Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Tops Laptop Magazine’s Tech Support List for Third Consecutive Year

Avram Piltch of Laptop Magazine summarized their findings for why they ranked Apple first for the third year in a row:

Apple offers the best tech support in the business, year after year. The company’s website and mobile app are loaded with helpful, step-by-step tutorials and, whether you reach them via phone or live chat, support reps are knowledgeable and friendly. Apple also answered Twitter messages quickly and accurately.

Henry T. Casey wrote up the full report card:

While calls did not go perfectly, Apple’s customer support team provided solutions in a speedy and positive manner. The company does not get any points for finally creating a Twitter support account (and is it too good for Facebook?), but we do applaud the team running that account for the timely, helpful replies.

If Apple wants to improve its support, it should ensure support techs learn about all of the new features so that they can give completely accurate answers to questions on topics such as iCloud Documents. Its Twitter account could also improve by providing answers directly, instead of linking to posts where the content is found. Overall, though, Apple offers the best support of any laptop manufacturer, as it has for many years.

It’s good to hear that Laptop continues to find Apple’s support channels the best in the industry, but I worry that it’s seeing a reduced focus within the company. Yesterday, I linked to a report from MacRumors stating that Apple will no longer be training their Genius Bar staff in Cupertino, or even on real devices.

This is a small thing, but I’m a little concerned about the cumulative effect of changes like these. I noticed a degradation in service quality last year when I found it very difficult for me to get an appointment, through the usual means, for an iPhone battery swap. When I did manage to get an appointment for that recall program, my store — predictably — didn’t have any batteries in stock.

When Marco Arment noted on Twitter that he was also finding it hard to get support for his iPhone 7, a bunch of people replied with their tales of Apple Store support woe: lots of waiting around, parts not in stock, and repeat visits to resolve the same issue. I assume people would be less likely to reply if they weren’t having issues, but there was an alarming volume of replies along similar lines.

All told, the combination of long wait times, hard-to-get appointments, a focus on self-service within the Support app, and less robust Genius training seems like bad news for maintaining Apple’s long-excellent support channels. I hope reviving higher calibre service options is on the company’s radar.