Frustration with tech leads to superior Apple solutions

“The tussle to tame technology is not new. With many tech options, getting gadgets to work together isn’t easy. Consumers are fumbling through thick manuals, holding on customer-support phone lines, searching for tech experts or driving themselves mad. They’re also losing patience, sleep and tempers, says a survey of 2,551 Americans, released today by Harris Interactive and software firm RightNow Technologies,” Jon Swartz reports for USA Today.

Swartz reports, “About 85% of those polled said they’ve become so flustered, they’ve ended up swearing, shouting, experiencing chest pains, crying or smashing things. Slightly more than half said not being able to get a live person on the phone was their greatest frustration, according to the Oct. 9-11 survey. Seven out of 10 people polled said representatives weren’t trained adequately.”

Swartz reports, “The potential financial consequences for the multibillion-dollar home-PC and consumer-electronics industries are huge, say tech analysts. The difference between companies boasting superior support and those who stumble translates to revenue and market share during what is traditionally the busiest quarter for tech vendors, says Roger Kay, president of technology consultancy Endpoint Technologies Associates. Products provoking the most frustration: PCs, digital cameras and DVD players.”

“The benefits of simple, elegant products extend beyond goodwill from customers. Companies that excel in usability can improve their return on such investment more than 10,000 times, estimates Randolph Bias, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information and co-author of Cost-Justifying Usability,” Swartz reports.

“The landscape, in turn, has created a “great opportunity” for vendors to shine in customer support and pick up customers… Apple and Sony generally earn high marks for support because their technicians understand their products well and tend to be long-term employees, tech analyst Kay says,” Swartz reports.

“With the prospect of more charges for fixing already expensive gear, most consumers would be resentful. But Gideon Orbach, 34, a chiropractor in New York, says he could only wish he was near the center,” Swartz reports.

Swartz reports, “Almost from the moment he bought a $1,400 laptop from a major PC maker late last year, its circuit board was acting up. After 15 calls to the PC maker’s tech support hotline and shipping the laptop to a facility in Tennessee, the problem deepened. The ‘repaired’ laptop came back with a different Windows operating system that was incompatible with all of Orbach’s software. Exasperated, he eventually bought a Macintosh and sold the forlorn laptop for a loss on eBay. ‘If I can cut into (the vendor’s) market share by one computer with my story, it will make my day,’ the soft-spoken Orbach says.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ampar” for the heads up.]

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  1. I am one of those who has been very frustrated with a tech purchase. I recently bought a Treo 700P and have had a lot of trouble with it. The first one went back to the manufacturer after over a month of restarting, reloading, and tons of problems. I got another unit that still has the same problems but it is not quite as often. It is still frustrating but after going around with tech support (when you can get them) I just don’t want to waste any more of my time having to wipe the unit and reinstall everything just to have the same things happen all over again.

    I am looking forward to Apples smart phone this year and will dump this piece-o-crap the first day they are avail. I will lose my shorts on the deal as I had to extend my Verizon plan another 2 years and I paid a great deal for the Treo, but I figure my time and lack of frustration will make it well worth it.

  2. “Apple and Sony generally earn high marks for support because their technicians understand their products well and tend to be long-term employees, tech analyst Kay says,”

    LOL. Yeah, right. Call centre employees are long term? In what universe?

  3. Is it possible this is the “halo” that is driving Apple’s market-share growth? People frustrated by their old gear and shopping for “something else, something less flawed”? Most of them try another Windows vendor but some stray over to the Mac world. And stay. And tell their still-frustrated pals. Who are thus more likely to stray themselves.

  4. My_Treo is right, this phone is the stupidest, most frustrating thing ever built and is a prime example of what not to make.
    keep the iPhone simple Apple whatever you do.

    Oh yes, Installing Windows not only gives me chest pains, but a huge pain in my wallet and derriere.

  5. The author has hit upon the key to the Apple culture — the sheer joy inducing quality of the user experience. It is a constant source of amazement to me that the other companies don’t get it. We all have consumer electronics products and they generally have hideous – even unusable, for many functions – interfaces. And the instructions for these products are from hell. Every complex product category is at market risk because of this blindness of the arrogant corporate cultures that dominate our industries. Apple is the one company that both gets it and has the assets and skill sets to grab those vulnerable markets. Even if the competition, such as it is, figures it out, it would take them eons to actually become a threat to Apple. That is why I invest without fear in AAPL.

    MW: race — as in; In this race, Apple has the speed of a hare and the determination of a tortoise.

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