|December 2017 Newsletter
We're making a major change to our phone system. After months of offering what we consider sub-par phone service, we've jettisoned our reception company, and we've taken to answering the phones ourselves. This means we're making a trade-off, and I want to explain why we're choosing what we are.
First, the downside: We won't be offering 24/7 live reception anymore. I thought this was a big deal when we first introduced it, because it meant that clients or interested parties could call any time, day or night, and talk with a real person, even if it was just someone at our answering service. It turns out that what most people do in the middle of the night is sleep, not call their friendly, neighborhood Apple consultant. Based on our phone logs, not offering 24/7 live phone reception—particularly outside of business hours will inconvenience just about nobody.
Now the upside is this: Even with more restricted phone answering hours (weekdays 10 AM to 3:30 PM), when your call is answered, it will be answered by us. That means you're either getting an Apple technician (me or Dynee) who can help you immediately or, more likely, Stephanie Meagher, our office operations manager, who can schedule an onsite appointment or remote session.
Because we know who our existing clients are, there won't be any questions about contact information, how to spell your last name, or the rest of that sort of nonsense. We can just start helping you right away.
If we're on the phone already or if it's after hours, we're begging you to leave us a message. Although we're not changing our promise about when calls will be returned—by the end of the next business day—our hope and expectation is that we will be able to return most calls substantially sooner than that and certainly faster than we were able to through the answering service.
Call MacAtoZ at 503-507-0410
Weekdays between 10 AM and 3:30 PM
If unavailable, please leave a message
Calls will be returned by the end of the next business day
2017 in review, 2018 on the horizon
We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve you in 2017. We've had so many wonderful encounters with people in their homes, at their place of business, or on the phone, that we've lost count. Thank you for helping to make the "work" we do, enjoyable and meaningful.
Speaking of meaningful, we're still over the moon about Britany's new daughter. You're welcome to send her congratulations via email (email@example.com) but please don't expect a reply or send any work-related issues her way while she's on maternity leave. She busy with more important things!
This year saw our techs deliver our standard array of presentations to the Salem Macintosh Users Group. We also added to our collection of Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) certifications by passing the macOS Sierra test. If you'll permit a moment of self-congratulation, both Dynee and I passed with scores over 95%, well above the 75% required.
Stephanie Meagher joined the company as our office operations manager this year, and we can't sing her praises highly enough. She's invented and refined our internal policies and procedures (among other things), allowing us to help more clients than ever. We are incredibly lucky to have Steph on our team, and I dare say that if you've talked with her or met with her, you know exactly what I mean.
As we near the close of 2017, I want to thank you again.
One of the things that makes MacAtoZ different is that we make a distinction between a "customer" and a "client." A "customer" is someone involved in a transactional relationship. Go to Fred Meyer, buy some milk, and there you go: You're a customer. There's nothing wrong with being a customer. In fact, we're all customers on some level, and we have that experience almost daily.
But we don't have "customers" at MacAtoZ. We serve clients. One of the dictionary definitions of "client" is "someone who's under the protection of someone else" and that's exactly who we see ourselves as helping. MacAtoZ is your protector and guide in the ever-changing world of technology. We don't get to fulfill this role unless you also want that kind of deep, long-term relationship.
We're so grateful that you do.
We will have some exciting Sentinel news coming in 2018, and we can't wait to share it with you. In the meantime, our best wishes to all of you for a wonderful holiday season.
As in previous years, MacAtoZ will be closed for the holidays (from December 23 through January 1). Nonetheless, you should feel free to call (503-507-0410) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have technical support problems. Although it may take slightly more time than usual to get back to you, we set aside time to help Sentinel program clients and remain eager to assist with any issues you may encounter. If Sentinel notices a problem, rest assured that we'll be watching and will contact you during the break if necessary.
macOS 10.13 High Sierra was hit by horrible security bug last week that put on full display exactly why we recommend that people DO NOT UPGRADE until at least the ".3" version. Happily, the vast majority of our clients heeded our advice and remained on macOS 10.12 Sierra.
The emergency email we sent to those few clients who'd ignored our advice and upgraded to 10.13 did not include the phrase "we told you so," and I'm decidedly self-congratulatory with my own restraint. As always, when we think it's time to upgrade, we'll say so here.
Currently, we are recommending the latest operating system upgrades for AppleTV, AppleWatch, and iOS devices. In the case of iOS 11, be prepared for a learning curve on your iPad or iPhone, as the user interface is substantially different in some instances.
If you're looking for stocking stuffers, we have a few ideas:
- A two pack of 3' Anker Lightning cables for ~$20. These cables have reinforced stress points, a double-braided nylon exterior, and a toughened fiber core (among other things), making them much stronger than Apple's rather flimsy Lightning cables.
- A 2-port Anker 24W USB charger for iPhone or iPad for ~$12. This the fastest iPhone/iPad charger we've found, and the build quality is as good or better than Apple's own chargers.
- I love the Moko case I have for my iPad. It protects well, it offers 50, 70, and 100 degree viewing angles, and it's substantially less expensive than Apple's cases and covers. Here's a few cases—make sure you pick the one that's right for the model of iPad you have: iPad 2017 9.7", iPad Pro 10.5", iPad Air 2, and iPad Pro 12.9".
- Western Digital My Passport portable external USB hard drive for Mac. Available in sizes ranging from 1 TB to 4 TB. Relatively inexpensive and reliable. Perfect for external storage or Time Machine backup.
- APC 600VA UPS Battery Backup and Surge Protector. Okay, this isn't going to fit in a stocking. But if you're plugging in expensive electronics of any kind into the wall outlets, do yourself a favor and protect them with one of these. At $60, it's cheap insurance against a power surge that might fry your iMac or your big screen TV.
We receive a small commission on any of the products you purchase through the above links. If you're shopping at Amazon.com you can always gift us with a small commission by using our referral link: www.macatoz.com/amazon.
Your prices stay the same and you help us so that we can help you.
We're trying to get the word out about our company and the services we offer, and we could use your help. If you know of anyone who's a Mac user or considering becoming a Mac user, we'd appreciate it if you'd pass along our name and contact info.
Another way to help us is to write us a testimonial. If you've enjoyed your experience with us, be it onsite, remote, or through Sentinel, we'd love to have a statement from you saying so (send to email@example.com). We'd love to feature your words on our web site or other outreach materials. Thank you!