December 2013 MSS Newsletter
24/7 Live Phone Reception
Two years ago, MacAtoZ added a reception service so that every call we received during regular business hours was answered by a real person. We believed—and still do—that this was infinitely preferable to putting callers into a "phone tree" where you are forced to listen to a series of automated recordings and to push various buttons to try to get help. (Indeed, is there anything more vexing than being on hold in one of these systems then hearing, "Your call is important to us"? Answer: No.)
The response to our reception service has been overwhelmingly positive. We've liked it too, with one caveat: Not all our clients' computer issues happen during regular business hours. As no amount of hoping is likely to change that, we've set out to solve the problem.
Effective January 15, 2014 you can call MacAtoZ (503-507-0410) at any hour of the day and talk with one of our receptionists here in Salem, Oregon.
You don't have to think, "It's too late to call" or "I don't want to bother anyone so I'll just call in the morning." Beginning January 15, call whenever you like—whenever it suits you—and talk with one of our fabulous receptionists.
Since we need our beauty rest, we won't necessarily be available to chat if you ring at 1 AM, but you can leave your message with reception and we'll return your call as soon as we're able (which is to say both vertical and coherent). We hope this expansion of our reception service will allow you to get any Apple help you need even more quickly than before.
MacAtoZ Hourly Rate Change
Beginning January 1, 2014 the MacAtoZ standard hourly rate will change to $120.
This is the first rate increase in more than two years. Our rate remains substantially lower than our "competition." (For example, the just-out-of-high-school kids at Best Buy's Geek Squad start at $150/hr.) Perhaps more importantly, MacAtoZ remains a better value and offers three distinct advantages (among others):
- Not only is MacAtoZ less expensive, but we're also Apple Support Essentials certified (most recently in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion). That means that not only do we say we know about Apple gear, Apple confirms it. You wouldn't visit a doctor who wasn't licensed or consult with an attorney who hadn't passed the bar exam. If your computer and its data are important to you—and we suspect that they are—we would strongly recommend that whoever you use be Apple certified.
- In that same vein, we are also members of the Apple Consultants Network (ACN), an international organization of consultants, technicians, and trainers run by Apple. Being an ACN member gives us exclusive access to Apple's engineers, sales teams, and resources as well as to other ACN members. This is an incredibly powerful asset: If we don't know the answer to your Apple-related question, through the ACN program we can undoubtedly find someone who does.
- Finally, we carry $1 million in business liability insurance because we want you to have every confidence in us. If there were ever a problem, you're protected.
believe you'll find that MacAtoZ remains the best-priced, best-qualified Apple consultancy in the mid-Willamette Valley.
Small MSS Price Increase
After years of holding the line, we are having to slightly increase (less than $1/month) our MacAtoZ Service Suite (MSS) program costs. MSS annual program costs change beginning January 1, 2014: Tier 1 will be $49, Tier 2 will be $69, and Tier 3 will be $99. All one-time set-up fees remain the same, at $20, $25, and $30 respectively. This is the first increase since we begun the MSS program in 2007, and with this small increase (less than $1 per month) we believe MSS remains an unparalleled bargain. We are unaware of any comparable program at such a low cost. The peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly who you can call with your Apple-related issues may be worth it all by itself.
In order to celebrate the holidays with our families, we will be closing the office on December 24, December 25, and January 1. For the two weeks of December 22-January 4, MacAtoZ will be providing remote support to MSS clients only. (This means you!) Support for new clients or non-MSS members will be handled on or about January 6. This level of support is one of the benefits of being an MSS member, so please don't hesitate to call (503-507-0410) should you require assistance.
MacAtoZ Year in Review
First and foremost, THANK YOU. Your ongoing support of our business is what allows us to continue to serve the mid-Willamette Valley and to help people with their Apple technology.
We have an amazing year planned for 2014
We started January with a Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG) presentation about all the new, fun hardware gizmos (Lockitron, DoorBot, etc.) that were coming to the market. In late January/early February we attended Macworld in San Francisco to pick up new tips and tricks for our clients and to review new products that folks might find useful. We also began offering Social Networking consulting on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. In March, we attended the MacTech BootCamp in Seattle, and did a SMUG presentation about online social networking. In April we gave another SMUG presentation, this time about online Privacy & Security. We also announced the availability of our Image Restoration service, wherein we can take your old, faded photographs and dramatically improve them for you. We worked hard throughout the late spring and summer to improve our online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and LinkedIn. (Check them out and you'll find many testimonials.) In October, we moved our office from South Salem to the Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry (CCBI) on 626 High Street NE. (We'll actually be moving yet again in January, but this time only within our business suite.) In December, Ty passed the OS X 10.8 Support Essentials certification, adding to his Apple certification collection.
starting with a SMUG presentation about OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" on January 14, and we are so glad that you are part of it. Our best wishes to you for a wonderful new year, and again, our deepest thanks.