One of the things I dislike about owning a MacBook Pro is that everyone assumes I’m a rabid fanboy that hates all things PC. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but I can understand how some people can become raving Apple fans. Consider Bill Clementson- his PowerBook had a minor dislplay issue and Apple was backordered on the necessary parts. Apple’s solution? Call the customer and offer him a brand new, and much more powerful MacBook Pro.
I’m a consultant and, although I usually work remotely for clients, I sometimes need to travel a bit; so I purchased a 17″ PowerBook laptop from Apple in March, 2005 as my primary development machine. As I usually do with laptops, I purchased the 3-year AppleCare maintenance plan. Since purchasing the laptop, I hadn’t had any problems with it until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a vertical, 1-pixel line on the display. The laptop was still usable; however, the line was a bit irritating so I decided to have it repaired. I took it to an Apple service agent in Vancouver and they confirmed that there was a problem and the display would need to be replaced; but, their inventory system was showing that the LCD display was backordered. I said “no worries” because the line wasn’t keeping me from using the machine. I would wait till the part came in and just use my machine with the line on the display until then. So, I was a bit surprised when I received a phone call from an Apple employee named Kelly the next day. She confirmed that the part was back ordered; however, she said that Apple wanted to propose an alternative – they would replace my PowerBook with the equivalent current model MacBook Pro! I was flabbergasted by this and thought initially that someone was pulling my leg. However, she confirmed that the offer was genuine and that they were doing it because they couldn’t replace the part in a timely manner. I thanked her profusely and accepted the offer. Within 3 business days, I had received the replacement laptop.
Note that Bill’s PowerBook was still covered by AppleCare, but this is still an outstanding example of Apple Customer service. The company decided to do what was best for the customer even though it didn’t ‘have to.’
There are plenty of other manufacturers who replace customers’ broken notebooks with systems more powerful than the original, but it’s usually after the customer jumps through several hoops. I think there’s a lot to be said for a manufacturer having face-to-face contact with customers when they’re computers are busted, not just when they’re buying stuff.