Apple Tech Support Tips: 4 Steps to Bend Apple to Your Will

We usually love our Apple (s aapl) products. They work well, are easy to understand and when we have a problem, Apple works quickly to resolve it. Most of the time. What happens when Apple simply won’t play ball? Read on and find out how to work Apple’s system.

Step 1: AASP and Geniuses

For many people, their first interaction is with the Apple store, however some will go to an Apple Authorized Service provider (AASP). AASP determinations can be overridden by an Apple store, so going to the Apple store would be your first escalation if you are not satisfied by the AASP. Typically a Genius determines you have a problem, but alas, you may be out of warranty. Maybe they are claiming the item was abused or tampered with and you disagree. Often you are just barely out of warranty or fall right outside a Repair Extension. Be sure to keep careful notes of the dates and times of your conversations and with whom you’ve spoken. All is not lost. Read More about Apple Tech Support Tips: 4 Steps to Bend Apple to Your Will

Web Work 101: Be Your Own Tech Support

Hammered phone I’m not suggesting you crack open your computer to fix it, but with a few of the tactics outlined in this post you can solve many of your computer problems on your own.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather solve your problems instead of waiting for a live support person to pick up the phone and sweeten you up, telling you how important you are and how the company wants to provide you with the very best service possible. Yadda yadda … just ask me what my problem is already!
Here are 10 steps to becoming your own Mr. or Ms. Fix-it: Read More about Web Work 101: Be Your Own Tech Support

Apple Investigating Poor Battery Life With iPhone OS 3.1

3g_iphone_battert_deadAt first I thought I was alone, and that my iPhone 3GS was defective, but now it looks like battery complaints relating to iPhone OS 3.1 are far from isolated incidents. Apple (s aapl) is officially investigating the matter, according to The iPhone Blog, which is something the company generally only does if enough people crow loud and long enough.

My own experience is that the iPhone charges in far less time than it normally would, and then only lasts about 12 hours on standby with my average daily usage of around three hours talk/browsing/gaming time. That’s probably a full 12 hours of standby off of what it used to be able to handle post-updating. Read More about Apple Investigating Poor Battery Life With iPhone OS 3.1

Apple Warns of Programs Snow Leopard Won’t Play Nice With

snow_leopard_boxIn order to prepare for the arrival of Snow Leopard, and hopefully deflect some frustrated tech support calls, Apple (s aapl) overnight updated oodles of support documents and knowledge base articles. One of said documents could be vital to people looking to upgrade today, as it contains the blacklist of really incompatible software for 10.6.

The list is split into two parts. The first, which features software that will be automatically moved to an “Incompatible Software” folder, contains some familiar faces, like Unsanity’s Application Enhancer 2.0.1 and earlier, versions of which caused a fair amount of BSOD (including one of my own) when users upgraded from Tiger to Leopard. At least your system won’t just seize up and die this time around. Other programs on this list include: Read More about Apple Warns of Programs Snow Leopard Won’t Play Nice With

Why Small Business Owners Need a Mac

imac3quartersSmall business owners have it hard, especially in the current world economic climate. They have lots to do, not enough resources, staff, and time to get it done. For many small business owners, computers are only one more thing to worry about. It doesn’t have to be that way.

For the past few months, I’ve been in the process of moving from one side of the country to the other. Now that my family and I are settling into our new location, I thought I would share some stories of small business owner encounters I’ve had during my travels. From the end of April to the middle of July, I crossed the country twice by car, and three times flying. Each time, I was reminded of why a Mac is a great small business machine. Read More about Why Small Business Owners Need a Mac

How to Evaluate New Applications and Services

530438_measure_upIt’s a great time to be a web worker. Almost every day, a new site, service or product comes on the scene that promises to make our work more efficient (or more fun). Some areas, like project management or image editing, are crowded with options. And in order to gain a following, many services are being offered inexpensively or at no cost.
But as Paisano wrote recently, current conditions won’t last forever. Many sites will eventually become fee-based; others will shut down when their funding runs out, or when their owners decide to move in a different direction.
So when I evaluate a product that I’d like to incorporate into my company’s workflow — especially a product that will be visible to clients — I try to consider the product’s feature set, along with the issues raised in Judi’s 2007 WWD post. I also ask the following questions: Read More about How to Evaluate New Applications and Services

Customer Service at the End of the Line

customer-serviceAs web workers, we are at the end of a supply line that brings together Internet connections, software, services and operating systems produced by large multinational corporations. We’re the 21st-century equivalents of the general store proprietors of an earlier age: we choose from a vast array of products and services, and offer those that will best meet our customers’ needs. We repackage those products, add our own creativity, and, importantly, include the service and support that large corporations can’t, or won’t, provide.

Many technology companies have come to the end of the line on providing personal customer service. I won’t point any fingers, but some of the biggest names in software, web sites and online services have no way for customers to contact them by phone or even online chat; even email forms go unanswered. Instead, users must rely on volunteer help on bulletin boards, discussion groups and the like.

We should be taking advantage of our “end-of-the-line” position. Web workers and small businesses can maintain professional relationships with customers in ways that large companies cannot. Clients should know that they can get help from us, and we should make clear what support services we offer. Service is how we can differentiate ourselves, compete with larger businesses, and thrive in difficult economic times. Read More about Customer Service at the End of the Line

Apple Changes One to One Subscription Program

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In an article in USA Today, Ron Johnson, Apple’s (s aapl) senior vice president of retail, describes upcoming changes to the hugely popular One to One training and support program.

Originally part of ProCare, One to One was launched in May 2007. $99 bought a 1-year membership, granting one 60-minute training or support session per week, up to a maximum of 52 sessions per year. The content of the sessions could be based on an established theme created by Apple, (eg. “Simple to Switch,” “Moviemaking” or “On the Go,” amongst many others) but could just as easily be based around a specific issue or subject of a customer’s choosing.

Since its launch, One to One has proven hugely successful, with a current subscriber base of half a million customers. Read More about Apple Changes One to One Subscription Program

ContactHelp: Quick Telephone Support Numbers and Tips

In a recent post, 5 Free Online Answer Sites for Tech Questions, I discussed places you can go online for getting tech questions answered, and readers added some useful ones to my list, including the impressive Stack Overflow site. These kinds of sites can be very helpful for web-based answers, but what if you want to ask, say, a hardware question and you need to call a live support technician quickly? AltSearchEngines is calling out a very useful site to visit when you do: ContactHelp.

Read More about ContactHelp: Quick Telephone Support Numbers and Tips

App Store Roundtable: After Sales Support

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In this installment of the App Store Roundtable, I talked to a few developers about issues with supporting their apps after a sale has been made. Many developers are concerned at the difficulty of providing any form of after sales support to customers. Minor problems with an app often lead to a bad review and a dissatisfied customer, when a better support system could have quickly resolved the issue.

The App Store is a wonderful platform, but I would love to have better customer service tools. The App Store asks the shopper to place their trust in the developer with Apple serving as an intermediary. Apple’s reputation goes a long way in building trust, but by providing better customer service tools Apple would turn their developers into a dedicated customer service team. By adding features like an app FAQ section, the ability to send a refund, and a standard “contact” button, Apple could strengthen customer relationships.

— Carrie Segal, developer of Colorific Read More about App Store Roundtable: After Sales Support