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In The Crowd

Monday, March 14, 2005

Third time's the charm

Or is it, bad luck comes in threes? I guess I'll have a chance to find out soon, since I am now on my third iPod in one year. I don't know anyone else who's had the trouble I've had with their iPod, I suspect that the model I bought (the 30 Gig) is a lemon. The nice people at the Genius Bar had never seen anything like it either, nor had the tech support guys I called about the last one. Never mind. Thanks to Chris-the-genius and a slightly liberal interpretation of the warranty, I have fresh hardware to experiment with.

I have to say this was the single most pleasant tech support experience I have had, mostly because tech support over the telephone is inherently frustrating. Let's compare my experiences with the last two iPods.

Telephone: Wake up an hour early because tech support closes before you get home from work. Wait on hold for at least twenty minutes. Verbally describe in excruciating detail all the steps previously taken to try to fix the problem, including websites visited and support forum questions asked. Get walked through doing it again anyway, describing what's happening at every point along the way to someone who can't see it. Get passed on to a specialist and repeat first three steps. Realize you know more about how to fix it than the tech guy on the phone, and that you're going to be late for work. Lose your temper and demand that they please just replace it. Mail in the offending device and wait for them to mail back a new one.
Time spent in intense frustration: an hour and a half.
Time without a working device: at least three days.

In person: Log on to website and request an evening appointment. Travel to store, check in with concierge and wait turn. Hand device to specialist behind the counter and describe problem. Sit on stool, watch videos, and chat with fellow patrons while specialist inspects device. Receive verdict and new device. Leave store and buy yourself some dinner.
Time spent traveling and/or waiting: forty minutes.
Time spent without working device: under three hours.

Some people like to say that Apple products are overpriced. Those people must not value their time or happiness as much as I value mine. Granted, I'm an impatient person and I hate telephones anyway, but I just don't see myself buying a product that would require me to go through tech support hell again now that I know there's a better way.


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