Service doesn’t scale

We complain. But for a company its size, Apple’s commitment to customer support is unprecedented. Try reaching a help desk at Google.

From Apple’s press release:

Cupertino, California, Aug. 29, 2019 — Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small —  with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries…

There is no cost to join Apple’s independent repair program. To qualify for the new program, businesses need to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs. The process for certification is simple and free of charge. To learn more and apply, visit Qualifying repair businesses will receive Apple-genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics at the same cost as AASPs.

My take: Apple’s come a long way from the original in-house Genius Bar. But with a billion devices to support, something had to give.

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  1. Jerry W Doyle said:
    I have used Apple Customer Support multiple times and it’s Care Support Program twice. The care support was to replace batteries in two of my iPhones. The nearest Apple Store is 125 miles from me, but Apple still made the process fairly simple for battery replacement. Apple overnight me a box for shipping. I took the box with the battery inside to the UPS with whom Apple contracts for shipping. The UPS shipping clerk knowing fully about UPS and Apple’s contract did the rest for me. Got my phone back in less than five business days. Since I have three iPhones, I never was without a phone during the repair process.

    Outside battery replacement, I never have had the need for repair work. Apple devices have a durable quality and tenacious value for me over the years where they are like the Duracell battery commercial: Apple devices just keep going and going and going. I have four iPads that I use and I am typing this comment on a fourth generation iPad (year 2012). Think of that statement. This is a seven year old device and I still am using it even though Apple no longer supports the device with software updates.

    The other noteworthy factor not often mentioned about Apple Customer Support and Apple Care Program is the fact that Apple “owns” those programs. Apple doesn’t contract those programs out to some overseas contractor whose workers I have difficulty understanding and whose workers seem more interested in selling something new I didn’t call about or desire. I appreciate this fact deeply.

    I have nothing but praise for the Apple Customer Support and the Apple Care Program. Please consider this the highest recommendation I can give.

    September 2, 2019
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Side benefits:
    1) The program expands career paths for Genius Bar employees.
    2) It’s a boon to users who live in remote places.
    3) It strengthens the Apple ecosystem.

    It’s one more small good thing that makes Apple a safe investment.

    September 2, 2019
    • Dan Scropos said:
      Well said, Fred/Jerry/Gregg. Sticky just got a little stickier.

      September 2, 2019
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Thinking of how this all applies to Services I thought of this:

    The knock against AAPL right now is that iPhone unit sales are slowing even declining, and that people are hanging onto their iPhones longer (declining churn).

    As I see it, Apple’s strategy is to grow the unit base by keeping previously sold units alive and well LONGER, thereby increasing the number of potential Services subscribers (through resale at lower prices and hand-me-downs)

    Critics of new iPhone unit sales (there are many) are either paid hacks (Fortune, et al) or simply have no tactical, leading to strategic, vision (Rosenblatt et al).

    One last thought as it pertains to Netflix: Netflix grew rapidly, becoming dominant in the streaming sector, BECAUSE IT HAD NO COMPETITION.

    That is no longer the case. The content producers that currently supply Netflix with content are rapidly becoming competitors, AND removing their content from Netflix’ service.

    My take is that Netflix, within the next 5 years, will be a mere shadow of its former self, struggling to survive under the weight of its debt load.

    September 2, 2019
    • Fred Stein said:
      Excellent points Gregg. I checked “experience economy’ on Wikipedia. They cited an article published in 1998 where Pine and Glimore coined the term. And they reference the Tofflers, “Future Shock”, chapter 10, “The Experience Makers”.

      Folks who count iPhone sales miss the point. Apple’s devices are the portals to Apple experiences.

      All of us, “get it’. It’s “Straight outta Compertino” from Steve’s earliest days.

      September 2, 2019

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