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March 21, 2013

The Apple Experience

by willnich

I love Apple.  I wouldn’t say I’m one of the cult followers that Gallo describes in his book, but I can definitely understand those people who are.  I don’t think I’ve ever walked passed an Apple store without going in, largely for the reason that it truly is an enjoyable experience to be immersed Apple culture.  I probably visited the store 100 times for various reasons without a single bad experience—until recently.

I bought a MacBook before school this year and have consistently had problems with it.  Finally, I took it to the Apple Store in Raleigh over Spring Break because the computer would periodically freeze and then shut off.  They ran a systems check on it before determining the problem and asking if it would be okay to take it and replace the faulty part.  They told me this would take 5 days and that I would definitely have it back before returning to school.  To say the least, I was pleased when they called 3 days later to inform me my computer was ready for pickup.   When I picked it up the next day, I was in a hurry and didn’t have a chance to turn it on in the store to see if it worked—I thought to myself, “this is Apple of course they did a thorough job.”

When I got home and turned on my MacBook, however, it worked for about 5 minutes before crashing completely.  When it failed to reboot, I rushed back to the Apple store hoping to be in and out so I wouldn’t be late to my Dad’s birthday dinner.  I thought that because I had just been there no more than an hour before, they would move me to the front of the line.  Again I was wrong.  I explained my situation to the first employee I saw and gathered my information, he told me to sit at the Genius bar and the next available genius would help me.  I had no idea what “next available” really meant, so I waited at the counter for about 30 minutes before finding someone to explain my situation to.  By this point I was extremely frustrated and impatient, not to mention that I only had an hour to get finished with this appointment and get across town.  The employee told me that the first person I talked to took down my information, but failed to submit the appointment, and that was why my name was never called.  He told me that he would get someone to help me “as soon as possible.”

After waiting another 10 minutes, someone finally came to help me.  He apologized and quickly ran a systems check that didn’t show any problems.  After the check was over, the computer crashed again.   Although he couldn’t figure out what was wrong, he said he could send it to their shop to run some tests and fix the problem. He ultimately told me it would take about 5 days to fix. Today, 7 days later, I finally got my computer back.

I know this is not a typical Apple experience by any stretch of the imagination but it is a good example of how even leaders in customer satisfaction can fail from time to time.  This experience has introduced a level of fallibility in my previously unfailing perception of dependability.   This experience also illustrates how one bad experience carries so much more weight than a good one.

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