Apple slipping, but still leads Dell and HP in tech support satisfaction

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's lead over HP and Dell in customer service satisfaction rankings has narrowed over the last year, but its customers still reported fewer nuisance issues and greater satisfaction by a significant margin.



According to the National Customer Service Survey report by Vocalabs, which compares the customer service quality of different companies in the same industry using call statistics and survey data collected from over 2,100 users immediately after they place a service call, Apple's customer service remains the best in its class.



However, the percentage of Apple's customers reporting that their problem was solved on the call dropped 7 points to 60 percent over the second half of 2010. Additionally, the number of customers reporting satisfaction with Apple's automated call handling also slipped.



Vocalabs' calculates a "nuisance factor" for Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, the industry term for automated telephone systems, which figures in customer reported problems such as irrelevant or repetitive steps or difficulty reaching an agent.



By that metric, 35 percent of Apple customers in the second half of 2010 reported issues, compared to just 21 percent a year ago, or 31 percent in the first half of 2010, a drop of 4 percentage points within 2010. In contrast, both Dell and HP improved by 9 and 7 percentage points, respectively, over that same period.



Their improvement wasn't enough to catch up, but it did narrow Apple's lead. Last year, Apple's "Nuisance Factor" was less than half that of Dell's, while the most recent survey numbers indicate just an 11 point lead.



In general satisfaction rankings, 66 percent of Apple's customers reported that they were "very satisfied" with their call, while only 51 percent of HP callers and just 49 percent of Dell's customers said the same.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    That's what happens when you start getting big time into the masses.

    Some people will never be satisfied. And some people are just too dumb to navigate automated phone menus.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,701member
    I can't comment much about the personal support service with Dell, but when it comes to supporting our racks of Dell PowerEdge servers, their support (5+ years) has always been first-rate. They even continued supporting us over the phone on equipment that was no longer covered. Before that, they were pretty bad when they outsourced everything overseas.
  • Reply 3 of 38
    I often try to guess at who wrote the article by the title.



    DED?s titles are usually a dead give away. But not this time. And the article stayed pretty much to the facts also.



    Well done.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jacksons View Post


    I often try to guess at who wrote the article by the title.



    DED?s titles are usually a dead give away. But not this time. And the article stayed pretty much to the facts also.



    Well done.



    Minus the fact that this story is full of BS.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... According to the National Customer Service Survey report by Vocalabs, which compares the customer service quality of different companies ... immediately after they place a service call, Apple's customer service remains the best in its class. ...



    It seems like a gigantic flaw in this survey that it only included telephone service. It appears from the way this is worded that it doesn't track IM or email based support.



    I don't know about down in the US of A, but in Canada, Apple's phone support is some of the worst I've ever experienced. Huge wait times, hold "music" that is just high pitched static (and amazingly it's been that way for years!), rude representatives, hang-ups, etc.



    For that reason I *always* try to deal with support issues using IM or email, which I would rate as "fantastic" and "good" (respectively).
  • Reply 6 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Povilas View Post


    Minus the fact that this story is full of BS.



    What is your reasoning for this? Seriously. I am curious since I have not had a bad experience (ever) with Apple and their support. I have never seen numbers that attempted to quantify satisfaction (especially with the robophones - I hate them with a passion but have found Apple's very reasonable.)
  • Reply 7 of 38
    askewaskew Posts: 21member
    I would have more faith in this story if the chart didn't have the glaring typo of the word "repetitive."
  • Reply 8 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jacksons View Post


    I often try to guess at who wrote the article by the title. ...



    Why do you care? It strongly suggests you come to the stories with your own set of biases, yet the point of your post seems to be to imply that the writers are hopelessly biased.



    IME "Kasper's Automated Slave" stories are mostly just reports from the field with no commentary or slant. If it's a proper article with a point of view, then the author typically puts their name on it as they should.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    It seems like a gigantic flaw in this survey that it only included telephone service. It appears from the way this is worded that it doesn't track IM or email based support.



    I don't know about down in the US of A, but in Canada, Apple's phone support is some of the worst I've ever experienced. Huge wait times, hold "music" that is just high pitched static (and amazingly it's been that way for years!), rude representatives, hang-ups, etc.



    For that reason I *always* try to deal with support issues using IM or email, which I would rate as "fantastic" and "good" (respectively).



    Wow - My exp here (in the USA) has been just the opposite. Hold times (queued up) are normally short for me (a min or two) and never had a rude representative - I have had a couple that it took a minute to explain that "yes, I already tried that to no avail" but calls have been excellent - I have never used enail/IM so I can't comment on that.
  • Reply 10 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post


    That's what happens when you start getting big time into the masses.

    Some people will never be satisfied. And some people are just too dumb to navigate automated phone menus.



    Ouch. This smacks of elitism. I'm envisioning dumb masses too neanderthal to punch the right buttons on their phones. I hope that's not what you're saying. I'm glad you're not in charge of service improvements at Apple support. AVR is really helpful for both callers and businesses and there's always room for improvement.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I don't know about down in the US of A,.



    My couple of calls have been really great experiences. I quickly get to the right tech who is someone who can speak to me in my language (highly technical), is very personable (this is just a nice bonus as far as I'm concerned) and can solve my problem on that call. I don't seem to remember any high pitched static on wait times.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Why do you care? It strongly suggests you come to the stories with your own set of biases, yet the point of your post seems to be to imply that the writers are hopelessly biased.



