We’ve had three hard failures recently in getting timely Apple support to hardware malfunctions and some Apple-induced support needs.
In any high-growth situation the need for support often spikes up before a company can adequately address it which is the case with Apple.Â They also have little experience in handling corporate or business customers so the notion of escalation procedures is still foreign.
The latest examples range from simple to complex.Â In one case a broken AC adapter for a MacBook Pro was not in stock anywhere in France.Â There are no Apple stores there yet (not even Paris) and the retail "partners" don’t bother to even sell many add-on or replacement parts.Â Because the Apple AC adapter is unique, none of the myriad of PC adapters could substitute.Â Oddly there were none to be had in the Cambridge MA store in the US either.Â There was one available in the *state* which was air shipped to France.Â Net wait time for this was one week.
Secondly Apple has buried the news that their microcode update V2.1 for MacBook Pro models disables aspects of the SuperDrive.Â There is no fix as of yet other than bringing your machine in and having them ship it somewhere to replace the drive.Â In the US this is a few days of downtime.Â In France it is 10 days.
Lastly and perhaps most oddly there is a bug in the online battery recall system that prohibits valid addresses from being accepted.Â Again this is a situation that Apple caused rather than a customer request.Â An Apple store manager cannot help but they can give you an 800 number.Â That results in numerous conversations and an hour or two on the phone to figure out how what to do.Â We don’t know the time needed to comply with Apple’s needs yet on this one because it’s still an open item.
Most of this can be ascribed to growing pains but we did have similar experiences with Dell (before we stopped doing business with them.)Â Dell however has a small business program that knows how to fix problems for people that depend on their computers.Â
There is something disturbing about the way Apple tries to cover up mistakes and silence customer forums on known problems rather than responding to them.Â Â Customers who experience this certainly question their long-term view of Apple as their favorite technology supplier.
Fortunately for them the world still drools over their latest technology and wants to buy it.Â This probably means that there’s a great opportunity for someone to solve some of these problems for them and execute a profitable business plan.Â Businesses need and will pay for support.Â You’d think with Apple prices one would get this but it’s not the case.Â Not with AppleCare or any of their add-on programs either.
— Kris Tuttle
Disclosure: We have no position in Apple at the time of this writing but we do have positions in RIMM and MSFT for completely different reasons.