Apple recognizes M Tech for its customer service

The service center completes between 20 and 30 repairs each month.

Sadelle Schroeder

For the fourth time in the past five quarters, the Apple product store in Coffman Union was recognized this month for its customer service.
M Tech Computer Store at the University of Minnesota Bookstore received Commitment to Excellence recognition from Apple for the fourth quarter of 2010. The program identifies Apple Authorized Service Providers in the top 5 percent of customer satisfaction rates. In the fourth quarter, 248 AASP locations were recognized.
M TechâÄôs Apple service center completes 20 to 30 repairs each month, which is one of the criteria Apple considers when acknowledging its successful stores. M Tech manager Jim Kyle said this number has been increasing.
In contrast, the Office of Information TechnologyâÄôs Coffman Union Tech Stop support center saw about 400 students each week in October. Tech Stop completed 600 repairs during the month on hardware and software issues, with most repairs completed at their location on University Avenue Southeast.
Mary Crimi, who has been with OIT for 15 years in various positions, recently became Tech StopâÄôs supervisor.
Crimi said that, in September, 3,670 students contacted Tech Stop for both software purchases and issues and concerns with computers and other products.
M Tech sales associate Joe McCarron, who has been working with the store since 2008, said that generally, students who have issues with Apple products visit M Tech for assistance, while students having issues with PC products find help at Tech Stop.
Crimi said that if an Apple computer is purchased at the bookstore at the beginning of the school year, it is usually covered by a warranty. If a student has a hardware issue with an Apple product and it is under warranty, they are directed by Tech Stop to M TechâÄôs Apple service center. Apple products no longer covered by a warranty are commonly repaired by Tech Stop.
Brandon Lattin, a fifth-year University student who has been working with Tech Stop for more than a year, strongly recommended purchasing an extended warranty for any computer or product to cover any accidental damage, as repairs can be costly.
Computer science sophomore Dominick Ormsby  brought his Acer computer to Tech Stop after the operating system had been corrupted.
âÄúThey confirmed my problem and explained a solution,âÄù Ormsby said, adding that his issue was resolved at no cost.
Kyle said students having issues with Apple products should visit the Coffman BookstoreâÄôs Apple service center first. There, issues with Apple computers can be resolved by the bookstoreâÄôs three full-time certified technicians, who were licensed and trained by Apple in an online process that costs several hundred dollars to complete. These licenses give retailers like Coffman Bookstore the ability to provide the services, such as fixing minor issues and authorizing repairs.
Kyle said having three full-time technicians was an advantage, as a small number of knowledgeable technicians provide customers with continuity when solving a difficult or recurring issue.
âÄúWe strive to provide the best service possible to students,âÄù Kyle said. âÄúWe know that students need their machines running at optimal capacity.âÄù
Kyle said that when a student sends an Apple product to be repaired, the turnaround is about two or three days.
History student Cedric Gilbert-Rolfe sent his Dell laptop to be repaired by Tech Stop last Thursday after a virus infiltrated his system. He was informed Monday that his repairs were complete, demonstrating Tech StopâÄôs average turnaround time, which is around 3 to 5 days but fluctuates depending on the volume of repairs being done at the time.
Crimi said the goal of Tech Stop is to be able to fix or refer any problems students might be having, making Tech Stop more responsive to the needs of students.
Tech Stop employees, who work in both locations and rotate through other positions within OIT, receive one-on-one training and are also able to access resources online.
Crimi said that Tech Stop might implement a system in the future to survey customers after products are repaired.
âÄúWeâÄôre trying to make it better,âÄù Crimi said of Tech Stop. âÄúTechnology is a moving target.âÄù