According to the well-connected blogger Mark Gurman, citing Apple employees that wish to remain anonymous, Apple Vice President of AppleCare and technical support Tara Bunch held a Town Hall meeting this week for AppleCare employees. At the meeting, several upcoming improvements to AppleCare+ and other support platforms were outlined.
Bunch hinted that AppleCare+ may be expanded to additional countries, although it is a challenging process because of the insurance and government-related legal processes that vary between countries worldwide. Bunch also told employees that Apple is testing a pilot program to expand the eligibility window for purchasing AppleCare+ to 60 days. Several other changes are incoming…
Furthermore, Apple is reportedly exploring new online diagnostic tools that would make it easier to buy AppleCare+ after the device has been purchased. Beyond that, the iPhone maker is considering making AppleCare+ an iTunes-based subscription service to simplify the process even further.
Bunch shared two other AppleCare-related anecdotes, with the first being that the company is reportedly exploring AppleCare+ for Mac. The chances of that happening are said to be slim, however, because of current economics. Last, Apple may eventually offer a program for lost or stolen devices as many of its competitors do.
Apple is also looking to significantly improve its support platforms in the Fall, particularly as it applies to iOS devices. Apple will reportedly be extending its screen sharing functionality on Mac to iOS devices, allowing support technicians to view your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and help you on screen.
That functionality sounds very similar to the MayDay feature that Amazon is including on its Fire Phone, although Apple is not expected to have a physical button on iOS devices for accessing the support. It also won’t be as much of a core feature as MayDay is on the Fire Phone.
Another improvement that Apple is looking to make applies to its phone support. Just as it now offers 24/7 chat support in the United States, the company is reportedly planning to also offer 24/7 phone support in certain regions. Gurman claims there is no firm timetable in place for these plans.
Apple is also looking to improve its self help options. To cut down on the nearly one-quarter of the calls that Apple receives through its support hotline for minor issues such as login problems or forgotten passwords, pertaining to Apple ID, iCloud and iTunes, the company is reportedly working on tools to help customers better self-diagnose and troubleshoot Apple hardware, software and services.
The company is planning to redesign its online support tools and discussion forums later this year, with a greater emphasis on social network integration and improved searching abilities. With a myriad of new products on the horizon, including new iPhones, iPads and potentially the oft-rumored iWatch, these improved support options will be key for Apple to continue providing award-winning customer service.
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