Forrester: Apple falls below Samsung, Microsoft, and Sony in customer service satisfaction

“Samsung, Microsoft and Sony passed Apple in a 2014 measurement of customer opinions of what it was like to deal with the company, according to a new survey published by Forrester Research,” Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for The Wall Street Journal. “his is the third year that Forrester conducted a survey for consumer electronics companies and it’s the first year that Apple has lagged behind Samsung, Microsoft or Sony.”

“The survey attempts to quantify the somewhat squishy and hard-to-define criteria of customer experience,” Wakabayashi reports. “Forrester assigns each company a customer-experience index score based on a survey of how 7,500 U.S. consumers responded to these three questions: How enjoyable were they to do business with? How easy were they to do business with? How effective were they at meeting your needs?”

Forrester Customer Satisfaction

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Judging by this, and by many anecdotal accounts we’ve received, including one of our staff member’s last visit to an Apple Retail Store where she stood ignored for at least 20 minutes before the iPad Air for which she had already paid was located, then was made to walk from the front to the far back of the store to be checked out (hence totally and idiotically defeating the benefit to the customer of Apple’s cash register-free system), Angela’s got some work to do to recover from the the Tim Cook-induced Browettization of Apple Retail and its aftermath.

Apple Retail Stores have gone from magical in the Steve Jobs/Ron Johnson days to passable-at-best-but-usually-worse under Tim Cook/John Browett/Nobody.

Note to Apple Retail Store employees and management:

1. The customer always comes first.
2. The customer is king, not cattle.
3. You do the walking, not the customer. (You work in a service industry, so serve.)
4. Do not waste the customers’ time.
5. Customers who are picking up items deserve priority over all others as they have already purchased product; do not hold paying customers hostage.

We hope Angela Ahrendts will rectify this situation.


    1. Considering the consistent scam level of Samsung, I too question these results. There should be a standard deviation number on the graph to indicate whether the number results for Sony, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple are in fact statistically different.

      Meanwhile, I totally support MDN’s list of customer support requirements. It astounds me how extremely few companies comprehend that the customer is effectively the source of all success in the capitalist system, at yet they’re treated as inconvenient garbage. As an example, I’ve written two detailed exposés about the worthless and torturous customer support at Time Warner Cable:

      Time Warner Cable: Customer Abuse In Our World Of Biznizz Bozos

      I can verify that my local Apple Store is EXCELLENT. I even access to the grapevine within the store via two friends who work there. The John Browett Effect has been entirely erased. However, I know full well there are outlier Apple Stores that occasionally require sterilization or refortification.

      1. At this point in time EVERYONE that matters truly believes that Tim Cook has let the company jump the track and that Apple is a failing company. That’s how out of hand things have gotten with Apple. Apple is becoming the infamous “dead man walking” company of Wall Street, news media and the tech industry. It’s absolutely pathetic how the industry is just kicking Apple around. All the articles show how Apple is messing up with everything they do. All Tim Cook can do is giggle and coo and say how wonderful everything is. He probably doesn’t have a clue how analysts and the news media is ripping Apple to shreds, but the Loyal Apple Apologists never blame Tim Cook for anything. They’ll blindly follow him over the nearest cliff Apple is heading for.

        There’s an old expression, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and Apple is belching out poisonous smoke like a China mainland factory’s smokestack. Apple is constantly said to be going down in flames on a daily basis, so let the shareholder beware. They’re getting plenty of advance notice before January 27th. Tim Cook didn’t just drop one ball. He dropped two.

          1. Forum rules:
            **Do not feed the troll***
            DO NOT respond, do NOT engage and do NOT attempt to use reason.
            This latest cretin is no different than the rest.
            He is a troll for a reason, he thinks his little opinion is worth listening to.
            It isn’t.

      2. Well Apple’s doing better than other other company in the world so it’s doubtful you can criticize Cook for dropping any ball but the giant made money ball into the humongous money vault. That said I think they may have been a year behind getting a larger iPhone out and the Mac Pro took too long. 2014 new products and upgrades though I think will rectify many bad perceptions about the company. I think we’re at a real breaking away point now where competitors will really feel the heat.

    1. If I had been polled (I was not), I would have criticized Apple severely for their not letting me exercise my power of CHOICE with their products and software iterations.

      That is, I have some serious objections to a couple of iOS 7 “features,” among them the inability to add a ripped movie to the “Video” function and actually see its TITLE! (Not interested in the user workaround.)

      But Apple WILL NOT let me return to iOS 6 until they fix this problem (among others)! I can “downgrade” my Macs to any OS I want (within hardware compatibility, of course) . . . but not my iPhones and iPads!

      Who are THEY to decide what OS I can OR SHOULD use? What philosophy of user care is in place at Apple now? It sure looks like “We know what’s good for you. Shut up and take it!”

        1. Shocked, no, but pissed and angry they actually have the nerve to make iTunes check Apple’s servers for permission to install iOS. The fact that I am actually trying to install iOS6 tells them that is what I the customer WANTS to do with my iOS device. And they refuse. That is horrible customer service and has nothing to do with them having to support anything. Its a goddamn travesty!!

      1. Apple will never take the “Wild Wild West” do-anything-you-want approach. That’s the province of the PC and Android OS system’s of the world. I hear your pain but so far those things you mentioned haven’t been a real problem for me but others mileage may vary. You can’t please all of the people all of the time and people now are getting’ mighty finicky about their tech. THEY can decide since it’s THEM that’s take the repercussions of a bad decision that takes down the brand. I hope they evolve into a solution more like you approve of soon.

