Apple Support: Highest ranked for a reason.

There have been several surveys and reports that Apple ranks highest when it comes to support. The most recent being from Consumer Reports. Well there is a very definite reason for that.

My first Mac purchase was on March 25th, 2007. At that time I had never owned a Mac, yet had been hearing how great they were from many podcasts; including, but not limited to, Twit’s MacBreak Weekly, Adam Christenson’s MacCast and The Mac Observer’s Mac Geek Gab among others. So I decided I would purchase an iMac, since my desktop was 2 years old and needed to be replaced. I took a half day at work and purchased my iMac along with Apple Care. My iMac has been flawless until a couple days ago…

My iMac decided that it wanted to start acting up and having the screen freeze for no apparent reason. I did all of the usual troubleshooting techniques: Zapping the PRAM, trying a cold reboot, running verify permissions, and even running tech tool deluxe. Tech Tool Deluxe came back and said everything was fine, including a surface scan, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the hard drive. Another indicator is that I was able to SSH into my iMac from my Macbook, so it seemed more like a graphics issue.

I thought I had it working decently until last night when it really started freezing no matter what I would do. So I shut it down, and let it sit unplugged overnight. I booted it up this morning and copied everything I needed off of the internal hard drive, then called Apple’s Tech Support.

I talked to one person, and they took notes on what I had done to try and fix the issue, Since my warranty had expired 8 days prior they made an exception and assisted by informing me to wipe and reload the system. Which I dutifully attempted to do, only to have the system freeze when ‘examining disks’. So, ask requested from Apple, I called them back, went through their automated menu (which works quite well) and informed the nice tech support guy that I needed to speak to Tier 2 (also as requested by the first Support Tech) and informed the second tier guy of the situation. It turns out he was the tier 2 tech support person who assisted the first go round and he was aware of the situation. He said that it was a hardware issue and Apple didn’t like me to experience any issues so close outside the warranty, so he went ahead and issued coverage for my iMac and informed me to bring it in to a specialist.

After getting off of the phone with the Tier 2 tech support, I made a reservation at the genius bar at the nearest Apple Store, brought my iMac in, and they took it. The Genius saw that it was granted an exception and didn’t have any issues with that, just wanted to know what it was doing and which Operating system I had installed on it. After initializing and signing they took my iMac off to be looked at. They say it will be 3 to 5 days, but could be longer if they need to get parts.

My best guess is that it’s the video card (logic board) that has gone bad, but I could be wrong. So, I sit and wait until they call me and until then I’ll use my Macbook.

As to why Apple has the highest ratings, it’s simple. They actually listen to what you’ve done to try and fix the problem without having to go through some flowchart as to what the symptoms could potentially be.

Not just that, but they go the extra mile to assist and if an item is just out of warranty they say, we’ll grant an exception. Apple could have easily said ‘Too bad, it’s out of warranty, you can bring it in and this will be the charge to look at it, and they will determine the cost.’ Instead, they decide it’s not worth the hassle and potential bad publicity. Instead of costing them publicity points, they spend a couple hundred (if that) dollars and save face. Given their $40 billion warchest, the money shouldn’t be the issue.

if you own an Apple product, make sure you get the AppleCare. Besides possibly saving your butt later, you get to download Tech Tool Deluxe, and that can find and repair some issues regarding your computer. So, if your Mac is coming up for warranty expiration and you haven’t purchased Apple care, go get it now.

Photo Credit: dotbenjamin

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.