In our latest reader survey of computer technical support, Apple bested its own scores from last year's survey and walloped other brand-name computer manufacturers.
The company scored far higher than the other big companies for the elements that make for successful online and phone support: ease of contacting staff, clarity of advice, technical knowledge, patience, and time for follow-up.
Apple's in-house technical support service, the Genius Bar, rated as high as support provided by phone or online. Whatever way readers asked for tech help—by phone (the most common way), online, or in person—Apple was also able to solve more computer problems. Independent shops that make custom computers came closest to Apple.
Clearly, there's room for improvement in tech support: 24 to 40 percent of respondents who sought phone or online help from makers of Windows-based computers said the staff's patience, knowledge, or clarity was fair at best.