Apple's customer service suffers in Q2, study says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2015
A study from market research firm StellaService published this week seemingly reveals a rapid decline in Apple's customer service capabilities, from a slight slip in shipping fulfillment to longer wait times for online and phone support.




As represented in the latest Stella Benchmarks report, which monitors and evaluates online retailers through daily performance evaluations, Apple's combined shipping, returns and customer support metrics landed it in 25th place overall for the second fiscal quarter of 2015. The results stand in stark contrast to a third-place finish in the fourth quarter of 2014.

It should be noted that StellaService recently modified its benchmark scoring methodology and was therefore unable to compare quarter-on-quarter results.

Under the new system, Apple dropped to 14th place when it came to shipping online orders, a metric judged on correct product fulfillment, checkout issues, product damage during shipping, delivery time and more. For example, shipping fulfillment now stands at about 2.6 days, down from 3.1 days during the same time last year. Apple also improved on same-day shipping, with StellaService technicians seeing fulfillment on all such orders for the last eight consecutive months.

Apple also took 14th place in returns, which was scored based on evaluations pertaining to refund authorization time, inclusion of packing labels, availability of prepaid packing labels and overall processing time, among other metrics. Importantly, it took an average of 4.4 days to receive a refund for returned merchandise, nearly twice as fast as the collective performance of all other monitored electronic and media companies.

Interestingly, the iPhone maker failed to rank as a top-25 company in phone, email and chat services, areas in which the company traditionally excels. Scores for these measurements were based in part on speed, for example total time to a live phone operator or chat specialist. For fiscal quarter two, the time it took to reach a live representative by phone slowed by about 30 seconds to 121 seconds, close to the segment average of 128 seconds. On the bright side, Apple representatives boosted issue resolution rates to 99 percent.

Chat wait times increased to 63 seconds on average over the past quarter, up from 34 seconds in the quarter prior. While chat availability remained at 100 percent, issue resolution rates fell from 97 percent to 94 percent, sequentially. Although Apple's chat wait time is some 20 seconds slower than the sector average, agent availability and issue resolution metrics are much higher.

Increased phone and chat support wait times seem to be growing issues for Apple as the company steadily grows its customer base. When Apple Watch preorders launched in April, for example, phone response wait times nearly tripled, while chat wait times saw a six-fold increase.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    First off how are they getting their data? I call bs, looks like another paid/fake group for wall street manipulators.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Maybe this is just what you expect from a luxury brand. /s

    One quarter isn't enough to draw a conclusion.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Apple is DOOMED. Fire Tim, Angela and Jeff now.

    Who is StellaService and has AI reported their stuff before?
  • Reply 4 of 40
    "Apple representatives boosted issue resolution rates to 99 percent". I don't think the 'top 24' listed even come close to this number, at least any of the ones that I have dealt with. As far as wait times increasing - this is all related to overwhelming demand for products.

    I have never had a problem with Apple service. I have no idea how they scored this but I smell a rat.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    The article mentions "second fiscal quarter of 2015" but when another company details many other companies they tend to refer to the calendar quarters, not specific fiscal quarters for each company. If it is indeed Apple's 2nd fiscal quarter for 2015 then it's unusual, but if it's actually Apple's 2nd calendar quarter for 2015 then that makes sense due to the Apple Watch.

    Maybe this is just what you expect from a luxury brand. /s

    One quarter isn't enough to draw a conclusion.

    No, but it' t it's enough to remote on.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    This is so not true... Right now apple has increased its staff to a point where advisers are actually waiting for calls.. Sometimes even waiting a long time so in coming calls are being answered right away. This company doing the report needs to check is facts again.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,142member
    teejay2012 wrote: »
    "Apple representatives boosted issue resolution rates to 99 percent". I don't think the 'top 24' listed even come close to this number, at least any of the ones that I have dealt with. As far as wait times increasing - this is all related to overwhelming demand for products.

    I have never had a problem with Apple service. I have no idea how they scored this but I smell a rat.

    I'm glad you haven't but some people have including myself. Not all the time but it happens.
  • Reply 8 of 40

    That's funny, I have had nothing but great experiences:

     

    1. My mom was having a hard time getting her iMac, iPad and iPhone to sync contacts and calendars. I called Apple on her behalf. They walked me through a quite involved process of resetting all the devices sync settings. It went very smooth, and the agent was extremely nice and helpful. Everything works perfectly now.

