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Apple's lead over Dell, HP in tech support grows larger

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.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. ruel24

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    +2

    Is this a suprise?

    Dell has had crappy tech support for years! There was a time when Dell support was very good. Then they moved it to India, where I can't understand what they are trying to say, and the whole conversation seems to be a standoff between the tech and myself, I had a very bad session over whether or not they're gonna replace my monitor that routinely drops the video signal briefly. Despite that I told him that everything else was BRAND NEW and very high spec, and the problem existed when it was connected to a different computer, he put me through a 2-1/2 hour ordeal before I finally gave up bothering and I now live with it. This is despite the fact that I paid extra for a 5 year warranty on my monitor. That's the kind of service Dell has. No wonder that company is having problems...

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +4

    Not going to rag on HP or Dell but...

    I think this speaks a lot more about how poor HP and Dell customer service really is. I love Apple customer service but let us be honest--what makes it better is....

    - They are located in N. America, not overseas--big difference!
    - They don't rush you off of the phone
    - They give you their phone # and extension if you have to call again.
    - They understand and use e-mail to send you information you might find useful
    - Repairs are done within days, not weeks.
    - If they can't fix it, they replace it.

    This should be the bare minimum for all customer service, regardless of manufacturer. However, Apple knows this and Dell/HP doesn't--it is now translating into lost sales so maybe they'll figure it out soon.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +1

    It's On The List

    Jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, Windows security, Dell customer service, rap music ...

    After sending three separate techs to replace the motherboard in one of our company's Dell computers that just wasn't working following three separate failures within a week of each other, Dell finally authorized us to send the computer back to them. We kept screaming that it was a lemon (and every manufacturer - including Apple - occasionally produces one.) The difference with Dell in this instance was that the authorization was for further repair work - they would simply not hear of sending a completely different replacement machine. So after having it in their possession for another four weeks and repeated calls for repair progress updates, I finally got through to a supervisor of supervisor. Two hours later he called me back and told me that our machine had been misplaced - and that no one knew exactly where it was!!! When I asked how long it was missing, he told me for about two weeks as far as they could tell. They located it another week and a half later, swapped in yet another motherboard and sent it back to us. When it failed three weeks after that, we junked it. A simple lemon-replacement would most likely have resolved it all many weeks sooner. But Dell just wouldn't do it.

  1. brainworks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2009

    +1

    Dell

    doesn't

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Grades

    More of the same useless stats. First, 66% is not what you'd call a 'great' grade. But that's not the point.

    All they're showing you are the 'Very Satisfied' numbers. That's meaningless to a point. What were the 'satisfied' numbers? The 'somewhat satisfied'? How about the 'dissatisfied's? h***, Dell could (they could, in theory!) have another 40% who were just 'satisfied', and not very because they had issues with Indian support.

    More indicative numbers are the Call satisfaction numbers. However, I must complain (no, I must!) that the idiots who did the chart seem to use 'call satisfaction' when the text of the article indicates it's actually the "Call Resolved my issue". There is a difference, technically.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Oh

    Apple, meanwhile, resolved 74 percent of problems over the phone. Dell remained well below par with only 44 percent getting an issue fixed.

    Dell is below par? What is 'par' for fixing customer problems? 50%? 60%? One would

    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.

    I find this to be the actually shocking number. Considering Dell and HP's staff are out of the country (and I've dealt with some of those Dell staffers), one would think those numbers would be far below 50%.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    0

    And of course ...

    ... people who indicated that the call resolved their issue are at least 50% likely to not be satisfied by that.

  1. DA360

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2009

    +2

    Hardly supprised...

    I'm hardly supprised Dell ranks so low on satifaction of customer support. I, as a on-site tech for Dell, have to deal with their phone support every time a repair has an issue (such as a DOA part) and they just hire script readers that have NO idea what their doing. They even lead US, repair techs, around loops and ask us pointless questions when we already know what the problem is and we just need a part. And our support comes out of Canada and Texas... Its easily 10X worse for the customer.

    Where as the last time I called Apple, I got a person who was very knowlegable and helped me very quickly.

    This is the difference between outsourcing and doing things here, as well as training your people to know your products instead of throwing a script at them. Apple does both things right here. The only other one I'm aware of that does it like this is NIntendo of America. They were very helpful too when I called in to ask questions about the Wii, where as calling Microsoft when my Xbox 360 RRODed, was like talking to Dell, got a person from India that ran me in circles.

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