Consumer Reports: Apple top for tech support

Consumer Reports:

It’s no surprise that Apple had the highest score for overall user satisfaction. In fact, the company has been top-rated every year since we first asked consumers about tech support back in 2007—even though Apple provides just 90 days of free phone and online tech support, compared with one year for most Windows PC companies.

There's a big reason for this. Apple's secret to tech support: empathy.

Apple hires people. People with hopes and dreams, frustrations, happiness, grief, interests, families, love interests, hobbies, passion, etc. When Apple hires these people, they tell them, "This is why we hired you. Don't lose sight of who you are. Use these wonderful qualities we hired you for to connect with people." They encourage constant learning, taking personal ownership in solving tough problems, and acting like a human being, because everyone has been on the other end of a frustrating situation before.

Apple encourages empathy in every interaction. This isn't something they train people to do either. They find people who already excel at connecting with people, and training just further hones that ability to help people consistently focus on doing the right thing. They know it's easier to teach a kind person who is computer illiterate how to solve tough technical problems, rather than try and teach an arrogant know-it-all tech geek how to better connect with people.

This is in stark contrast to most companies, who hire people and tell them to effectively hang up their humanity at the door. "There are customers on the line. Use this step-by-step guide for each and every problem. Move on as quickly as possible." They're not paid to listen or care. They're paid to churn. It's an assembly line. The difference between them and robots is the Turing Test.

Of course, Apple's service isn't without its flaws. They do hire human beings after all. People who have bad days, people who have lost motivation, or people who are exhausted from answering the same questions each and every day, who want more growth in their career than what they're currently experiencing, who want more challenges. Apple encourages their people to be human beings, but they're a business dealing with scale, an ever-growing pool of owners, all of whom expect nothing but the best. You can't give them all the attention they deserve.

Regardless of the flaws, though, people are still far more willing to forgive humans over robots. That's why Apple's support stays on top.