Going the Extra Mile: Kellie and Zak at the Gateway Apple Store

Walking the Extra Mile

Here are some public kudos for Kellie and Zak at the Gateway Apple Store.

I was having very odd trouble with my laptop. Despite that I’m fairly handy with computers, I had already burned up time previously trying to figure out the cause. I found myself in a position where I wasn’t able to work at all. This is not good when it’s your livelihood.

So, I whipped out the ProCare card. I’ve found Apple’s ProCare valuable enough to keep renewing. With it, I’m usually able to make a reservation at their tech support desk (“Genius Bar”) close to the time required to get in my car and drive clear to Salt Lake City. 便利よ — so convenient!

To my disappointment, when I got on Apple’s web site to make the reservation, I found that my ProCare account had just barely lapsed. The non-productivity clock was ticking and I started to worry that I’d be down for a day or more. So, I packed up the laptop and headed down to the Apple Store anyways. First to renew the ProCare, then to wait in line for who knows how long.

When I arrived, I explained my situation to the first employee I met after walking through the door — Kellie. She cheerfully tried to renew the ProCare account, but there was a glitch that prevented the card from being reactivated immediately. She said that she’d try activating it in a few minutes, and got my contact information so she could let me know as soon as it was activated.

At this point I expected to have to wait around hoping to slip in line sometime. However, Kellie immediately, and without a thought, took me down the Genius Bar and had me take a seat. She went in the back and got Zak, who attended to me right away. I was taken aback, and admittedly was waiting to be put on hold, but no… I had Zak’s full attention with no wait time. He did his magic to the best of his ability, but warned that it may be some really odd edge case that only disappears after a complete disk wipe. (Zak fixed the problem partially, enabling me to get to work for a couple days. Unfortunately the problem was only solved by wiping the machine. Thank heavens for SuperDuper! I’m hard enough on machines that I trash the Windows OS to the disk wipe stage in 6–9 months. It took me over two years to hose OS X so I can’t complain.)

Anyhow, I received an e-mail from Kellie the next day explaining that the ProCare account was still fussy. She assured me she’d either get it fixed or issue a new one. Two days later I received an e-mail from her that told me that the ProCare account was fixed.

Between Kellie and Zak, this kind of service still blows me away. For the type of hardware that my professional work demands, Apple hardware and software tends to be slightly cheaper than comparable Windows laptops even with VMware Fusion and an extra Windows license factored in. That, along with Unix underpinnings of OS X, was a strong case initially to choose a Mac, but did so with trepidation. The tremendous service and customer care has kept me coming back.

Kellie and Zak demonstrated that even within a company with outstanding customer focus it’s possible to be so far ahead of everyone else that you’re alone. Two thumbs up, and I’ll take my socks off and use my big toes up for a total of four thumbs up. Thanks!

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