Well done Magnum Mac Wellington
My MacBook Pro 17 died on Friday.
It failed to restart after running the software upgrade for the magic mouse. I tried the usual tricks (Apple has a good knowledgebase) and then twittered the failure and headed for Magnum Mac, Mac in hand.
I’ve been there plenty of times, but never to the service department. The wait was short, but painful – any wait when you have a broken computer in hand is painful. Meanwhile the lazyweb (Twitter) was responding, and I not only did I have a likely diagnosis (thanks @johnclegg – dead main logic board) but also a pointer to someone that could replace it for cheaper than the apparently $2,000 I was up for (thanks to @gnat).
I paid Magnum Mac $60 for the mac to be looked at, and another total of $120 (all +GST) for priority service. I fully support the ability to jump the queue by paying more – it’s a simple way to both price discriminate and to differentiate those customers that really are in a hurry from those who can make do. It’s also under-used by everyone. Why can’t I pay more through an 0900 number to get an immediate and local answer to my customer service calls to Telecom or Vodafone?
Priority service meant my mac would get looked at within the hour – important on a Friday at 12:56pm. The tech suspected it was a stuffed board, and put me onto their text service, whatever that was.
I soon found out – with the first text at 1:19pm – the repair status was “in Progress” apparently. That was good.
At 14:25 the next text came in – the repair status was now “waiting on parts”. I called immediately – not wanting to drop $2,000 on parts.
It was great news – as it turns out that my computer was one of those affected by the NVIDIA graphics chipset issues, and the replacement main logic board would be for free. Even better, the part would arrive on Monday.
At 10:57 today, Monday, I received another text – “in Progress”, and at 12:00 I got the “Completed” text. I picked it up and was up and running immediately.
Total elapsed time was less than a working day. That is simply stunning, and a huge turnaround from the service levels of the past.
Total cost – $202.50 – less than the Applecare cost, of which more shortly.
Lessons for service providers
Offer a premium service to customers in a hurry and/or with more money. Why can’t I pay more through an 0900 number to get an immediate and local answer to my customer service calls to Telecom or Vodafone?
Deal with repairs quickly – get your systems and processes right and you’ll get the fixed products back to customers within the day. That makes your costs low, customers happy and for a happy work environment.
Find a way to make it free – or at least cheap. That means working the claims for the customer, sourcing better parts for cheaper and employing technical staff that are great at what they do so they can do it efficiently.
Lessons for customers
Go to the professionals. Just as with my BMW motorcycles I went to a service center that specialises in the products. For BMW that might mean an aging guy in a tiny garage in Mendoza, Argentina, or the Auckland’s Experience BMW. For Apple it meant first trying the local dealer.
Know your rights. In New Zealand it is simple – the Consumer Guarantees Act states:
Goods must be:
- fit for the purpose they are made for
- durable – last for a reasonable time
- have no minor defects
- acceptable in look and finish.
It was well past the purchase date, but it turns out that Apple sold a product that was not fit for purpose or durable – it didn’t do what it said it would on the box for long enough. That meant they were liable under New Zealand law, and under the US system of lawsuits, and that customers would not have to pay for a fix.
Check the manufacturer warranty. Apple covers all of their computers for a year – for free. For me, and from what I observe, for others, computers either work out of the box or they fail fast. If they work for the first month or two then, viruses and dropping accidents aside, they are likely to keep going forever. (This does not apply to media drives, but then you should be replacing those regularly anyway.) So you can take your computer home with confidence, knowing that under NZ law and probably the standard, free, warranty you can return it for repair.
Make noises. The NVIDIA issue was ignored by Apple for a while, but eventually the sheer weight of dissatisfied customers forced their hand, and they settled with NVIDIA and offered the free replacement program. Similarly you can make noise – either by adding your voice to the others, by twittering, blogging and doing wharever people do on Facebook, or by getting a little more personal in store. Be reasonable and polite, and give the vendor the chance to make amends.
So I was lucky – the main logic board was covered by the settlement and replacement was free. As a mac fanboi I’m obliged to say that it was only the high quality of Apple’s product that kept it going for so long in spite of NVIDIA’s flaw, but then that would be asking for another failure. So instead I’ll mention that I did have an alternative, non-official, service provider. I didn’t use him, so my next Never buy the warranty post will be about another experience that I had – in Mendoza, Argentina.