple store is you really need to book an appointment online, even for (or especially for) things involving repair.  My walk-in Thursday I didn't even get up to the Genius Bar; one of the people up front just suggested what they thought was going on.  And my Apple store, at least, is painfully busy, all the time.  I got an appointment for Saturday afternoon, nothing available Friday.  I went in Friday morning before heading to work on the off chance I could get it in then;  they said the walk-in waiting time was 90 minutes to 2 hours.  I should have expected;  the walk-in waiting time always seems to be measured in hours.

That's the downside.  The positive is, when you have an appointment, they are great.  I had no wait when I went in Saturday, and in the past, if they're running behind, they've let me know if I have to wait for my appointment and estimated for how long.  They are courteous and professional.  They will let you know what they are doing as they test your machine, what needs to be done, and provide estimates for how long it will take.  Their setup really engenders trust.  I also have found their repair times reasonable and understandable.  My machine is back to me and all is well Monday afternoon.  (Thank you, Apple Store.) 

I haven't had to deal with them often over the last decade -- I'd say a reasonable number of times considering the number of Apple machines I've had and in family use.  Overall this experience is typical.  There's anxiety in going in for any sort of repair process, but they did an excellent job.

Finally, I imagine this is not useful advice to people reading this blog, but do back up your data regularly and/or automatically.  One of the first questions they always ask is whether you have a backup, and it's always a good feeling to know that if worst comes to worst you just put your state on a new machine.  Someone else at the Genius Bar while I was there had their computer put back in working order but their data was lost;  they weren't the sort of user that it was a real problem, but the occasional reminder that backups are important is always helpful.



Micha said...

So, basically, you're saying that if you pay your device four-fold, you can expect people smiling at you when you have a problem. Sure, when money is not a problem, it's easier to adhere to Apple's views—from closed software to arbitrary hardware restrictions.

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

I would agree with you that Apple products are expensive, and individual users would have to decide if the price is worth it for them. As part of that price, though, it's indeed useful to have people who will actually help you if you have a problem. I'd be curious is the experience is the same for non-Apple products (or the corresponding price for such service).

AH said...

Agree with Micha above. Apple service/repair seems to be great, except Apple products don't seem to be worth the amount that one has to pay for them. They don't seem to last longer than a traditional PC purchased for far less money. The quality of the hardware isn't particularly great, either. Sure, their products *look* tasty, and work nice for a while, but that's about that. I'd much prefer paying far less and working with a traditional PC. To give credit to Microsoft, they've really worked on their UI issues, and I have no complaints to date with Windows 8.1 (I have been a happy user for the past 2 years).

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you had a positive experience with Apple. In general, going to the mall to have your machine fixed sounds like a hassle (especially twice!).

For me the key is to get all my machines (Windows so far) with next-business-day-on-site warranty. This way, if you have a problem, you call it in, they diagnose it on the phone and then send a technician to your house (or office) with a new part the next day. If it's something like a new mouse, they will ship the part overnight.

You can make the call pretty short by taking common troubleshooting steps in advance. For instance, when my mouse stopped working, I plugged it into a different computer and plugged a different mouse into my computer to make sure it was really the mouse. Once I told the tech on the phone about this, he just overnighted me a new mouse. I've also had a laptop screen replaced by a tech a while ago.

The time savings are huge - you get to keep your computer the whole time, you don't have to travel to a mall (ugh), and you don't have to force a fixed-time appointment into your calendar!