Apple continues to lead Dell and HP in customer service quality for phone-based technical support, but customers are reporting more problems with the automated part of the call, according to the latest study conducted by Vocal Laboratories (Vocalabs).
In telephone interviews immediately following a support call, 58 percent of Apple customers were "very satisfied" with the experience during the first six months of 2011, 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 nine points during the past two years.
Customers remain highly satisfied with Apple's support agents, with 77 percent of customers in the first six months of this year being "very satisfied" with the technician; as compared to 56 percent of Dell customers and 61 percent of HP customers. The automated part of the call is a different story, however, with only 24 percent of Apple customers being "very satisfied" with that part of the experience, trailing Dell's 36 percent and HP's 40 percent. In this survey period, 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.
"Apple used to be well ahead of the pack in tech support," said Peter Leppik, CEO of Vocalabs. "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."