Paul Thurrott has had an interesting experience with Apple support and a troublesome MacBook, which appears to have been resolved amicably, even with faintly embarrassing offers of restitution from Apple.
I’ve had my share of support issues with Apple gear, and while my experience hasn’t been universally positive, it has averaged out at ‘better than I expect’ – ie. really not bad. While Thurrott’s right to query whether his experience was a result of his blog having rather large traffic, I can vouch for the latitude with which Apple’s ‘executive relations’ team operates. While I have put quite a lot of Apple gear on TV over the years, I don’t believe that had anything to do with the outcome of this particular story:
I once had a bit of a issue with a refurb Titanium PowerBook that, after a couple of failed repair attempts, went back for a refund. Subsequently it was refurbished again and resold, but (surprise!) it ended up failing in exactly the same way, yet again. This I know because after it was repaired it was shipped back to me, rather than to the then-current owner. Which was a tad of a faux-pas, though I’ve heard equally bad (indeed worse) stories concerning other big laptop manufacturers.
At the time I happened to have the direct number of Apple’s Exec Relations team in the UK, so I rang them. They were initially gobsmacked and somewhat suspicious. Once they’d checked their records, however, matters were put right extremely rapidly and, I think, to the satisfaction of all concerned. It wasn’t a happy episode, but the high-level customer services people went a long way not to leave a sour taste. They certainly lost money on that particular sale.
Avoiding problems in the first place is clearly the best plan, but multiply a tiny fraction by millions of customers, and you’re going to get non-zero failure cases. What’s really important is how you deal with those. This is, of course, why I’d buy another BMW (Mini), but will never touch another Mercedes (Smart). Listening to the customer and addressing the problem will beat lying and not fixing things, every time.