My son needed to book an appointment with a ‘genius’ at the local Apple Store to find out what’s wrong with his MacBook. So he went online to www.apple.com/uk/retail/ to book an appointment. The reservation system took him through the various steps and accepts a reservation for 09.20 tomorrow. But then the Apple system pops up an “Oops, there was an error” window. So we phone the phone number listed for the store (01223 253600) to check that the reservation actually got made and get the usual “For [this] press 1, for [that] press 2…” rigmarole. It then helpfully tells us that Apple “regrets” that it unable to discuss reservations on the phone. To do that we are advised to log into www.apple.com/uk/retail. Bah!
LATER: In the interests of fairness, I should report that (1) the system had registered the appointment, and (2) that the ‘genius’ was admirably efficient, courteous and helpful. The hard drive had scrambled itself and the machine was repaired under warranty within the hour.
STILL LATER: Kevin Cryan pointed me at this nice essay by Clive James on dealing with computer systems and automated call services.