The last time I used an apple computer was the Apple Lisa when I worked at John Hancock Life Insurance many decades ago. Hancock was the type of company that liked to try every new technology. I was lucky enough to work in the department that was in charge of trying out any new innovation. But when it came to my personal productivity, I stayed with the PC.
After more than 20 years I have broken the old habit and moved to the Mac. However, over the past few years I have watched my colleague, Robin Bloor use his Mac as the foundation for his personal approach to information management. Finally, I decided to take the plunge. I have to say that I am happy with my decision. Since I am typically very critical of customer experience mishaps and poor customer service, I am pleased to report that I have actually had a great Mac experience.
I wanted to share some of what I have experienced with Apple. First, when I started thinking about switching platforms I went to the local Apple store in my area. It was swarming with people. I anticipated that I would have to wait to talk to someone who would be impatient with my long list of questions. To my surprise, someone helped me right away. The young woman who was quite knowledgeable about her product spent at least an hour with me answering questions and introducing me to the Mac environment. I never felt rushed. I never felt as though she was waiting for my order.
What I found about the Mac that made me decide to buy was the integration of functions and the ease of use. I loved the fact that Apple treats sound and motion as though they are a natural part of the computing experience. There is thought behind how the user moves from one function to another. Initially the Mac is intimidating as anything that is new and different from the old ways. But after that first hour I began to appreciate the elegance of the platform. It felt to me as though someone looked at the functions in a holistic system rather than a set of independent functions.
I didn’t buy my Mac that day. I did, however, come back the following week and purchase my MacBook. Here are a few of my observations after my purchase. Like any system, I had a few problems. I couldn’t quite get my mail working. I called and got an appointment at the store with a “genius” (I actually think this guy might have been a real genius!). In about 20 minutes he got everything working like a charm and was able to explain and fix a dozen other things that I hadn’t figured out yet. When Microsoft Word wouldn’t open, I called customer service and only waited less than five minutes. I just reinstalled the application and was back in business.
The last experience I wanted to mention related to the newest version of the Macbook Pro that was introduced this week. When I read that a new system had come out with almost twice the disk space that I had purchased for the same price, I was upset. Why didn’t they tell me about the impending product introduction? I happened to be in the store and explained what happened. The sales rep told me she would have to talk to the manager. OK, I thought, now these guys are going to start acting like a normal company. They proved me wrong. Within two minutes the sales rep returned and told me to bring in my Macbook and it would be exchanged for the new model. I would just have to pay a restocking fee.
So, I am a convert. I know understand why people who love the Mac are so devoted. It is not just about a well engineered hardware and software platform. It is about an attitude towards the customer that is respectful. It is the fact that the customer experience actually makes you want to do business with the company.