simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Cult Meets Attitude
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Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Cult Meets Attitude

The cult like phenomenon surrounding Apple Mac users is well known. In fact, Guy Kawasaki wrote of it in his book, The Macintosh Way. He advances the concept of marketing a business by creating an evangelical customer base. This may sound far fetched, but only if you haven't met some hardcore Mac users.
But we have a small problem. Even with the tremendous success of Apple computer and Steve Jobs bringing it back from the brink of disaster, the market share of Macs is quite small. And the architecture of the Mac is not open as with the PC world - people don't build and customize their own machines. It is a very proprietary world. So what about service? There's the big problem. Prior to the Apple stores, there was virtually no where to go. And when you pay a premium for a product, you want your machine treated like a special baby by dedicated experts who are as zealous about Macs as you are. Ideally people who belong to the same religion and don't even service other machines. Is there such a place?
Yes there is - Tekserve at 119 W. 23 Street in Manhattan. Founded in 1987 by David Lerner and Dick Demenus, their original location (also on 23rd Street) was on an upper floor - getting off the elevator, you were greeted with sound of a Mac chime. You entered a secret world that you knew immediately was Mac centric and cool - there was an antique Coke machine and a swing.
Until the recent openings of Apple stores, Tekserve was the only game in town - the only place to get walk-in Mac service. There was definitely a strong attitude at the old location - not unusual for a business that has no competition and holds all the cards.
The new location is greatly expanded and occupies a retail space on 23rd Street. It still has a number of unique things in the store, like a giant fish tank (seen in the photo) and the old coke machine from the previous location. I'm not sure if things have changed, but I still see a waiting area for service - people take numbers and sit and wait, reminiscent of a doctor's office. In a more competitive environment, this would be a serious Achilles Heel. I understand that the Apple store service areas are also very busy, with lines and waiting for service.
The Tekserve staff has a reputation for competence and does even give free phone advice. Clients are still willing to wait for what they believe is the best in town - some are pleased with the experience, some are not. Try an online search for "Tekserve" and "attitude." You'll see what I mean :)


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