Apple, Please Don’t Do It

There’s a report in Friday’s Hindustan Times that suggests Apple Computer may be setting up a tech support call centre in Karnataka, India:

Apple Computer is planning to set up a technical support centre in Karnataka on the lines of the one which Dell has in India.

After my limited experience with Dell’s sales team and Air Canada’s web site support team in India I can only say that this is a bad idea, mainly for the following reasons:

  1. Language Fluency; tech support is difficult enough in one’s mother tongue. It’s almost impossible to do in a second language, especially with a heavy accent. The Indian people I spoke to on my calls were pretty much incomprehensible, both from their accent and from the unusual speed with which they spoke, not to mention the unusual sentence structures they employed.
  2. Quality of Telecommunications; every time I’ve spoken to someone in an Indian call centre the quality of the connection has been total crap. I mean, Skype beats the connections into India.
  3. Quality of Service; when I spoke to Indian support reps in regards to a particular problem, not only did they lack the training to ascertain the correct symptoms and qualities of the issue, but they were clearly reading from a script as they worked through the problem with me. A web site would have been a better solution, as soon as things got off-script, the call agents were lost.

Apple has a reputation for superior quality of customer care. I pay extra for this and it’s the main reason why I recently bought a new Power Mac instead of a Dell Media Centre PC, even though I paid a lot more (yes, I’m willing to pay more for all-around better quality). It would be a terrible mistake to sacrifice the interests of customers just to save some dough on support services.

Obviously Apple’s going for market share with the new Intel boxes, as the feature-for-feature price comparisons with Dell machines are pretty much on par. Fair enough, I guess, but if added market share comes at the cost of quality of service and overall customer satisfaction, then it’s a bad plan. Like I said, I’d rather pay more for a better product that I get better service for.

Please, Apple — don’t do it.

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