Oct 24, 2005

Apple Brand Loyalty VI: The Saga Ends at Last

Folks who have tuned into these pages over the months have seen a number of posts about my struggles with a dual USB iBook G3 that is just over 2 years old and has had its logic board replaced 3 times.

The last time that I sent it into the shop, I was impressed with quick turnaround, and the fact that they actually decided to change the top case and bezel of the laptop, which at the time seemed like bonus to the expected logic board brain transplant.

Alas, they seem to have been the main problem this time around. A week after I received the machine, I suddenly realized that the CD tray neither responded to eject requests from the keyboard, nor actually seemed to recognize any disks that I placed in it after forcing an open with a paper clip. Uh-oh. Why isn't the CD tray working? I wondered aloud.

Then, many of my programs started to quit out regularly. It got to the point where I couldn't use iTunes, Mail, or even FireFox, as they all crashed regularly. So what to do? I finally called Apple and registered my complaints.

They were remarkably responsive - I thought that they would first ask if it was a logic board issue again, and then when I said not directly, would tell me that I'd have to pay $100 - $150 just for advice. But I explained quickly that the new developments felt directly related to the last service that they'd conducted on the machine.

My customer service rep listened, noted my complaints, and spoke with a supervisor. It was soon after this moment that I realized that their approach towards this problem was very similar to client case management - not only did they validate what I was feeling and try to keep me positive, but when it came to transfer me to another representative, the first person explained that he'd tell the person what my situation was before he handed me over. It was almost exactly like the conversation that happens between a case manager and a referral source, with the interest of minimizing the number of times that a client has to repeat their story. It's a very effective way to ensure that the client doesn't get worked up as they remember why they are on the call to begin with.

Anyway - long story short, they said that they didn't have faith that the machine was going to recover, and that I had the option to trade it in for another computer. I was ecstatic, as I thought I was going to have to buy a new computer anyway. So - I get to send this thing in, stripping it, of course, of all the programs and files that have occupied its space for a while, and I get a new(ish?) iBook G4 with built-in Airport and Bluetooth capability. Rock on. I'm so thrilled, and I have to give Apple major props for treating this situation as they are - because it definitely bolsters my confidence that they care about their customers. Considering that I didn't have an AppleCare warranty on the product, it could have been a very different outcome, and I'm thrilled that it turned out this way.


burnedouteyes said...

man! that's amazing. I don't think I've ever had that kind of service on any product.

Rage said...

definitely! and I just found out that they already shipped the new machine, even before I sent in this one.

still, i've heard that others do this as well - the three-strikes-and-you-have-a-new-product rule. :)

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