Another plus for Apple Support

A while back, while we were on a trip, my wife dropped her 13″ MacBook pro. It was not the first time she dropped it, but it was enough to kill it. (it was a short distance on to a carpeted floor in the hotel).

She got home and I did some diagnosis. The hard drive wasn’t recognized. I used all my tools, and assumed that it was just a bad HD, and that we could replace it easily enough. But to be sure, I dropped in a spare I knew to be good. No dice. Still not visible to the system (but it would boot from an external enclosure with the original drive I thought was bad.

So I was stumped. My wife was crushed and sure it would cost a fortune to repair, so she suffered without it for a few weeks. Finally on Monday she scheduled a visit to the Apple store with their Genius bar. I got dragged along, and gave the helpful tech what I tried, and what I suspected next (HD cable (low probability) or logic board (most likely)).

We were informed that it was 163 days out of warranty (the three year AppleCare plan) so the laptop is 3.5 years old.

I got to watch their testing process, and I was impressed. They plug into an ethernet cable and start a network boot. That boots a series of tool to diagnose the system, and confirmed what I told them.  They used a few other tools, and decided to try to replace the HD cable. Told us to give them a phone number and that it would take probably 30 minutes.  Fortunately there is a kick ass Gelato shop about 100 yards away, and a Total Wines so we had Ice Cream and bought some tequila.

Turned out that replacing the cable did the trick and it booted right up. Parts were $17, and a $39 charge for the labor, $56 + tax and we were out on our way home.

Compare that with the broken display on my work HP laptop. It took 3 months to figure out how to order it, then 2 weeks to get it, and when the tech put it in, it didn’t work, so it became a warranty issue. I ended up with a new logic board, new display and new RAM after 3 days of their “next day service” dicking around (to be fair, their tech was helpful and friendly, much better than the shitheads that work for Dell.)

(Another benefit, with their CRM system when I go in with a dead iPhone, even long out of warranty, they look me up, and all the products I have bought from them, and they have always fixed/replaced my iPhones without charge. I went through 3 iPhone 3GS’s in the 6 months before I upgraded to my current iPhone 4s. They do take care of loyal customers.)

Customer support followup – Bose Headphones

Last Thursday, my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones broke. I was bummed, but hey, they were almost 10 years old, so I couldn’t complain about the life. I tweeted about it, and somebody (not Bose) said that I should call their support line, as they often offer smoking prices to exchange your broken headset with a new one.

I figured, why not try.  So I called.

After a very simple IVR, I got to the headphone area, and the agent was on immediately. No on hold music, no pitches while waiting for an agent. I got someone immediately.

He was very helpful. I explained what happened, and was inquiring whether they could repair the set. The answer was no, but I could swap it for the 2 generation newer headphones for << 1/2 the price of a new set. I deliberated for a few seconds, and said why not.

Turns out that I was in the system (the ear cups were crumbling a couple years ago, so I bought a new set from them online). This happened on Friday.

Saturday, I took the prepaid shipper label, and hiked on over to the local UPS store.

Tuesday, I got the email that they had established that I shipped the old ones back, and that they had shipped the new set to me. Since their shipping warehouse is in Tolleson AZ, they arrived on Wednesday.

This AM, Thursday, I have my new headphones, and I am blissfully listening to my music at my desk. Awesome.

The real pluses:

  • The process of navigating their IVR system was easy- peasy. It took like 2 touches of the dial pad to get to the headphones people. Nothing is more annoying than an IVR tree that is 4 or 5 layers deep.
  • Once I got to the headphone department, my call was answered instantly. No on hold music. No on hold sales pitches. A real live person. If you live and die by customer support, be sure to have enough agents to take calls quickly, and don’t try to sell people more stuff while they are waiting.
  • The agent was pleasant and very helpful. I went into the conversation thinking that if there wasn’t a reasonable ($25) repair option, I would just walk away. But he was quite effective at getting me to part with $130 for a new set of better headphones.

Consequently, I will probably continue to be a Bose customer, at least for their noise canceling headphones.

Well done!

Weird email problem – support useless

The joy of working in a large enterprise. 

We have been working with a web development partner for some new sites and moving some older sites to their hosting. 

Part of this means that we have been exchanging details on the web sites we are migrating.

Suddenly, these emails stopped coming in.

They aren’t spam. They have no executables. There is no malware. Just business oriented emails, originated from a credible and trustworthy source.

THe funny thing is, our contractor can send me emails that are not this (like “Did you get that PDF?”) fine.

But copy that block of text, and it is halted. Save that text to a PDF and email. And it is halted. He had to friggin fallback to faxing it to me to get this information to me.

Support – snort, is useless. Regardless of how much detail I put in the trouble ticket, or how many times I talked to them on the phone, there is no resolution.

Da fuq is up with that?