I bought an Apple Cinema screen display the other day (I work from home and am on the computer all day and I figured out that a large screen is a worthwhile investment). Anyway, I took it home and set it up and it worked great, for about 4 hours. Then the screen went blank suddenly. At first I thought it was the laptop that was connected to it, but it turned out to be the screen. Time to troubleshoot.
There’s not much to troubleshoot on a display screen. The screen was working fine, so I figured it was a power problem. I tried unplugging the power and waiting for a few minutes. When I plugged it back in nothing happened. I called Applecare (1-800-275-2273) and navigated to the right place, waited about 10 minutes to get to a service rep. I explained the problem and he gave me my options: (1) I could take the whole thing back to CompUSA; (2) I could send the whole thing back to Apple directly, or (3) I could have Apple send me a new power brick. I opted for #3, because I was pretty sure that was the problem.
The service rep said he’d send me a new power brick and the cord that goes with it. Of course, I’ll have to return the defective one (assuming that turns out to be the problem) once I get the new power brick. So today I got a box from Apple. I was excited, but when I opened it I found that it was only the power cord. There was no power brick with it. I didn’t know if the two things were supposed to arrive together and so I called Apple to see about the status, navigating the menus and then selecting the option to "check on order status." The automatic voice told me to wait a few minutes for a service representative. But after about 30 seconds an automated voice came on and said the following:
Based on the phone number that you are calling from our records show that you have a pending service order. We have shipped two items separately and you should be receiving them shortly, along with instructions on how to repair your item. If you have any questions…."
I didn’t have any other questions, so I hung up. Then I thought "that totally rocks!" I’ve dealt with Apple support many times, which sounds strange since I’m such an Apple afficianado. But here’s why: My experiences with Apple support are always positive and so I never hesitate to call them. I almost always get someone knowledgeable and friendly, and I don’t get the sense that they have to read from a script (although I’m sure they often do).
Here’s the sad truth: all technology fails in some way, or at some point. Apple is no different than any other technology company that is pushing the envelope and trying to develop innovative products. But a good company knows that the solution to this situation is to create the best possible customer experience, from sale to service. Apple does that as well as any company I’ve ever dealt with.
My experiences with Dell are another story altogether. I once tried to get them to fix a modem problem and when I called in and gave them the service tag number they claimed my computer didn’t have a modem (this was three years ago). I explained to the script-reading service rep that Dell probably didn’t even sell computers without modems. Then I offered to send him a PDF copy of my original order sheet which showed that I had a modem. He told me I couldn’t do that. Why? Because Dell didn’t allow their representatives to receive emails with attachments, not even PDFs. Other people have complained about Dell’s poor service too, like Jeff Jarvis for example.
Anyway, I’ll keep waiting for Apple to send me the power supply, which I’m sure will solve the problem. If it doesn’t then I’ll at least I won’t feel stressed about having to call Apple again. I don’t like stress, especially if I can avoid it. One way I avoid it in the realm of computer technology is to buy from companies like Apple, and not from companies like Dell.