Apple customer service hit by massive traffic spike one day after iPhone 6 launch

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2015
While Apple's customer service team was able to cope with expectedly high traffic on iPhone 6 launch day, the company was apparently overwhelmed by callers a day later, causing wait times to increase to over 20 minutes.


Source: StellaService


According to statistics provided to AppleInsider by customer service analytics firm StellaService, Apple's customer care team answered calls in 1 minute and 9 seconds on launch day last Friday, but that number fell to more than 20 minutes by Saturday. An exact figure is unknown, as the analytics firm cuts off time-to-agent metrics at 20 minutes per call.

What caused the spike remains unknown, though many consumers reported Apple Stores as being jam packed on launch day, with some complaining of fast stock-outs. Specifically, the iPhone 6 Plus appears to be in low supply.

iPhone 6 launch day service was considerably faster than the three-minute wait times experienced earlier in September, suggesting Apple bolstered phone lines with extra staff. Time to reach a representative by phone started at around 1 minute and 20 seconds in January, then slowly increased to two minutes in July and reached a peak of three minutes in September.

Last Friday's stats compare to Apple's iPhone 5s release in 2013, which saw response times hit nearly seven minutes, a six-minute jump from the norm at the time.

StellaService uses e-commerce analysts to engage with representatives working for online retailers, quantifying the speed and quality of order fulfillment, customer service and returns and refunds.

The long wait times jibe with Apple's announcement that a record ten million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units were sold over the first three days of availability. The performance not only beats last year's iPhone 5s launch by one million units, but did so without the help of major smartphone market China.

Initial launch countries included Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the U.S. and the U.K. Apple will continue its worldwide rollout in 20 more countries this Friday, with an eye on getting the new iPhone models to 115 nations by the end of 2014.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    What caused the spike remains unknown...

    Heh... really? It couldn't have anything to do with a mass of customers switching over to their new iPhone 6? Or with the various network problems that were occurring on that day? Some form of this article could probably be run every year...
  • Reply 2 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post





    Heh... really? It couldn't have anything to do with a mass of customers switching over to their new iPhone 6? Or with the various network problems that were occurring on that day? Some form of this article could probably be run every year...

    Love me some rehashed linkbait :)

    /friendly ribbing.  You know we love you AI.

     

    It would be interesting to see what percentage of the calls were nothing more than the Plus being out of stock.  Customers unhappy because they can't get a hold of your product are far better than complaints from customers who did get a hold of one and are unhappy with it.

  • Reply 3 of 35

    A good "problem" to have.

  • Reply 4 of 35
    Good problem to have.
    (What SpamSandwich said.)
  • Reply 5 of 35

    It seems that the Plus is outselling the Nonplussed (ha ha geddit?)

     

    Samsung was right after all.

  • Reply 6 of 35
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    File this one under 'duh'. Just like the MacRumors article about some users experiencing battery drain and wifi issues. That's why I told family members (not to upgrade to iOS 8 right away. Wait for a point update.
  • Reply 7 of 35
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,644member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post

     

    It would be interesting to see what percentage of the calls were nothing more than the Plus being out of stock.  Customers unhappy because they can't get a hold of your product are far better than complaints from customers who did get a hold of one and are unhappy with it.


    This. ^  

     

    I was an AHA for a short amount of time and there were plenty of calls during slow periods that were just people wanting to talk about the products, or wondering when the new X was coming out, or what the new X features would be, or wondering what some arcane setting in their phone did, etc blah dee frickin' blah.  I shudder to think what it would have been like during a new product launch - particularly a record setting one like this.  Remember, the Apple customer support people have no prior knowledge of the new products - just like the customers.  They are completely in the dark until day of launch.

  • Reply 8 of 35
    Looks like Apple's worst day was half the wait of Time Warner on a weekday evening, considerably better than VeriSign, and way better than my post-ACA Attempts to call Aetna, on whom I have to just give up half the time.

    Apple could probably run call centers once everyone realizes they are doomed. Doomed, I say!