     

    2. I had an issue with my 42mm SS Apple Watch where after two great weeks with it, it suddenly stopped recognizing it was on my wrist. I had to enter the passcode each time I looked at it. I eventually turned the passcode off, but then I wasn't getting notifications. 

     

    After a few back and forths with Apple Support, they determined that one of the sensors stopped working. They sent me a pre-paid return box, and two days later, I had a brand new watch that has been working perfectly.

    -----

    So, I'd say they are doing a fantastic job. 

  • Reply 9 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Wait times? Luckily that is a problem you CAN just throw money/staff at.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    I've never had a problem with Apple deliveries, wait times or anything else. Does StellaService have any connections to Google or Microsoft?
  • Reply 11 of 40
    I'm calling for TIm Cook's head on a platter.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,241member

    Oh brother. I've owned Macs, iPods, iPads and iPhones since 2002 and I've called Apple support once. They were very helpful. 

  • Reply 13 of 40
    indyfxindyfx Posts: 319member

    Originally Posted by BlueFire1 View Post



    I've never had a problem with Apple deliveries, wait times or anything else. Does StellaService have any connections to Google or Microsoft?

     

    Yep, although privately held they are connected to google.

    (I think the majority of their revenue come from an ongoing relationship with google)

  • Reply 14 of 40
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    Wait times at the Genius Bar have gotten bad over the last 6 months as well. Always seem like they never have enough techs working these days. Floor full of salesmen standing around, but only two or three Geniuses, whereas that back bar used to be staffed by 6-7. One could argue that they just weren't busy at the time I visited, but out of curiosity I tried to make an appointment from my phone while I was waiting in store, and the soonest appointment was 4 days away. I'm not liking this new trend, as their in store support is the main reason I recommend Apple products to my friends and family. If that starts to slip, shareholders are going to notice.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,115member
    "It should be noted that StellaService recently modified its benchmark scoring methodology and was therefore unable to compare quarter-on-quarter results. "

    This makes the whole damn comparison moot. Oh, and who the **** is StellaService? First time I ever hear of this company, but of course their "findings" will be splashed on every blog and news site in short order.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cornchip View Post

     

    Oh brother. I've owned Macs, iPods, iPads and iPhones since 2002 and I've called Apple support once. They were very helpful. 


     

    Same here... I began publishing professionally with a Mac IIVX in 1992 and have only found it necessary to call them once in 23 years... five years ago they replaced the motherboard on a MacBook Pro in a couple of days, completely free of charge, even though it was out of warranty.

  • Reply 17 of 40
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    "It should be noted that StellaService recently modified its benchmark scoring methodology and was therefore unable to compare quarter-on-quarter results. "



    This makes the whole damn comparison moot. Oh, and who the **** is StellaService? First time I ever hear of this company, but of course their "findings" will be splashed on every blog and news site in short order.

     

    Suffers compared to what? And unless they,ve got one hell of a sampling, I doubt they'd actually know what their talking about even without this tidbit.

  • Reply 18 of 40
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 249member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Wait times at the Genius Bar have gotten bad over the last 6 months as well. Always seem like they never have enough techs working these days. Floor full of salesmen standing around, but only two or three Geniuses, whereas that back bar used to be staffed by 6-7. One could argue that they just weren't busy at the time I visited, but out of curiosity I tried to make an appointment from my phone while I was waiting in store, and the soonest appointment was 4 days away. I'm not liking this new trend, as their in store support is the main reason I recommend Apple products to my friends and family. If that starts to slip, shareholders are going to notice.

    The Genius Bar wait times is the only thing mentioned that concerns me. A few seconds longer on a phone call with tech support is not problem.
    But having to wait 4 days for a Genius Bar appointment? That is a major issue.

    Apple has had the best personal tech support and quick Genius Bar appointments are part of that.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,199member

    I must say, I have been a happy customer since the early 90's, however during that quarter Apple managed to piss me off on multiple occasions!

  • Reply 20 of 40
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member

    I do have a few issues with Apple Support.

     


    1. Sometimes they answer the phone so fast it freaks me out. Let it ring dammit! I haven't had time to work myself into a self-righteous rage!

    2. They are too polite. I wonder if the whole experience would be quicker if they were a little less polite.

    3. They seem to genuinely care. Again, that freaks me out.

     

    I think by offering such an excellent service, they are denying me the opportunity to work through my anger issues.  As soon at British Gas offer their own mobile phone, I'm switching to them.

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