Brand loyalty tested with Apple products in Utah County

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Apple consumers give NASCAR a run for their money when it comes to brand loyalty. Once you go Apple, you never go back.

However, even with an avid group of users, one problem local consumers are facing is the lack of Apple services in Utah County. Especially with the high concentration of students between BYU and UVU, one would think the multi-billion-dollar company would provide more accessible services to the student users or Utah County residents in general.

Even with private companies providing Apple services and products like Simply Mac or the Apple counter at the BYU Bookstore, students still don’t trust anything without a lower-case ‘i’ in front of it or an Apple logo attached. Instead, they insist on making the trek to Salt Lake to receive the branded Apple care from the “Genius Bar.”

Even with limited resources to repair their Apple products, students still prefer to stay loyal to the Apple brand.

When posed with the question of where they have their Apple products serviced, several students agreed the Apple store is the only way to go. Among them is UVU student Cory Holton.

“I usually end up making a whole day trip out of getting my laptop fixed,” Holton said. “I don’t even bother with the other places because I know that they cannot provide me with the services I need. I just get it taken care of right the first time at Apple, and plus it gives me time away from Provo.”

Apple stores provide quality customer service and care; however, these side retailers are capable of providing similar services.

Jon Chiazzese, a specialist at the Simply Mac location in Provo, was more than willing to share his expertise.

“Simply Mac is a privately owned company that is Apple certified,” Chiazzese said. “Each year our employees are trained and certified by Apple to ensure we are current in our services and updates. For the most part, we have been authorized and trained to handle anything the Apple stores can.”

Likewise, the CougarTECH section of the BYU Bookstore has been stamped as an Apple-authorized campus store. Manager Craig Tracy states that all the employees have received the appropriate training.

“We have been authorized by Apple to do basically everything,” Tracy said. “We go through an annual training by Apple to have our certifications renewed. We are repairs-certified and can handle anything within or out of warranty.”

The closest Apple store to the Provo area is located at Fashion Place Mall in Murray. Store Manager Ryan Gill explained the differences between the private vendors and actual Apple stores.

“These third-party affiliates, like Simply Mac, are personally owned, and Apple incorporates them by making them ‘Apple certified,'” Gill said. “The main difference is that because they are their own company, they can charge their own rates and also carry older products.  At Apple stores we are only allowed to carry the latest and greatest and sometimes don’t have the means or equipment to service products more than five years old. In fact, that is where these stores come in handy. They often salvage parts from older models to use in repairs, which is why I have recommended them from time to time.”

When asked about future plans of placing an Apple store in Utah County, Gill said he wasn’t allowed to comment.

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