    And it sounds about the same as Apple and AT&T together the night I learned my Mac had been abandoned and the 4S I was holding would remain useless for a while longer.

    Can I have my real ID back, which I had for many years before there was even an iTunes? If it has to be an email why is it called an ID?
  • Reply 9 of 35
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    That's why I told family members (not to upgrade to iOS 8 right away. Wait for a point update.

     

    Handsfree SIRI was worth it for me, I upgraded on day one, and haven't run into any issues yet.

  • Reply 10 of 35
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post

     

    It seems that the Plus is outselling the Nonplussed (ha ha geddit?)

     

    Samsung was right after all.


    That's if one assumes the same amount of iPhone 6+ were available for sale as the iPhone 6, which I doubt. We may never know because Apple doesn't break down model sales.

  • Reply 11 of 35
    Is there a website out there yet that shows inventory at local retail stores?
  • Reply 12 of 35
    i question how this service gets their information and how reliable it is, but that aside I"m not really shocked by the notion that their phone service was busier than typical. On Friday most folks were in line trying to get a phone. Saturday those that didn't were probably clogging up the lines to whine and try to find out when they might get one.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by s!ke View Post



    Is there a website out there yet that shows inventory at local retail stores?

    I may be wrong but didn't the Apple store app show inventory levels?

  • Reply 14 of 35
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
  • Reply 15 of 35
    I called Apple on Saturday because after I preordered two iPhone 6's, AT&T sent a text basically saying that my monthly fee would be increased and that we would need to switch to AT&T Next, or buy the phone outright. After being on hold for about 20 minutes, they basically said I would have to deal with AT&T.

    So then after calling AT&T and waiting, they said to come into the store. So she did and avoided waiting in the long line. They were ready when she arrived with a regional Vice President. He explained that they weren't ripping us off, but we still needed to purchase the phone.

    So.... She had to drive 45 minutes to the Apple Store to basically return the phone and repurchase it. What a hassle!

    This could have all been avoided with a bit clearer purchase point information during preorder as well as an option to buy the device outright on carriers other than T-Mobile.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    hentaiboy wrote: »
    It seems that the Plus is outselling the Nonplussed (ha ha geddit?)

    Samsung was right after all.
    Not really, probably you will find its a 60% 40% ratio with small one ahead.
    apple ][ wrote: »
    Handsfree SIRI was worth it for me, I upgraded on day one, and haven't run into any issues yet.
    oh, I found one error, turned on device(full boot) and it was lagging, I mean 15 minutes lag, the screen didn't come on till it was plugged in(yes, battery was near full) and it took the old 2 finger boot down to fix, so 1 major error, but that's it.
  • Reply 17 of 35

    I wonder how this company collects their analytics data? Do they have someone call in and wait up to 20 minutes and then record how long it took? If so, they are skewing their own results by tying up a place in the line. 

  • Reply 18 of 35
    I must have been single-handedly responsible for people having an average 20 min wait on Saturday: I got through in five minutes, but it took -- believe it or not -- SIX hours for the Apple tech person to resolve my issues (don't even ask; suffice it to say that iTunes has become a pos software vis-a-vis syncing, esp. music that's shared between the computer and the cloud).

    She was the most incredibly patient and competent tech support person I have ever encountered, Apple or anywhere else. We had to rule out all sorts of contingencies before finally realizing that iOS 8 had to be reinstalled. Even that, ultimately, did not solve the problem between music in the could v. the computer. (App syncing also created issues, but not movies, photos, TV shows, podcasts, books, or info).

    Bottom line: Despite major league frustrations, Apple Support was truly stellar. Exceptional.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member

    Wait, so you mean Apple got MORE calls the day after they sold millions of new devices, with new software, than the day before? I don't believe this shocking, unbelievable news!

  • Reply 20 of 35
    This is how I imagine most of the calls went...

    "5GB Free space for iOS8? Ain't nobody got space for dat"
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