Nearly 60 percent of Apple product owners said they are somewhat or much more likely to make another Apple purchase following their tech support experience, according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s Tech Services Study. The positive tech service also helped change consumer perception of Apple. Thirty-one percent said they had a much more positive view of Apple after their service.

That service left almost all of the 40 percent of Apple owners who took their Apple devices to the Genius Bar very happy. Nearly 90 percent of consumers who used Apple’s tech service said they were extremely or very satisfied. In contrast, top 2 box satisfaction among all consumer service interactions was 78 percent. A major part of their satisfaction came from the fact that only a small percentage actually paid for their service. According to the report, 88 percent of Genius Bar consumers said their service was free compared to 78 percent of all consumers.

The majority of the support was for troubleshooting (37 percent), followed by product repair (28 percent), how-to support (18 percent), software installation/upgrade (11 percent), and product installation/set-up (7 percent).

“Tech support is a great service for the consumer, but more importantly it’s a brand-building element for the retailer and manufacturer,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in the press release. “People tend to associate any type of tech support as a negative experience, but Apple has demonstrated that those ‘negatives’ can be turned into positive brand experiences and result in a trip back to the store.”

Physical presence is key to creating those positive brand experiences. According to the study consumers were more genuinely satisfied when their service was a personal interaction inside a retail store. Fifty three percent of consumers were extremely satisfied with their in-store experience, more so than any other type of service interaction. Younger consumers, despite their reputation as preferring more virtual interactions, were more likely than any other age group to want to use the service in the store, with 45 percent of respondents preferring this method.

“Retailers are rediscovering the value that services can offer the consumer,” said Baker. “Store foot traffic has declined over the years leaving fewer and fewer in-person interactions. Having a strong tech support in-store model helps fill the transaction void and builds brand awareness and satisfaction.”

A U.S. representative sample of approximately 2,000 adults (18+) completed on online survey through NPD’s online panel in May 2012. Some of the participants were pre-identified as consumers who had returned or needed tech support on consumer electronic devices in the past 12 months.

Source: The NPD Group

MacDailyNews Take: Which is why, of course, Tim Cook, operations genius, reportedly thinks it’s a good idea to hire a cheapskate discounter to run Apple retail straight into the ground.

If the related articles below regarding a post-Steve emphasis on revenue and cost-cutting at Apple Retail Stores are true, Tim Cook needs a wakeup call posthaste. Apple shareholders can do so via email:

Related articles:
Reports persist of Apple Retail Store budget cuts, emphasis on revenue over customer satisfaction – August 28, 2012
After being Browettized, Apple Retail touts numbers – August 20, 2012
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012
Dear Tim Cook: Apple’s retail focus should be on delighting customers, not generating cash – August 16, 2012
Apple Retail Store chief Browett: ‘We messed up’ with Dixons-eque staffing gamble; refutes layoffs – August 16, 2012
Apple retail chief Browett to get $56 million golden hello – May 27, 2012
Apple grants 100,000 shares to new retail head John Browett – April 25, 2012
Tim Cook emails UK customer: John Browett’s role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple Retail – February 1, 2012
Eyebrows raised over Apple’s hiring of Dixons CEO to run Apple Retail Stores – January 31, 2012
Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief – January 31, 2012

Apple Inc.: The most profitable retailer in America – August 15, 2012
Apple’s retail juggernaut is magical and revolutionary in its own right – May 25, 2011
Apple Retail Stores hit 10th anniversary (with video of Steve Jobs’ tour of 1st store) – May 18, 2011
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Apple’s retail stores generate huge sales – December 27, 2007
Piper Jaffray finds ‘gravitational pull’ at Apple Retail Stores – November 26, 2007
Apple thinks different with cash register-less retail stores that bring in billions – November 23, 2007
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How Apple’s Steve Jobs is revolutionizing Manhattan retail – May 08, 2007
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