Research firm claims Apple’s customer service performance fell dramatically in Q2 2015


According to a new report out of market research firm StellaService, Apple’s customer service took a turn for the worse during the second quarter of 2015. The firm, who develops its data by tracking and evaluating online retailers on a daily basis, claims that Apple is now ranked 25th in terms of customer service among the companies it profiled. Retailer L.L.Bean ranked first, while Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts’ former company Burberry ranked 7th. In the “electronics/media” category, however, Apple was the only surveyed company to place.

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In terms of online shipping, Apple fell to 14th place this year, although its shipping fulfillment time fell from 3.1 days last year to 2.6 days this year. Same-day shipping also improved for the company this year. StellaService’s criteria for shipping is based on correct product fulfillment, the checkout process, delivery time, package tracking capabilities, and damage during shipping. Apple is also ranked 14th in terms of returns, which is based on the time and ease of the return process.

Perhaps most notably, Apple did not rank in the top 25 when it comes to phone, email, and chat customer services. Chat wait times increased to 63 seconds this quarter, up from 34 seconds last quarter. Apple’s average 63 second wait is 20 seconds slower than the sector average. Chat availability was 100 percent, although resolution rates fell from 97 percent to 94 percent. For phone service, wait times increased to 121 seconds with a resolution rate of 99 percent. That’s still 7 seconds faster than the segment average (via AppleInsider).

One thing that could potentially almost entirely invalidate Apple’s decline in rankings this year is that Stella recently modified its benchmarking process, so this report, especially the rankings, should be taken with a grain of salt. Although, the specific wait time and success rate numbers were unaffected by that change. During Q4 2014, Apple ranked third overall in shipping speed.

Apple’s customer service has long been a point of pride for the company, but as it continues to grow, keeping up with customer service gets harder and harder, especially with the launch of new products like Apple Watch.

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  1. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    Wonder how much Apple Watch availablty and service effected the results of the survey.

  2. Mark Rudow (@mprudow) - 7 years ago

    What I’ve noticed in the past year is the lack of availability of genius bar appointments. In the past I would have no problem getting an appointment within a day or two, or sometimes that very day. Now it is a least a 3-4 day wait.

    • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

      Over here in The Netherlands it increased to 6-7 days

    • bb1111116 - 7 years ago

      The Genius Bar wait times is the only thing mentioned that concerns me. A few seconds longer on a phone call with tech support is not problem.
      But having to wait 4 days for a Genius Bar appointment? That is a major issue.

      Apple has had the best personal tech support and quick Genius Bar appointments are part of that.

    • Will Van Gelderen - 7 years ago

      Its not even the scheduling, its the wait once you get to the store. The past few times I have been at the Apple store, I haven’t been helped until 45 minutes after my scheduled time. They don’t have enough staff for the number of appointments allowed. Either cut back on the number of people allowed or hire more genius bar reps

  3. emge1 - 7 years ago

    I can attest to StellaService’s findings. As a Mac user since 1992, even though I am not an engineer, I am quite familiar with the workings of Apple’s products and rarely need to call Tech Support. Of late, on the occasions I have called with a question, Level I support’s response seems more that of a Public Relations Officer (on the lines of “I am sure I can help you”, even before I have described the problem) rather then the systematic enquiry process of a knowledgeable support person.

  4. wvb22 - 7 years ago

    I’m still not convinced that Ahrendts is the right person in the right spot. The whole luxury kind of approach isn’t working for Apple. Apple is a tech company first. They need to stay close to their core values. I feel Jony Ive and Ahrendts have too much power now. Jony needs to keep designing great electronics. All the fuss like designing stores and software hasn’t done Apple any good and is just too much for one person to handle really well. Sure, the UI of iOS looks great. Apple Music looks way better then Spotify for example. But it’s a total mess in terms of ease of use. Apple needs to keep it’s laser focus on just designing great products and providing the best service. Ahrendts keeps changing services and product availability. The launch of the Apple Watch was a total mess in my opinion. Even as demand was lukewarm (for a company as successful as Apple, other companies can only dream of launching a product as popular as the Apple Watch).

    • rogifan - 7 years ago

      Jony Ive isn’t designing Apple Music and anyway that has nothing to do with this story.

  5. 1. Analysts are always saying the same despite the fact they will be proved wrong.
    2. Ahrendts is not the right person for the job. I have the feeling from the first time I saw her and I trust my feelings. She may be good for some other company but not for Apple. Sorry.

  6. rogifan - 7 years ago

    Who is this firm and how are they tracking Apple’s customer service? Surveying random people?

  7. iphonery - 7 years ago

    3-4 days wait is still far better than requesting an RMA, paying to mail in the device, and receiving it a week later.

  8. lkrupp215 - 7 years ago

    So you all accept the report of a single company, who by the way is closely allied with Google (look it up)? A market research company no one has heard before this report was released and its research becomes indisputable fact? How does that work anyway?

  9. Max Nucci (@maxnucci) - 7 years ago

    Super frustrated today after my Genius bar appointment (5 day waiting time). Spent 2 hours at the store to wipe my new MacBook Pro clean and reinstall the OS. That did not fix the problem.

    They now expect me to be without a computer for 5 days – a computer that is not even 60 days old – even though it is obviously a hardware warranty issue.

    Last time I was there (also for 2+ hours) they replaced my defective iPhone battery and managed to screw up my power button in the process.

    They agreed to send it out to repair (and provide a loaner) but was told that I would have to set another appointment for that because they were behind and with other people on the waiting list.

    The rep was nice and he was trying to help me, but what really ticked me off was all of the waiting time and appointment setting while a bunch of other employees were there just talking to each-other basically waiting for retail customers to walk in = New customers > Existing customers

  10. Evan Montague - 7 years ago

    This report aligns with my experience of late, sadly.


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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