Claim: iPhone is the cheapest to support

Posted by David Gomez

Apple fans don’t really need additional reasons to worship at the altar of Steve Jobs, but they’re getting them anyways.

Yes, research firm ClickFox claims the iPhone requires less support and related resources compared to Android or BlackBerry handsets.

How, you ask?

Well, a ClickFox analyzed support calls related to smartphones received by North American carriers. After disregarding calls related to billing and carrier plans, they found something really interesting: the iPhone  is actually quite efficient. That’s because the calls allowed them to determine the iPhone isn’t much of a financial drain to support - comparatively.
    
Here’s where it gets tricky, though, so you might want to take the claim with a few grains of salt, because ClickFox is not (publicly) releasing all its data.

Therefore it’s kind of difficult to see just how much easier iPhones are to support compared to other devices.
    
Still, ClickFox analytics director Lauren Smith told InfoWorld  the financial numbers indicate the differences are meaningful to the carriers’ bottom lines. He claims that BlackBerry users cost North American carriers about $46 million more per year in support than iPhone lovers, and Android users cost $97 million more per year.
    
That’s definitely not chump change phone fans.
    
But let us get into the proverbial nuts and bolts. The reasoning behind ClickFox’s claim is this: BlackBerry and Android handsets typically require multiple customer service staff to resolve an issue or problem. This means calls  have to be transferred, or the caller needs to be put on hold while the tech support people have a confab.
    
Now to contrast how different the Apple experience is, Smith confirmed that iPhone user issues are often  resolved in a single session.
    
The average cost of soliciting extra help to fix an issue is about $4. This means that around 11.5 million BlackBerry incidents required additional assistance - along with 24 million Android incidents. 
    
So maybe the BlackBerry is less user-friendly than the iPhone, but Android has them all beat. For example, while BlackBerry users generally need to have calls transferred or followed up at a rate of 37 percent, Android owners require additional help about 77 percent of the time compared to iPhone fanboys.
    
Smith claims the advantage offered by the iPhone originates from what Apple fans have been saying all along: Cupertino boasts an optimized hardware and software design. iOS and the iPhone hardware are more intuitive, so they're easier and faster to troubleshoot, he theorizes.
    
If the data ClickFox is promoting is true then it has a clear message. iPhone users will cost less to deal with than BlackBerry and Android users.
    
Keep in mind that the InfoWorld article referenced above is geared towards a business audience and it might not apply to casual users, which makes up a large part of the tech market.
    
Also Click Fox’s report is available online. You may be prompted to register with your email address if you want to read it. It briefly covers the cost issues in four pages, but it might have been more useful to get a better firsthand breakdown of how the calls impact the cost of supporting users.
    
If ClickFox has detailed data like that, they’re only giving it to people who they deal with that are willing to pay for it.