My first Apple experience was an Apple IIe back in the late 1980s, it belonged to a friend of mine and was the first computer I ever used, we played load runner most of the time. We also had Apple IIs in my primary schools computer room but we barely got to use them, later on in intermediate school we did touch typing on Apple computers.
I didn’t use an Apple computer again until recently in August 2009 when I purchased a MacBook Pro (unibody). Being the first apple I owned I made sure to purchased an extended AppleCare warranty. Two and a half years later I have never needed to use the warranty and the MacBook continues to age gracefully and is by far the best engineered laptop I have ever owned.
Since 2009 we have been getting more Apple consumer devices and slowly have become an “Apple Family”. We now own six devices being the MacBook Pro, an iPad, two iPhone 4s and two iTouch for the kids. I never intended to purchase Apple exclusivly but each time I looked into the different products the Apple ones were always the best.
Today I performed my first Apple warranty claim, it was for my iPhone, its home button had become unreliable. I started by jumping on the web and going into the Apple support section. Apple has an express lane http://www.apple.com/au/support/contact/ that allows its customer to lodge the support request and provides online assistance, troubleshooting steps and contact numbers. I was provided a contact number in response to my answers and called it. You get prompted to leave your details with an IVR system and then wait for a call back. I got a call back immediately and the Apple support representative confirmed I had attempted the required troubleshooting steps including a software upgrade and factory reset. Once confirmed she organised an appointment for me at the Chermside Apple store, the appointment was at midday the same day.
I arrived on time for my appointment and the store’s concierge checked me in and told me to wait next to the MacBooks for someone to come and assist. The Apple store has easily over hundred people and it was a hive of activity with Apple staff of all shapes and sizes (most had a slight geek or alternative look, the hallmark of Apple). An Apple store employee Dan came up to me and advised he would be assisting me, I told him about the problem and he took the phone away to check it out. The phone still had 80 days warranty left and was therefore covered by the standard Apple twelve month warranty. Dan returned and informed me Apple would be replacing the phone completely and providing a 90 day warranty. As I had already backed up the phone we wiped the old handset and I waited for a few minutes while Dan retrieved a new handset. We registered it over the store wireless and iCloud downloaded my contacts so I was good to go. I thanked Dan and headed home after getting a new screen protector, the only very small downside to getting a new handset.
In short, from first contact to replacement handset it took 4 hours and I talked to two Apple employees to get the warranty claim completed. Not only can Apple boast some of the best consumer products on the planet but it also has the best support and warranty service I have ever experienced. Having had previous experience with several consumer and business IT product vendors support and warranty claims, I think Apple is setting the standard and the other vendors should take note. Most IT vendors are outsourcing, off shoring and reducing their bricks and mortar to reduce costs. Apple’s approach seems to be orientated around the customers experience and not cost cutting.
I’m no Apple fanboy and I certainly don’t buy brands for the sake of it or to be in the cool gang. The quality of their products and the support they provide, Apple is the leading IT consumer vendor!