Customer support: Kudos to Apple

Customer support: Kudos to Apple

Summary: To say vendor customer support has gone down hill is an understatement. It is refreshing to come across a company that still appears to put helping the customer high on its list.


Although I've found it increasingly rare to be able to find nice things to say about vendor support, Apple's customer support has been outstanding the last two times I've called. After having had unpleasant experiences with Comcast, Dell and Verizon customer service calls, I found it really refreshing to experience friendly, professional and helpful customer service.

My wife's MacBook Pro developed what appeared to be a hardware problem. The wireless card wouldn't come online. The system status utility said that the Airport card wasn't installed. She couldn't connect to the WiFi network in our home. I did my best to adjust the network card perameters in the system preferences, but wasn't able to get it back on the network.

Although the machine is just out of warranty, I called Apple's customer service line expecting to pay for help. The customer service advisor acknowledged that the machine was out of its warranty period, but said that he'd be willing to help me through a couple of steps at no charge. If those steps failed, he said, he'd have to refer me to the local Apple Store to have the machine fixed. I thought that was very kind.

The customer service agent helped me perform a few magic operations that couldn't be found in the user manual, a management platform reset and then a parameter reset. When the device was rebooted, everything worked and the machine was back on the network.

This was such a different experience from other customer service calls, that I thought it deserved a comment here.

Kudos to Apple.

Topic: Apple


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • iPhone 4

    I dropped my iPhone 4 without a case ( I know I should have a case.), so it's screen was shattered. I went to AT&T, they would either sell me a new one for 550 (a little discount) or redirected me to local repair shop. So I went to Apple Store and prepared to pay 200 dollars to get it replaced. Out of blue, they exchanged a new iPhone for me FREE of charge! I have never been so proud being a loyal Apple fan since 1994.
    • My father drove off with his iPad4 on top of his car

      It came off on the first corner, then was driven over by a truck.

      Needless to say it was ruined, every pixel squashed.

      However as it was still "in one piece" Apple replaced it for some $200 dollars as an out of warranty job.

      It is the first IT device my father (approaching 70) has ever been able to use. He loves it.
      Richard Flude
      • iPad4?

        When did they release iPad4? I thought iPad, iPad2, and New iPad are the only ones. If you say it is iPhone 4 then it is different matter.
        Ram U
        • You're are right, iPad2 3g

          You're are right, iPad2 3g again for spam filter
          Richard Flude
  • Your mileage may vary

    When I bought an iPhone 3G, after one year and three weeks, the 3G radio died. I took it back to the Apple Store and was told that all they could do is offer me a refurbished 3G for $250 (which was more than I paid for the original one). By then, the 3GS has come out, so I asked if I could pay up to that model even if it meant paying a bit more. No go - "We can only sell you the same model you had in your contract with your cellco".

    Then iOS 4 came out and basically turned my 'new' 3G into a pig. I ended up buying an entirely different Android phone which I recently (after a couple of years) replaced with a Galaxy Nexus, which has worked fine.

    The problem with anecdotal kudos is that they say little about the average real experiences out there. Same with anecdotal criticisms.
    The Werewolf!
    • Same

      I had a similar issue, my iPod Classic developed bad sectors on the drive a few weeks out of warranty, I called customer support and they directed me to an Apple Store (which was NOT conveniently located for me) the "Geniuses" there refused to even look at it and instead kept trying to sell me an iPod Touch

      I ended up sending it off to a third party repair shop I found on the web, and their customer service was outstanding :)
    • Except Apple gets higher customer satisfaction ratings the all it's

      competitors. That the average experience, D'oh!
  • Apple can do this because they can AFFORD to

    Good customer service isn't cheap and Apple has unlimited money so it's very appropriate that they have superior customer service. Duh...
  • Great to hear!

    In almost all customer service groups there exists one or two individual who will go out of their way to help. To them it is about customer service, not dollars. These individuals are unfortunately rarer than the fabled chicken tooth.

    It is great when you find one.
  • Really?

    Sure you just weren't "holding it wrong"?

    That has worked for "customer service" in the past for Apple.
  • Same experience here in Toronto

    Not once, but twice. First time was with my wife's MacBook Pro battery problem which was more than 4 years old and purchased from the US. The Apple Store diagnosed the notebook to verify that it was a battery defect and replaced the battery at no charge although it was more than 15 months old. The 2nd time was with my MacBook and I was using a compatible battery and still the diagnosis was at no charge. Great service.
  • Someone already said it, "YMMV."

    I have had both types of experiences. When my wife's Macbook (pre-Intel) needed a memory upgrade, we went to the Apple Store in NYC. The 'Genius' quoted 300 dollars. We thanked him, came back home and ordered the RAM from Crucial for 50 dollars with free FedEx shipping. Once it arrived, it took all of five minutes to replace the existing RAM stick with the new one. Done.

    Both my and my wife's iPhones (3GS and then 4) have malfunctioned repeatedly, and they were replaced at the Apple Store free of charge (but with refurbished phones - which I object to, on principle, since I didn't pay for a refurb device).

    Good customer service is always appreciated. However, good customer service is good business, too; it helps retain the bevy of loyal followers that is absolutely essential for business.
  • So Far So Good!

    Every interaction whether in-store or over the phone have been nothing short of excellence with me. Even for products out of warranty.

    My last experience I had was while I was vacationing in Hawaii. AT&T wouldn't do squat and was going to either make me pony up for another phone (they were trying their damndest to get me to buy an Android phone = Weird, but I already have a GNX from Sprint as well). Or refer me to a repair shop.

    I found an Apple Store on 'the strip' and they immediately did some troubleshooting and fixed my iPhone. They were very nice and patient with me and didn't charge me a thing.

    Good luck trying to get this kind of service with Samsung or HTC or any other manufacturer.

    I still keep my GNX from Sprint, and I will probably get a GNII when it comes out. But if push came to shove and I HAD to choose just one phone... It would have to be the iPhone for me.
  • great support

    I added some sub-par memory I guess. Took it to Apple store to find out what's wrong. After several days testing, the Genius told me to take it home and remove the memory. He said if I'd put in Crucial memory it would work, which I did, and it did. Out of warranty, no charge.