toggle

AAPL Stock: 101.49 ( + 0.53 )

Printed from http://www.macnn.com

Apple service lagging behind growth?

updated 10:40 am EDT, Fri October 12, 2007

Apple service lagging?

Apple's rapid growth in recent years may be coming at the cost of actually keeping customers happy, say some observers. While sales of Mac computers are escalating at three times the speed of PCs, and the iPhone is already seizing a good share of the cellphone industry, Apple is now dealing with a more diverse group of buyers, extending beyond the "cult" following it has had since the 1980s. "The customer base is now more diverse, including students and mainstream consumers, and it's harder to satisfy as a whole," says Lopo Rego, a marketing professor with the University of Iowa.

Apple continues to maintain some of the highest ratings in customer satisfaction, but a University of Michigan survey published in August revealed a four-percent drop in the company's score, down to 79 percent. The last instance of a slide in Apple scoring was 2001. Meanwhile, anecdotal complaints on websites including Apple's own support forums are said to be full of increasing vitriol, with some owners of Apple products swearing off the brand entirely due to bad service. The company has also experienced recent, high-profile technical issues, from "bricked" iPhones to repeated lockups of new iMacs.

BusinessWeek contends that a part of the problem is Apple's "pristine" reputation, which is what draws many customers in. When it becomes evident that Apple is more fallible than media hype suggests, customers react angrily. It is long-term customers who may feel they have received enough from Apple to overlook occasional problems.

COO Timothy Cook defends Apple's service reputation, claiming that internal analysis shows wait times have not changed in stores or on phone lines, and that customer satisfaction has actually gone up two to three percent since 2006. Calls in particular are said to be answered on a two-minute average, with issues solved the first time in over 90 percent of cases. Apple retail chief Ron Johnson notes that stores are hiring more personnel, in keeping with a remodeling strategy.




by MacNN Staff

POST TOOLS:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Complicated stuff...

    ...are these 'puters & those less experienced may not understand as well...

    I must admit though the whole 'sign in for help' at the genius bar seems like a juvenile & frustrating experience for a walk in business customer, especially when bumped by procare members... I have experienced a 1 hour 'wait' to simply drop off an item for warranty service - it seems crazy & anti-customer oriented, although it does let Apple track every visit & create a captive 'shill' store audience, which I'm sure serves Apple in some ways ...

    I never get that treatment at my independent dealer who is still doing well I think at leat partly because of this...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: complicated stuff

    On the sign-in stuff, its also confusing if you've never done it before, since its not clear you need to do it. When I went in to get my iPod fixed/replaced, I just walked in, sat down, and waited to be helped (I'm sorry, is that too hard?). Only to have someone finally ask me what I was there for, and then led up to a sign-in station.

    All this so someone can look at the iPod, go "Hey, it doesn't work!" and replace it (although they didn't have a replacement, so they had to order one, which took several more annoying days).

  1. ptkdude

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Mishandled Battery Issue

    I can attest to increasing service problems. My Macbook Pro batter is part of a "known issue", and AppleCare offered to replace it, but wanted me to pay for the new battery. Apparently, your Apple product has to burst into flames in order to get Apple to take care of you.

  1. JTh

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Room for improvement...

    but I will gladly take Apple Support over nearly any other large chain. ProCare members pay for "priority service" (as taken from the Apple webpage), so if it's a big enough issue...buy ProCare.

    Apple should make it more evident, however, that you can make a reservation from home up to 14 days in advance (even non-ProCare). I ended up Googling for it to get to the correct page.

  1. gskibum3

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    bobolicious...

    You are correct. I am very busy and all I want to do is drop the stupid broken thing off for repair and get back to work. I detest the mandatory bureaucracy of having to make an appointment scheduled 1 week out, and arrive on-time or early only to have to wait in line anyway. It's utterly frustrating.

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    these responses

    demonstrate the kind of pig-ignorance of users that somehow get attributed to "bad service"

    Really, what kind of an idiot stands around aimlessly waiting to be helped, or waits an hour? Where do you people live? Ive literally never waited more than 30 seconds at my AppleStore. I think we are seeing alot of urban-legend, hyperbolic, Im too stupid to know what to do anecdotes.

  1. rtbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ptk: the battery...

    ...issue you had contradicts my experience, which seemed to follow standard protocol. i walked into VERY busy SoHo apple store. got signed up for genius bar. did have to wait for like 20 minutes, cuz it was packed.

    but when my turn came, the geek simply checked a spec in the system profiler. confirmed that the battery was operating outside of spec. went to the back and fetched me a new battery.

    i think that is how it is supposed to work. and i don't have applecare. have never needed it.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: these responses

    demonstrate the kind of pig-ignorance of users that somehow get attributed to "bad service"

    If the company can't or won't educate its customers, then they are at fault for the customer's ignorance. Why should I have to investigate how you're supposed to walk into an Apple store to get help? Especially when, if you're on the phone with tech support, they say "Take it into your local apple store and get help from them".

    Really, what kind of an idiot stands around aimlessly waiting to be helped, or waits an hour? Where do you people live? Ive literally never waited more than 30 seconds at my AppleStore. I think we are seeing alot of urban-legend, hyperbolic, Im too stupid to know what to do anecdotes.

    That's right, we're all just stupid idiots. Why do we wait around waiting to be helped? Because that's what you do most times at most places. And there's nothing blatantly clear in the store that says "To get help, sign in and wait to be helped". Even when you do sign in, its sit and wait to be helped (unless you're lucky enough that the 'geniuses' are free).

    Oh, and it must be nice to be able to go to an apple store that has either no customers, or go when no one else is there, so you can be helped within 30 seconds.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Quite right

    These "grumblers" are totally correct: when I had a toothache, I called my dentist and his staff insisted that I make an appointment and would have to wait. I explained to them that I am much more important than the proles and they should buck their ideas up.

    Needless to say, once I was done with that dentist he could be sure he wouldn't have any problems with HIS teeth anymore. Take my advice: a half brick in a sock is your key to better service in the good old USA.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Apple service??

    First of all, I promise that all companies have complaints. I have been there. People will complain about anything. --What sign? Do you mean the one I am looking at? What's it there for? :-) --Sure they have to do it. But why do "I" have to do it?? :-)

    The key is what is the average customer getting for service. I have had a bunch of Apple products and for those few that needed service, it has been fast and effective. Sometimes too much so. When my mother board died, they changed the board and the hard drive cause it was dropping below spec. Unfortunately, I had not backed it up recently.

    Bad Apple for letting me NOT back up my hard drive. Shame on them. But they were genuinely sorry for giving great service. --- apology accepted. :-)

    Just my 2 cents worth. PS. Bad Apple service? Buy a Dell and Microsoft OS. LOL

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

MacNN Sponsor

Recent Reviews

Patriot Supersonic Rage XT 128GB USB drive

USB thumb drives are getting larger by the day, their growth speeding along with the availability and expansion of memory chips. But h ...

Autodesk Smoke 2015

Since May of this year, Autodesk has been shipping the highly anticipated update to its high-end post-production video editing suite, ...

Crucial MX100 256GB SATA-3 SSD

While the price-per-gigabyte ratio for magnetic platter-based hard drives can't be beat, the speed that a SSD brings to the table for ...

toggle

Most Commented