Some customers are more difficult to please than others.
Few, though, may be as particular as Apple customers.
They pay a lot of money for their gadgets and expect sensitive, perfectionist handling. In some cases, they’re persuaded to buy AppleCare, the very royalty of device repair protection.
I was moved, therefore, by the plight of photographer Scott Bourne.
He’s no ordinary photographer. He’s an Olympus visionary and a brilliant bird photographer. As well as an author and guitarist. The very essence of a professional Apple customer, you might think.
Bourne, however, suffered a crashed iMac. Which was followed by an even more painful shock.
As he put it on Twitter: “Folks, I USED to highly recommend @Apple’s AppleCare. I’ve been buying it since it was available. But now I find out my crashed (new) iMac is going to be sent to – BESTBUY! They farmed out repair to the Geek Squad? I have purchased AppleCare for the last time. Disgusted!”
The very thought of it. You have the elite of AppleCare and Cupertino suddenly sends it to the locals in blue and yellow at Best Buy?
Over time, Apple has expanded its network of authorized repairs outlets. One can imagine that Apple stores couldn’t really cope with the volume of customers. It’s hard when you’re so successful.
Yet when Apple added 1,000 Best Buy stores to its authorized repair network last year, I found that the actuality then wasn’t quite as efficient as it seemed. Indeed, I was told repairs were handled in a place called Geek Squad City. That’s in a place called Kentucky.
The process would, therefore, take a long time.
Bourne has more than 211,000 Twitter followers and some wondered whether Apple was sending his iMac to a local Best Buy because, given the pandemic, many Apple stores are still closed.
Bourne, however, has a more fundamental objection.
He was asked by one of its interlocutors what difference it made, as long as the computer was repaired. The interlocutor, Michael Sessum, huffed: “Not like it takes some special apple technician to repair a Mac. I’ve changed parts in my old MacBook Pro and it’s really not difficult.”
Bourne replied with gusto: “1. I have never had a good experience with Best Buy so I have no confidence it will get fixed. 2. I didn’t buy Best Buy care. I bought Apple care. 3. Wanna come fix my computer?”
Bourne sturdily addressed many who reacted.
Joanna Strohn tweeted: “So you think the Geek Squad can’t fix it? Or that they don’t have a hotline to Apple?” To which Bourne responded: “I think they are worthless.”
As the replies rolled in, it became clear that some people have faith in Best Buy’s Geeks and some are aghast that Apple would do something so déclassé.
Naturally, I contacted Apple to ask what it felt about Bourne’s complaint. The company sent my query to Best Buy.
Yes, that’s a joke. I’m still waiting for a response from Cupertino.
Perhaps, though, this is a fine marketing opportunity for Apple, especially as the company has just announced a new head of world marketing, Greg Joswiak.
Apple could create two new tiers of Applecare. One tier for those who are happy for their repairs to be done by third parties. And another tier — more expensive, of course — for those who will only have pristine Apple hands and eyes care for their precious gadgets.
Just imagine how much more money Apple could make.