updated 10:10 am EDT, Thu August 12, 2010
Apple trumps Dell and HP in phone help
Apple has managed to widen gap in the quality of its over-the-phone technical support even further, Vocalabs said in a study today. As of the first half of 2010, the Mac producer now has a 21 percent lead in overall satisfaction with help versus its nearest rival, HP, and an even wider lead over Dell. About 66 percent calling Apple for help said they were "very satisfied" where just 44 percent and 43 percent said the same with HP and Dell respectively.
The margin was exacerbated when delving into whether the call resolved the problem. HP has made large strides in solving problems during calls, but an eight percent hike meant that just 52 percent of customers ultimately had their computer trouble fixed. Apple, meanwhile, resolved 74 percent of problems over the phone. Dell remained well below par with only 44 percent getting an issue fixed.
Quality of the agents themselves was Apple's strong suit: about 82 percent of callers were very happy with the company's support staff, but only 58 percent of HP owners and 52 percent of Dell owners could say the same.
Vocalabs didn't try to explain the factors behind the gap, but Apple is helped both by hardware design and support location. The relatively narrow range of hardware reduces the number of device and software conflicts and helps technicians focus on deeper knowledge of what exists. Apple support in North America is still based in the continent and reduces the language barriers while increasing the likelihood that agents can use the products they support on their own time. Most, though not all, Dell and HP support is outsourced to either India or the Philippines to help lower the prices of the PCs.
The results aren't completely representative but cover a larger than average sample of 2,112 callers who were asked just after they had completed a support call.