Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

24 December 2007

Apple’s Geniuses Treated Me Right

Genius Bar Logo

It had been awhile since I’d visited the Apple Store Genius Bar until, earlier this month, I had to take my laptop in for repair.

I bought my MacBook Pro over a year and a half ago in anticipation of needing a powerful laptop that could run both Mac and Windows and be a reliable computer for work. It was one of the first Macbook Pros that Apple produced. I hear a lot of people say when new models come out they are a little gun-shy and want to wait a few revisions before purchasing. I ignored that “wisdom” and bought this computer anyway, and it’s run pretty much flawlessly the entire time.

That is, until about a month ago when it started making some weird noises. The noises started fairly quietly and were intermittent, but over a period of a week or two they escalated into this: Fan Racket (mp3). Eek!

Because the noise wasn’t completely constant I broke out the microphone and recorded it. The computer is still under warranty so I knew getting it repaired was no problem, but I still wanted proof. Before I took it in for repair, I purchased a backup computer, a middle-of-the-line MacBook. I had some hard-pressing deadlines and couldn’t afford to be computer-less for a few days.

The next day, new laptop in hand, old laptop ready for repair, I walked into my appointment with the Genius Bar at the Cherry Creek Apple Store. The guy there was very impressed I had recorded the fan noise. Despite the fact that my ailing computer wasn’t making a sound at the moment, he believed me, and checked it in for repair.

Nineteen hours after dropping it off, the store calls and says, “Your computer is repaired and ready to be picked up.” Wow. The guy had told me it would be quick, but I was thinking in days, not hours (especially since this was during their Christmas season rush).

Apple gets a bit of flack about their Genius Bar. I’m sure some of it is warranted. Maybe it’s just that the press doesn’t like them calling it a “Genius” bar. The truth of the matter is that every time I’ve had to visit there over the years they’ve given me top notch support.

Everybody has something to learn from these types of experiences. Kathy Sierra talks a bit about this in a blog post that highlights the difference between the gorgeous marketing materials for products and their dull, white manuals. Why do most companies treat their potential users so much better than their actual users? I suppose we know the answer. It’s more work, it’s harder, and it’s expensive. But it obviously pays off too. From the unboxing experience and the gorgeous manuals to the free training classes and the genius bar, Apple treats their customers very well. Apple’s doing pretty well for themselves and they consistently rank #1 in customer satisfaction among computer companies.

I’m glad to have my MacBook Pro back and hope I’ve learned a bit on the way.