Apple Tech Support Dampening, Survey Shows

The automated portion of Apple’s tech support calls has seen a slight loss in stamina recently, with more customers signaling low quality service, according to the latest survey from Vocal Laboratories Inc.

Vocalabs’ most recent report reveals that Apple continues to lead Dell and HP in customer service quality for phone-based technical support, despite customer reports that there are some problems with the automated part of the call.

The metrics company says 58% of Apple customers were “very satisfied” with the experience during the first six months of 2011.

In telephone interviews immediately following a support call, 47% of surveyed Dell customers reported the same level of satisfaction. HP had a 53% score.

Regarding the oscillating scores of Apple Inc. and Hewlett Packard, Vocalabs said, “Apple’s satisfaction score is down 15 points from a year ago, while HP has improved nine points over the past two years.”

Apple’s support agents are still doing a swell job, according to 77% of surveyed customers. These people said they were “very satisfied” with the technician they talked to.

Dell and HP scored lower - 56% and 61%, respectively.

“The automated part of the call is a different story, however, with only 24% of Apple customers being ‘Very Satisfied’ with that part of the experience, trailing Dell’s 36% and HP’s 40%,” Vocalabs said.

“In this survey period, 40% of Apple customers reported a problem with the automated part of the call, nearly double the 21% rate from a year ago,” the analytics firm added.

“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.”

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