So I finally decided to have my iMac fixed. My Super Drive has been broken for 6 months, never really thought of fixing it until I bought a Win7 Home Edition on Cyber Monday sales and tried to upgrade my Boot Camp from XP to Win7. Long story short, you just can’t do it without a Super Drive. (with the new iMac, they upgraded the firmware and it’s possible now). So the only option is to visit an Apple store and have the broken Super Drive replaced. The whole process took 4 days and I learned a thing or two that I want to share here:
1. Avoid holidays
The first time I visited Apple store is right after Christmas, before new year. The store is packed, I fought my way to the Genius Bar with my ‘mighty’ 27′ iMac. The genius there ran some diagnosis really quick and told me that replacement will probably take more than 3 days because he has 21 other machines that need fix before me. ‘Holiday season man.’. Then he politely asked me whether I want to take it back now and bring back later when it’s not too busy. What can I say. I fought my way back from Apple store to my car. So lesson 1 learned here: If you want to have something fixed that could take some effort, don’t go on a holiday season.
2. Heard a long turn-around time? Don’t panic!
I came in the second time after the new year, now it’s a bit better. This time I went to another Apple store hoping it would be less crowded. The ‘genius’ there was less occupied for sure. I briefed him of the situation and told him that I want to replace the super drive. He checked the serial number of my iMac and told me with a very friendly smile on his face:” We don’t have your part (super drive) available in this store, we’ll have to order it now and then replace it. If ordering it today we’ll likely get the parts 3 days later, then there’s probably 2 to 3 days to fix it.’. I was like shocked by a lightning right there. WHAT? THAT’S A FREAKING WEEK! But the man was so polite and sincere and smiling, ‘Do you want to take it back or…’. ‘NO!’ Words came out of my mouth without thinking. “No. I think I’ll just leave it here and have you guys fix it.’ Now I kind of accepted that this will be a long time thing and I just don’t want to fight my way back again to my car with the iMac. Too many fights to start a year you know… ‘Great! We’ll take care of it for you.’ The man said cheerfully.
So I went back bare handed and start my life without my iMac, and kept telling myself to not think of it, and time will fly by faster that way. Three days later, still wondering whether the part arrived Apple store or not, (I wasn’t thinking of the iMac, I was thinking of the part) I got an email from Apple Store: ‘Your iMac is fixed and ready to be picked up.’ I can’t tell you how happy I was when reading that email. I shared the good news with my colleagues. One of my colleague told me, ‘Oh this is just the old sales trick: Under promise and over deliver’. I answered :’Yes, I totally know, expectation management, but I’m still happy!’ So lesson 2 learned here: They might give you a long turn-over time, but might still get it done faster than they promised!
3. It’s heavy? Ask them to help you.
The last lesson is rather simple. I went to the store for pick up, after all the paperwork is done. Cause it’s a rainy day, and it’s a long way from the store to the parking lot, for a moment I was standing there thinking what is the best route that could avoid all the raining. One Apple store staff noticed it, and offered “Do you want us to help you load your machine to your car?’, ‘Hell yeah!’. So she told me I can drive my car to the nearest mall entrance and they’ll deliver it to my car. I ran to my car and drove it to the entrance, 2 minutes later, they put my iMac on a little cart and load it to my car. So for the heavy stuff, just ask them to help you load, they have the equipment to do it, and you can save some heavy lifting.
That’s the end of my boring little story. There are reasons why Apple store are so successful. All the tending to details gave them an edge and by connecting those dots they managed to offer a very pleasant experience of customer support.