Research firm: iPhones cheaper to support

Users already seem to have decided that the iPhone is the way to go when it comes to smartphones, but IT isn’t always so convinced. Here’s something that might help IT skeptics relax: iPhones require less support than Androids and BlackBerrys.

So says ClickFox, a firm that analyzes customer experience data to identify problems. ClickFox analyzed the support calls related to smartphones received by the North American carriers, and after factoring out the questions related to billing and carriers’ various plans, it found a startling pattern: iPhones cost less to support than Android devices and BlackBerrys.

ClickFox isn’t releasing much of the underlying data, so it’s hard to get a sense of exactly how much easier iPhones are to support relative to the others devices or to regular cellphones. However, analytics director Lauren Smith tells InfoWorld that the differences are significant to the carriers’ finances, with BlackBerry users costing North American carriers in aggregate $46 million more a year to support than iPhone users, and Android users costing $97 million more a year.

The reason: It more often takes multiple agents to solve a BlackBerry or Android user’s problem, which means calls must be transferred, or the issue ends up taking multiple discussions to resolve. By contrast, iPhone users’ problems are typically handled in just one session. At an average cost of $4 per user for the extra help, that means about 11.5 million BlackBerry incidents needed additional assistance—and 24 million Android incidents.

The BlackBerry may be more confusing for users and thus harder to support than the iPhone, but Android is the worst of the three platforms by far. Whereas BlackBerry users typically need to have their calls transferred or followed up on a separate call 37 percent of the time, Android users need more attention 77 percent of the time (compared to iPhone users in both cases), ClickFox reports.

Smith says he suspects the iPhone support advantage comes down to what Apple is famous for: better hardware and software design. iOS and the iPhone hardware are more intuitive, so they’re easier and faster to troubleshoot, he theorizes.

The data send a clear message to IT: iPhone users will be noticeably less taxing on your support desk than BlackBerry users and significantly less taxing than Android users.

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