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.
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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