  1. So far I’ve always been treated extremely well at every Apple store I’ve been to, which are several in California, and even in Barcelona (probably the most beautiful Apple store I’ve seen).

  2. MacDailyNews is dead on target.

    The Apple Retail Stores have gone from great places to visit to a hassle. Too many customers and not enough employees is usually the case, but also encountering employees who are just not as helpful as one would expect are becoming all too frequent at Apple stores. Nothing is worse in retail than the customer being made to feel like they’re nothing but an irritant to floor personnel that have clearly lost all understanding of their raison d’être.

  3. Is it possible that numbers are dipping because more people are buying Apple products? We already know that market analysts are highly critical of Apple. Perhaps new customers are expecting miracles, too?

    “attempts to quantify the somewhat squishy and hard-to-define criteria of customer experience”

  4. Wow. Kudos to MDN. This story is no surprise because it’s all dead center on target.

    Not only has the experience inside the retail stores been transformed into just another routine poor response to customer needs and satisfaction, it also goes to AppleCare via the telephone.

    Whenever you call AppleCare these days you often get someone on the phone who knows less about how to use the company’s hardware or software than you. So, how is that going to help you? The very worst outcome is to have the AppleCare person guess at the answer. That always, always makes things worse.

    The days are gone from when Steve Jobs would have tolerated what is now happening to the company’s customers for about 30 seconds before corrective action was taken.

    The Tim Cook era, folks. It is what it is.

    1. I’ve experienced the same thing. There was a time when no business could compete with Apple’s customer service. Not any more. Apple is still good but no longer anything special.

    2. I agree that the Apple Stores are not a great experience. However, my experience with AppleCare has been 100% positive. My last contact was a year ago, I hope that the quality of the support personal has not deteriorated since then. I know someone with an Android phone who is constantly calling both her carrier and Samsung to get resolution of problems, usually ending in frustration.

  5. I have never bought a Samsung product, so cannot speak for their customer support. As for Sony, their warranty repair is arcane and difficult to follow. I had to return a TV for repairs once (the picture was showing lines on the screen) and it was a hassle. I never bought a Sony TV after that.

    As for Apple, I cannot sing their praises high enough. They took the time to resolve every single issue I had with my iPad and MBP. Not only that but when my AirPort Extreme 6th gen. developed a fault with inconstancy of wireless connections, they sent a FedEx courie to fetch it and replaced a brand new unit for free.

    I cannot praise Apple high enough for its customer support. I have dealt with Sony, Intel, HP, Microsoft support and without exception they were horrible. Apple has been the best by far.

    1. Same here, every time I walk into the apple store, be it quakerbridge mall in New Jersey, or Freeeholdall apple store. I was approached with an eager employee offering assistance.

    2. Some years ago BMUG published an article comparing paid phone help from MS and paid phone help from the Psychic Hotline. Neither service could solve the problem but the Psychic Hotline was cheaper at not helping.

  6. Apples soho store I have to say has the worst customer service in the World.. I was in there last week- nobody asked me if I needed help. Got what i wanted and got in line. Then this idiot comes over to me and had the nerve to ask who helped me.nobody ever helps you there. A month ago I went there to buy a new iMac 26″ screen and an air pad and was told I had to come back- there was nobody to help me. Meanwhile they were talking in the corner doing nothing.

    1. rob,

      I guess if you are going to outright tell a false story, there is no need to get any of the facts straight.

      As far as it being the worst customer service in the world: I cannot argue against you. Because, unlike you, I have not dealt with every customer service rep in the world.

      To solve your problem, might I recommend the MicroSoft Store. There employee to customer ratio is much higher than Apple’s.

  7. I’m a little skeptic of the chart.

    How does 4 of the five seem to have the same upward slope during the same period (I think he added Amazon improvement numbers to Samsung, Sony, and M$)? Compare this trend to the year prior.

    And really, people had direct contact with Samsung and Sony? Since when?

  8. My recent and on-going experience with Apple Tech Support (I am a Mac user since 1987) is a continuing disaster and if you visit apple support and search for Mavericks SMTP you will see the utter disaster that Mavericks is regarding even this simple issue. Whatever Apple did in creating this absolutely unnecessary situation demonstrates a lack of fundamental care in the beta testing of Mavericks and a continuing inability to solve a problem that clearly is general. SMTP works with the identical settings on both of my Macs that do not have mavericks; and Apple has been unable to solve the SMTP connection issue in my late 2013 MBP running Mavericks. Tim Cook needs to send one of his tech Seal Teams into the software group (mail or security/SSL access or whatever it is) and FIX THE ISSUE FOR 100% of the customer that should expect much better from Apple. Inexcusable.

  9. I’m not sure Apple is entirely to blame here. I think Apple stores have become victims of their own success.

    My trips to the local Apple store have become unpleasant not directly due to poor service or lack of attention, but indirectly as result of the insane number of people crowding into the store. There are people waiting in lines inside of the store! Some waiting to make a purchase, others waiting for a genius or hands-on attention, others are waiting just to try a product. The Apple employees simply can’t keep up. Self check-out is a nice option but browsing the shelves is almost impossible because of people blocking them from view.

    The only fix may be to completely redesign the retail experience such that it scales with the volume of actual visitors. Perhaps break the store into multiple stores. I’ve resorted to making purchases online rather than visit the store.

  10. I always had good customer service in Apple stores. Someone always says, “how can I help you?” within a minute or two of me entering the store. If they are busy with another customer, they’ll say that. Yes I have been in the stores when they are really crowded and have had to wait 15-20 minutes, but I’m always acknowledged, and the wait times are explained. Contrast this experience with ANY other retail store.

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