Stellar Apple Customer Satisfaction

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Stellar Apple Customer Satisfaction

Post by bdahm on Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:59 am

I wasn't sure if this should go under Tales of Woe or here in All Things Apple, but finally decided to put it here. So here goes.

We were in Munich during our recent trip to Europe. It was Saturday morning, the day after we arrived. When I picked up my iPhone, the screen was a dark gray. That was odd indeed. I tried to wake it, but the screen remained static. Pushing the Home button didn't do anything. Pressing the on/off power button didn't do anything. I couldn't even power it off. What to do? We were on vacation and dealing with technical problems wasn't my highest priority. Using the camera on my iPhone 6 was. I suppose we could have used my wife's iPhone 5, but that would be suboptimal. 

So I grabbed my iPad Mini and searched for the nearest Apple Store. I found one about 5 miles away and so we took a bus and U-Bahn to the shopping center where it was situated. It was about 10:00 when we got there so there wasn't a lot going on. I had tried to make a Genius Bar reservation, but they didn't have any record of it. Nevertheless, they worked me in. When I told the Genius what had happened, he took the iPhone and disappeared to the back room. When he returned in about 10 minutes he informed me that there wasn't any water damage. Apparently that is the first thing they check. He asked me if I had backup up the iPhone to iCloud and I told him the last backup was 11 PM last night. I never go to an Apple Store if there is a problem with my devices without backing it up first.

He said that things looked OK and that he would reset the device and I could restore my data from iCloud backup. During the reset process something wasn't working. It seems the WiFi was inoperative and as a result he couldn't complete the reset. He said there was nothing else he could do and the only option was to replace the phone. My iPhone 6 was 18 months old and therefore was out of warranty. He said it would cost me $300 to replace it. I didn't see that I had any real option and so I agreed to the charge. He disappeared to the back room to get approval from his manager and get a new iPhone. When he came back he said he had some good news. He said that because they could not determine the exact cause of the failure, they would replace the iPhone at now charge. Yes! This is the third iPhone that has been replaced over the years, iPhones that were both in and our of warranty and all at no charge. The first one was replaced due to a lazy Home button in the US while I was visiting. The second was also in the US when service for a battery replacement messed something else up. So you can see, I am happy camper.

But that wasn't the end of the story. Now I had to restore the nearly 7 GB of data from iCloud. Apple Stores have excellent WiFi bandwidth and so this usually takes about 45 minutes. While this was happening, my wife went to get something to eat. We got down to "Less than 1 minute remaining" and that's were we stayed for another 45 minutes. My wife was back by this time and was not happy about spending all this time in the Apple Store. Neither was I. I called the Genius back and he said he didn't know what was wrong, but that we had two choices, either start the restore again from the beginning or set the iPhone up as a new device and do the restore later, presumably once we were back in Thailand. In the interests of time, we went with the second alternative. I didn't have any qualms about this because though I would essentially loose any data between that point and the restore, other than the photos and whatever apps might be updated, there wasn't anything that couldn't be recovered by other means. Since I use Google Photos, all of those would be uploaded to the cloud via my WiFi connection every evening. 

I reinstalled the minimum number of apps that I needed on a daily basis and we were off. Over the coming weeks I made minor adjustments as necessary. Once home I actually thought I might forego the restore altogether because if it failed again, I would be back at square zero. I finally decided it was probably worth it and did the restore. I think it took about 2 hours and except for Google Authenticator everything was back the way it was before the iPhone went south that Saturday morning. 

So there you have it, yet another great customer service experience at an Apple Store. Fortunately all these incidents happened outside of Thailand where I had access to an Apple Store. Would they have happened in Thailand, I would have not been so fortunate since there are no Apple Stores here as such. I have heard to people getting some relief by dealing with the Apple Store in Singapore, but that could go either way.

-Bill

bdahm
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