Apple’s Tech Support Is Not As Good As It Used To Be, Study Claims

According to a study conducted by Minnesota-based research firm Vocal Laboratories (aka Vocalabs), Apple’s lead in tech support quality is slipping, while consumer satisfaction scores for HP are improving.

Vocalabs interviews people by telephone right after a customer service experience, and for this study completed 4,161 surveys between May 2008 and June 2011.

The firm found that Apple continues to lead both Dell and HP in customer service quality for phone-based technical support, but customers are reporting more problems with the automated part of calls.

In interviews immediately following a support call, 58 percent of Apple customers were “Very Satisfied” with the experience during the first half of this year, compared to 47 percent of Dell customers and 53 percent of HP customers.

Apple’s satisfaction score is down 15 points from a year ago, while HP has improved 9 points over the past two years.

Says Peter Leppik, CEO of Vocalabs:

“Apple used to be well ahead of the pack in tech support. Now it would be fair to say that they are merely at the front of the pack. Apple used to lead on nearly every metric for support quality. Now there are several metrics where Apple is tied with its competition, or even trails.”

It’s worth noting customers remain quite satisfied with Apple’s support agents, with 77 percent of customers in the first six months of 2011 indicating that they were “Very Satisfied” with the technician, compared to 56 percent of Dell customers and 61 percent of HP customers.

However, only 24 percent of Apple customers reported being “Very Satisfied” with the automated part of their support calls, trailing Dell with 36 percent and HP with 40 percent.

In surveys held between May 2008 and June 2011, 40 percent of Apple customers reported a problem with the automated part of the call, nearly double the 21 percent rate from a year ago.

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