December 22, 2013

UBASE

Ubase01Although I only worked for Apple Retail for one year in 2010 and 2011, there were two mantras that I preached to everyone I encountered there; go ahead and spend the extra money on Apple Care (Apple’s extended protection plan), and always, I repeat always “back that shit up!”

During my time working at the Easton Town Center location in Columbus, I witnessed, experienced, and took part in some downright amazing acts of customer service. Over-and-above the call of duty was a common daily occurrence. When you get right down to it, this level of care is at the heart of of what makes the Apple experience so special. Don’t get me wrong, the company is not perfect. In fact, I have often remarked that to succeed they really only needed to be better than Microsoft. That rant will need to be saved for another mush longer and anger-fueled diatribe.

Apple has, however, created an in-store environment and a user culture that literally promotes (as its ads suggest) not only thinking differently, but behaving differently, too. It is hard to quantify as a whole, but you know it when you feel it. Clearly legions of Apple users and employees agree and subscribe to this unique and refreshing way of handling the relationship customers have with the company, as well as the products they sell and service. It is this environment that makes it a pleasure to shop at any Apple store worldwide or just to browsing, hanging out, and learning in an atmosphere of sharing, knowledge, diversity, and creative inspiration. To me, that is the brilliance of the retail concept that changed the way all progressive businesses think about their relationship with customers in the retail world. The thinking behind it and the unmatched success this concept produced is outlined brilliantly in this Macworld article from May, 2011.

Fast forward nearly three years to Daejeon, South Korea, where I have been teaching English far away from the comfort of even a single (proper) Apple Retail location. One of the most amazing things I still can’t believe about the “Miracle on the Han,” Korea’s unprecedented postwar economic growth, is that it is was and is still accomplished primarily with stripped-down PCs running outdated versions of MS Windows, and almost exclusively using the otherwise obsolete browser, Internet Explorer. While Koreans fierce loyalty to all things made here and Samsung products in particular, many are finally warming up to the idea that there may be an alternative.

Apple products are available in a variety of stores and authorized resellers like Frisbee and Concierge, most offer little or no help in the way of Genius Bar advice and repairs. Enter UBASE. While my definition of the word “update” varies differently from the prevailing Apple wisdom, I have succumbed reluctantly to regular updates of my machine and its applications.  After updating my MacBook Pro with the recent (and free for the very first time) operating system download, OS X Mavericks, I found my otherwise dependable and lightening-quick Mac struggling with even the simplest of tasks. The spinning pinwheel or “Beach Ball of Death” is the Mac equivalent of the the PC hourglass, and was something that I rarely if ever encountered on my machine. The fact that its sudden and infuriating appearance only occurred after  the OS update, was a coincidence I can only now logically explain.Ubase06

After trying every simple and logical fix I could think of, I turned to a few Apple Geniuses back home for advice. The consensus was that my hard drive was failing and that, hopefully, I had followed my own advice to back up my data. As my computer had become my lifeline and “all things media” center, I had be regularly and religiously using Time Machine with an external hard drive to indeed keep all my valuable digital data preserved. After a bit of research online, I was able to determine that I would not need to send the entire device overseas for service for a fix, and that UBASE, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, was located conveniently just a short subway ride away.

Not only was the experience everything I have come to expect from Apple, it was a valuable lesson in the logic in outstanding customer service worldwide. Not only was my computer quickly identified and accurately diagnosed at the UBASE service bar, it was repaired under my Apple Care Protection Plan in just a matter of days with no charge whatsoever. The staff there, while only minimally fluent in English, plugged in my computer and performed a thorough diagnostic and got me in and out quickly.

If you are in need of certified Apple service abroad, simply track down your nearest UBASE location. Upon entering, take a number for either mobile devices (left button) or computers (on the right), and relax. You will find yourself in the same capable and experienced hands of the professionals you should have come to expect from your favorite Apple store back home. Apple Care and my back-up have saved my bacon in the very way I had preached to my friends and customers and worked exactly as they were intended. The biggest and most unforgivable tears shed at the Genius Bar were by those  who had suffered a fatal crash and hadn;t bothered to take advantage of the myriad of simple and inexpensive options for backing up their precious media. There is no excuse, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

UBASE Daejeon  is in Yongmun and is open from 10am to 7 p.m. Monday  through Friday. It is also open for diagnosis and repairs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

UBASE Daejeon
242-30 Yongmun-dong, Second Floor

Seo-gu, Daejeon, South Korea
Phone # 042-535-9230

Directions: Take the Daejeon line to the Yongmun Subway Station. Use Exit 7 then go straight for a block and a half. The sign is clearly visible on your right on the Second Floor of the Electronics Land Building (JeonJa Landu).