What’s going on at the Apple Genius Bars?

One of the best reasons for buying Apple products is the terrific service and support the company provides. That’s especially true with notebook computers. While they cost more than Windows machines, it’s worth the extra couple of hundred dollars for that support. No longer do you need to send in your computer for repairs and do without it for days. And when buying a new one, the Genius Bar will help you migrate your old content to the new machine.

The Genius Bar consists of a number of skilled employees that have the tools to diagnose problems with phones, notebooks, tablets, and iPods on the spot. These employees are highly trained to be polite, friendly, but to never ever discuss anything other than your issue. Ask if the problem has been seen before and never will you ever get a positive answer. The basic tools are diagnostic software that lets them run a check of your device in about 3-5 minutes. What’s so good about them is they usually always get your problem solved. Either they work on your software, send it to the back room or give you a new product if you are within the warranty period or if your device might have a known issue.

I’ve been able to get iPhones replaced for a home button that double clicks and for a bent phone out of warranty.

They never sell, but, instead, call over a sales person if you ask about buying something, If you have a problem you want to get to one of these employees.

But over the past year it’s become more difficult to access the Genius Bar. First, Apple made it difficult to go on-line and make an appointment. They require that you go through a process to find other solutions to your problem, including accessing on line help or searching the community for other tips. Finally, if you persisted long enough, you might get a chance to request an appointment.  For a while you couldn’t even do that from the browser, only from the iPhone app.

Now, it’s become even more difficult to make an appointment. In some locales when you request an appointment, you’re only given one time on one day. If that doesn’t work and you try to select another day or time, you get the message, “No other times available, check back later”. That’s absurd. Apple no longer provides access to appointment times very far in advance and expects you to initiate this time consuming process all over again.

Clearly this is intended to discourage the number of visitors to the Genius Bar. Apparently it’s a cost cutting effort. But it seems short sighted because the value of the Genius Bar is to make it easier to address your issues, which encourages you to buy Apple products, even at a premium.

What can Apple be thinking? Is this another cost cutting effort from Apple?

by Phil Baker