Known for offering top-notch in-store support at its Genius Bars, Apple is rolling out an app to offer iPhone and iPad support directly on the devices. Up until now, support was available on Apple’s website, but the introduction of an app makes the experience more user-friendly for iPhone and iPad users. The app offers troubleshooting suggestions, connects customers with agents via phone, and enables live chats between customers and Apple’s support team. If all else fails, the app also lets customers make appointments to visit the Genius Bar, though that is largely left as a last resort, reflecting the company’s push toward encouraging self-service.
“An Apple Support App makes complete sense and is another option to other channels that might include phone, email, or social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. It’s a direct connection to support fast support,” Shep Hyken, customer service author, says. “Customer support through a mobile app and social channels is becoming more popular as companies recognize the value of a quick response to their customer’s questions and comments. It’s a channel that, for many businesses, can no longer be ignored,” he adds.
Apple is not alone in this endeavor. Amazon’s Fire tablets and Google’s Pixel phones have similar functionality—Amazon’s Mayday button quickly connects users to live support and Google’s Pixel phones enable a similar connection directly from the settings menu. Apple’s support tool is notably less inherently integrated into the devices than Amazon’s and Google’s tools, but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless.
“The more customers use the self-service option, the more it frees up the live agent to deal with issues only resolvable by the physical presence of the customer,” Chip Bell, customer service expert, says. Still, he points out that a self-service solution does not—and should not—replace any of the other channels that Apple makes available. “Smart self-service as a high-tech solution is always accompanied by a high-touch option or a back door to a person. Witness the frustration we all feel when a vending machine in a remote location takes our money and fails to deliver what we purchased,” he says. And Apple isn’t showing signs of letting go when it comes to other support channels.
Twitter just awarded Apple a Gold award for customer service in its first ever Awards initiative. The social network said that Apple is the top provider of customer service on the platform, thanks to its quick and effective engagements with customers. According to Twitter, Apple has received 150,000 likes and retweets since the relatively recent launch of its account in March 2016. The company has made the most of Twitter’s features, sharing links, photos, and videos that offer support tips and help customers resolve specific problems. During business hours, Apple typically responds to customers within minutes, according to Twitter. “Apple [continues to] provide customers more [support] options rather than replacing one with another,” Bell says.