What’s life like in the Apple Authorized Service Provider program?
The example of ComputerCare, a computer repair and IT consulting firm with offices in Santa Clara, Calif. and Seattle, sheds some light on that topic. ComputerCare has been an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or AASP, since 2008. The company also provides warranty service and repair for Lenovo, Toshiba and HP products.
Company president Georgia Rittenberg said the scope of ComputerCare’s Apple repair business extends to all of the company’s products, including the iPhone. In 2017, Apple chose ComputerCare for a program that lets it manage iPhone repairs and calibration at the AASP’s location. Typically, such repairs would take place in an Apple Store. But customers can walk into ComputerCare’s office for an iPhone fix, rather than making an appointment with an Apple Store’s Genius Bar.
“We’ve had an additional influx of customers because of our ability to have faster turnaround time for iPhone repairs,” Rittenberg said.
Consumer and business services
The iPhone/iOS business has generated consumer walk-in traffic, but businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle are also looking to get iOS devices repaired.
“We have seen an increase in those corporate accounts providing mobile devices to employees as part of the onboarding process, so we have seen an increase in corporate business,” Rittenberg said.
For business clients, ComputerCare offers free pickup and delivery for Apple devices and the other hardware brands it services. That’s no small consideration in the Apple world.
“So, instead of the IT person having to take five laptops and make five different appointments at the Genius Bar, we send a driver to pick up the equipment,” she said.
In addition to supporting laptop repairs, the pickup service also makes life easier for businesses that need to repair iMac all-in-ones or Thunderbolt displays, which they would otherwise have to lug into an Apple Store.
“People really appreciate that,” Rittenberg said.
ComputerCare’s Apple repair service has carved a niche among midsize companies that haven’t hit the purchase threshold at which Apple will provide an onsite warranty solution. “There’s not a ton of options for those mid-level companies, she said, noting such business either take their equipment to an Apple Store for service or ship their gear to an Apple depot for repair.
Rittenberg estimated about half of the company’s Apple support customers fall in the mid-sized business category.
Apple Authorized Service Provider program levels
A look at the Apple Authorized Service Provider program structure places ComputerCare in a broader context. AASPs, in general, are companies that provide repair services to consumers and businesses. Companies with full AASP status are authorized to repair Apple gear for any customer. Limited Service Providers, however, are restricted with regard to the products they may service and customers they serve.
Apple Premium Service Providers, meanwhile, occupy the top tier of the AASP program. Companies must meet Apple’s requirements from both a technical and customer service standpoint to become a Premium Service Provider. To document their adherence to those requirements, program participants survey customers on subjects such as how well technicians carry out repairs, how quickly those repairs are made and the technicians’ ability to answer customer questions.
ComputerCare maintained Apple Premium Service Provider status for 2016 and 2017, narrowly missing out in 2018. Rittenberg said the company has “set some goals to work toward … to qualify for next year.”
Filling the gap
Apple, working with companies within the Apple Authorized Service Provider program, has been able to expand the availability of repair services to business and consumer customers. Rittenberg said Apple is making its customers aware that service providers are available as an alternative to a Genius Bar appointment.
“There are limited ways to get service on your device and sending [customers] every time to the Apple Store isn’t a solution,” Rittenberg said. “I really value the way Apple has partnered with their service providers. They really do view them as a partner and understand service providers are very important to the market and filling that gap.”