I just experienced one of the most frustrating experiences I have had in the last 10 years.
Late Friday evening, my son was working a college assignment on his Apple MacBook Pro laptop and experienced a problem. The unit would not charge and the AC adaptor became intermittent. The computer is under warranty with Apple and an extended warranty company in case it gets damaged physically.
On Saturday morning, we called Apple Care warranty service and the gentleman there was very helpful, or so we thought.
He helped go over the issues and figured, like I did, that the problem was actually in the AC/charger unit and not in the computer. We explained that it was very important that we get this resolved immediately as my son needed this to finish his assignments. Ned at Apple Care suggested go over to either Micro Center on Merrick Ave., our closest authorized dealer, or to the Apple Store in Roosevelt Field Mall to get this re-diagnosed and taken care of in all haste.
We jumped in the car and headed to the experts. Silly me, I did not think to also call a co-worker’s daughter, who lives nearby in East Meadow, who was an Apple genius barmaid for years and see if she had a spare AC/charger unit we could borrow. This way we would not be under pressure to get this resolved speedily.
We immediately headed to Micro Center and after 25 minutes of paperwork, they confirmed that it the AC/charger unit was defective and not the computer. They explained, as they were an authorized Apple Dealer and warranty center, we could give them the AC/charger unit and they would mail it away for replacement and we could pick it up in two weeks at the store.
We explained that the computer would not work without it and of our rush dilemma and they said that the factory would ship it to our home instead, saving us three days. This was still not acceptable. I asked them about buying a new AC/charger unit and putting the defective one in the box and returning it for an immediate refund, but they said that too would not work. They explained that their stock was different inventory that Apple’s warranty replacement inventory.
This seemed like a battle of the internal SKU’s to me and not my concern. Instead we packed up and headed to the mall.
At the Apple Store in Roosevelt Field Mall, we were met with a whole bunch of friendly faces that nodded and smiled as they greeted us. We explained our issues to four separate people, most of whom wanted to make an appointment for us to see a technician on Wednesday, but today was Saturday. We decided to talk to Supervisor Lillian who put us on “standby”.
Now this is like going to a hospital emergency room with severe water blister, you get taken eventually. Having a computer that was stabbed or with a gunshot wound does NOT get you on the “fast track” with in person Apple Care. There is no express lane and there should be.
After an agonizing two hour and 20 minute wait, and some unique conversations with others awaiting “I-service,” we met with genius bar trainee Drew.
After six minutes of back and forth testing, he re-confirmed that the AC/charger unit was defective and not the computer, and 10 minutes for Supervisor Lillian to come over and sign off on the replacement part and six minutes of back and forth testing of the new unit, we were on our way back home. Finally!
Now let me tell you this, if you walked into any electronic store I have ever worked in or the one I work at now and had a similar problem, you would have been satisfied and on your way in a mere fraction of the time. Let’s say you bought your Nikon or Canon camera from us, it was under warranty and in stock and the AC/charger unit was not working properly and we would give you a new one, from wherever, in less than five minutes from when you walked in our door.
That is including with waiting for an employee to finish with a customer, an incoming call or ringing the register and testing it. Maybe Applehead Tim Cook needs to take a lesson from the “Undercover Boss” TV show and play customer to see what is really going on.
I know a lady who gave birth to her son in less time that it took the I-Bobbleheads and the Apple Core Team to fix our simple non-genius issue.
I guess when you are as big as they are, matching t-shirts and nametags are more important than in-person customer service.