Is Apple’s stellar service keeping up with its hypergrowth?

“For Apple, there may be a downside to success. Sales of the Cupertino (Calif.) company’s Macintosh machines are growing three times as fast as the overall PC market. Its iPod music player is burying the competition. And the stylish iPhone is setting the wireless industry on its head. But as Apple pulls in millions more customers with different kinds of products, it’s getting harder to keep them all happy,” BusinessWeek reports.

“‘The customer base is now more diverse, including students and mainstream consumers, and it’s harder to satisfy as a whole,’ says Lopo L. Rego, a marketing professor at the University of Iowa who studies the impact of customer satisfaction on financial performance,” BusinessWeek reports.

“Apple Inc. still tops all of the big measures of computer-customer service. But there are signs that it is vulnerable to the service struggles of other big companies. A widely watched study of customer satisfaction, released in August by the University of Michigan, showed Apple slipping 4 points from last year’s score, to 79 on a 100-point scale. That still leads the industry, but it’s the company’s first decline since 2001,” BusinessWeek reports.

Full article here.

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

As you sell more products to more people, it’s inevitable for problems to increase. Apple should work even harder to offset this phenomenon. The good news is that the new customers are usually coming from such inferior experiences (Windows, ugly PC hardware, also-ran MP3 players, portable CD players, bad software, also-ran online music outfits, etc.) that Apple is usually a revelation.


  1. I’ve only ever had to deal with Apple customer service once, in 9 years of owning an apple device, and it was flawless.
    I fell on my ipod 2G 15GB, and apple replaced it!

    All within 2 weeks.

    Now that’s service

  2. Uh… Chrissy… your sequitur is non. Did Adobe give you a pile of hallucinogens as a parting gift? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Anyway, it’s nice to see such a well balanced article. The thesis is sort of obvious though. Certainly quality is one of those things that you have to concentrate on during periods of rapid growth. You won’t get a Harvard Business School professorship for that claim.

  3. Jimithy,

    Check out the link I providded, above. HP is going up on the ACSI, Apple is going down. It’s only a matter of time, unless something changes, before HP beats out Apple. I love Apple but they need to get serious about this!

  4. All I know is that every time I go into the local Apple Store I get great service. I’ve helped 37 people switch since boot camp, non have switched back.

    Just the other day a buddy of mine who hasn’t switched yet, but bought a 4gig iphone took it back in because he had trouble syncing with his PC. They replaced it in the store with an 8gig since they are out of 4gig iphones.

    He’s now saving his pennies to get a macbook and toss his Vaio.

    The products are great, but it’s the customer service that is winning this war.

  5. growing pains are going to happen… if this is the worst of it, then that’s great!!! There is always room for improvements. Apple has always pioneered new ways to do things, this section of the business is no different. Thime will tell.

  6. Warning : think before you click.

    I read the article and its a straight forward click piece. It says Apple has the highest rating for customer service then pans it for not having a higher rating.

    It says that any one who says that they are a “huge fan” of apple must be telling the total truth … (even when they sue for 2.6 billion for dropping the price).

    And then they compare Apple to Dell, cause you do know that Dell has some complaints about its hardware too, so of course they must be the same thing.

    There was not even an author given for the article. Maybe it was totally MS software driven. LOL

    MDN = two. As in I give this article TWO stars out of ten.

  7. You made 100,000 thingies and had a 1% failure rate and 1000 complaints.

    You now make 5,000,000 thingies and have a 1% failure rate and 50,000 complaints.

    OMFG Apple has 50 times the complaints! The company is going down the tubes! Sell that stock!


  8. The problem is, the folks who always bought Apple products always gave favorable feedback. Now, we have all these new switchers entering camp with very very high expectations, so when the smallest things go wrong, they provide negative feedback. Not to mention that more people buying the products means more of a percentage are just nasty whiners who wouldn’t even be happy with a set of tits that squirted beer.

  9. One factor that is difficult to quantify is that people who buy junk are less likely to complain about defects whereas people who buy quality brand products are more likely to complain. Apple probably does better than the figures suggest even though they are pretty good.

    The need to maintain the quality of service for complex products and the difficulty in so doing is a powerful argument against more advertising, the same holds true for expanding the product range. 30% growth is about as much as it is possible to deal with, it can be done with organic growth, without mass hiring of new staff and whilst retaining the ability to cut the ‘dead wood’ out. I am sure Apple would like to broaden their range and expand their customer base still further but so far they are doing very well in a difficult business.

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