    IME "Kasper's Automated Slave" stories are mostly just reports from the field with no commentary or slant. If it's a proper article with a point of view, then the author typically puts their name on it as they should.



    My bias is to read factual information. And the typical DED article goes against that bias.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    What is your reasoning for this? Seriously. I am curious since I have not had a bad experience (ever) with Apple and their support. I have never seen numbers that attempted to quantify satisfaction (especially with the robophones - I hate them with a passion but have found Apple's very reasonable.)



    I'm talking about the fact that allegedly more people are having issues now than a year ago. It's just hard to believe, because it's same Mac OS X, same iOS and same devices and same hardware etc. 21% to 35% is 14% more - makes this a BS.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Povilas View Post


    I'm talking about the fact that allegedly more people are having issues now than a year ago. It's just hard to believe, because it's same Mac OS X, same iOS and same devices and same hardware etc. 21% to 35% is 14% more - makes this a BS.



    I think this article is about the quality of the support, and the number of people who are satisfied with their support calls vs. those who aren't. It's not saying that Apple support received more calls (or fewer calls).
  • Reply 14 of 38
    I think it speaks more to the quality of the customer calling, frankly the phrase "there is no dumb question" has lost a lot of meaning, because as a support professional I can definitely say that people are more hostile than they've been in a while and just don't have a basic grasp on how to do anything. Apple is getting more of the people now just fed up with Windows, but they expect that the Mac runs on Magic and should be able to read their minds, so I think the satisfaction rating has more to do with higher expectations than the rest, from people who are frankly clueless, Apple's wait times are better than anyone else, they are still easier to deal with than anyone else.



    I often want to tell people, "Yes, it is a Mac, but you still want to read the "manual""



    If people ever actually figured out Google, support pros would be less busy, but able to focus on more useful tasks.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    Prior to her death last May, for a year and a half my wife was confined to a nursing home. During that time her lifeline to the world was her MacBook. Although I regularly brought the computer home for updates and a thorough look-see, after her death I discovered a few non-performing keys. I called Apple and explained the situation, telling them truthfully that I was sure, as my wife had suffered from Parkinson?s disease and was thus pretty shaky, that the MacBook had suffered a spill. I said I didn?t expect them to fix it for nothing, I just wanted it fixed. The Apple service reps reply? ?Whether it?s your fault or our fault the repairs are on us.? They were.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by illinisouth View Post


    Prior to her death last May, for a year and a half my wife was confined to a nursing home. During that time her lifeline to the world was her MacBook. Although I regularly brought the computer home for updates and a thorough look-see, after her death I discovered a few non-performing keys. I called Apple and explained the situation, telling them truthfully that I was sure, as my wife had suffered from Parkinson?s disease and was thus pretty shaky, that the MacBook had suffered a spill. I said I didn?t expect them to fix it for nothing, I just wanted it fixed. The Apple service reps reply? ?Whether it?s your fault or our fault the repairs are on us.? They were.



    What a touching story. Apple gets some flack for being pretentious or snooty, but in my experience they've almost always been a class act. My one bad experience was with my 2004 iBook, when the logic board fried itself and I had to pay $300 to replace it



    More companies could learn from Apple's customer service. Just the other day, I tried to contact my health care provider about my plan. For 5-10 minutes I was wandering the automated voice system trying to find the right one. And of course, there was no "escape route" to speak to a real human being. Just had to keep trying each branch of the tree until I chose the right one
  • Reply 17 of 38
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post


    I think this article is about the quality of the support, and the number of people who are satisfied with their support calls vs. those who aren't. It's not saying that Apple support received more calls (or fewer calls).



    It must be the tens of millions of people ringing in about the iPhone 4 with it's MAJOR DESIGN FLAW!!!™



    *WARNING may contain traces of sarcasm.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post


    Ouch. This smacks of elitism. I'm envisioning dumb masses too neanderthal to punch the right buttons on their phones. I hope that's not what you're saying. I'm glad you're not in charge of service improvements at Apple support. AVR is really helpful for both callers and businesses and there's always room for improvement.



    I think what he is trying to say is that this problem started when they started selling iPods and iPhones to the Neanderthals at WALMART.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    I hope they finally trained India support not to hang up on customers and if they cannot find contract number then ask for help their supervisor rather than being rude and suspect that someone tries to trick them.



    It happened to me. Only good guys in Canadian support (because US support seems to be redirected to India) were helpful to find my multi year support contract and then redirect back to India with all neccessary info.





    We used to have US onshore support where engieers were very helpful even on Saturday morning and resolution was in minutes. Now we have to deal with a business-cultural-communication gap.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Povilas View Post


    I'm talking about the fact that allegedly more people are having issues now than a year ago. It's just hard to believe, because it's same Mac OS X, same iOS and same devices and same hardware etc. 21% to 35% is 14% more - makes this a BS.



    Having everything stay the same yet having more people complain is certainly a valid possibility. Considering the massive increase in sales, there are bound to be some people who bought apple product with certain false expectations, and were irate when it turns out to be not true. And I don't think Apple could increase the number of tech support team to match the increased user base while still keep up the skill level. So service quality is most certainly going to suffer.
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