Four days ago we ran one of my editorials about my experience at the Apple Store. It was titled “This is why I will continue to buy Apple products.” You should read it if you haven’t had a chance to yet.
The gist of it was me praising Apple’s support system, one that I think is unmatched in the industry and one I think should be mimicked by Apple’s competitors. It would be a good thing if support for all phones was as seamless with my process at Apple. And despite how many times I’ve been called a fanboy, I do use other operating systems and a Galaxy Note 4 currently resides in my pocket as one of my daily drivers.
Still, there were criticisms and comments, a few of which I think are worth addressing here because there are some great points and, I think, there’s room for clarification on some fronts. So I’ll dive into a few of them here to help clear up some of the misunderstanding and to praise what I think what was generally a really great debate.
- One commenter, Michael Pace, quoted my statement about having “a fully functional iPhone again, at no cost to me” and then cited my claim about being a subscriber to Apple Care, which costs $99 and covers my iPhone 6 Plus for two years. Point of clarification: Apple didn’t even take advantage of my Apple Care Plus subscription because the phone was still under warranty. So while, yes, I pay for that tier of service, it wasn’t needed in this case.
- Several commenters suggested I travel outside of the U.S. where Apple Support is apparently not as good. Fair enough, I wasn’t aware of that situation. “Apple doesn’t provide such good service in India,” Rahul Wadhwa explained. Another person said he had experienced Apple’s poor service outside of the U.S., too.
- Some commenters pointed out that the price of an iPhone is so high that someone could buy two phones for the same price, essentially providing them with the same kind of back-up plan. That’s also a good point. “For one iPhone 6 I can buy two Nexus 5 units so I can have one as a back up just in case something goes wrong No need for insurance,” Akash Patel said. I agree to that point but do still think there’s room for praising good support when I see it.
- Google apparently provides pretty solid service for its Nexus products, too. Several people informed me of instances where replacements were provided for damage on Nexus 5 units. “My Nexus 5 screen got cracked and I contracted Google and they sent me a new Nexus 5 within 24 hours. I didn’t even have to send the broken one back,” Akash Patel said in another comment of his. That sounds great, but other readers warned that Patel’s credit card may be charged for the broken one if it’s not returned.
- Some commenters had a version of this comment from The1Metallian: “Better than good customer service is to not need customer service in the first place… Other phones don’t have those issues. They made you go twice.” That’s not always true, though I appreciate the sentiment. I’ve had similar issues with plenty of phones and when you buy anything, there’s some expectation that something might go wrong in the future. That’s why insurance is a huge industry. Do I think it’s troubling that I had an issue with my phone in the first place? Sure, but I’m also glad it was resolved quickly.
- “See the great thing about Android is that you can do this yourself and get it done the same day by reflashing the ROM or re-installing the bootloader, or any number of things, but all can be done by you the end user thanks to a great dev/hacker community.” That’s true, Android does have a great community. I’d argue most consumers won’t jump through those hoops and it doesn’t address my issue, which was hardware related. I’d also warn that I did notice one employee turn down someone for service on an iPhone because he had jailbroken the phone, which voids the warranty.
- Other commenters explained positive experiences with insurance and customer service, though still needed to wait 24 hours for a new device, which isn’t always an option. I like Apple’s support when there’s an Apple Store around that can help address your problem immediately. There are times, like on a business trip, when waiting 24 hours isn’t always an option. “I have an HTC One M8 with Verizon and I have had dozens of other smartphones with this company,” commenter Couren said. “Every phone that I’ve had an issue with I’ve called them, sat on the phone with them for no more than 30 minutes and had a device sent to me the next day.”
- One commenter, who said he or she is an AT&T service employee, explained that his company is usually willing to replace a device on the spot. That’s great news that you should know about, so here’s the comment: “As for the other manufacturers, most service providers will fix or replace a malfunctioning phone in the store,” Ponokyo explained. “I actually work at an AT&T device support center. Customers can come in with any phone except an iPhone and have it fixed or replaced on the spot. “
I think there was a fantastic debate in the comments, clearly from every angle of the spectrum, which is why I love to post the opinions and to read what you’re all saying. These are just a few of the takeaways from the article, and I think I learned a lot from what some of you had to say – even if we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything.