Google versus Apple versus Microsoft Customer Experience

In the run up to Christmas, my posts were rather serious and so to wrap up the year, I thought I’d share my personal experiences as a customer, highlighting who nailed it and who missed the mark, and why it wasn’t quite what I expected.  Whilst I love my tech & gadgets, I’m not a real geek (some may disagree), but it’s great fun to play with a new toy.  We had recently purchased the Google Nexus 6P mobile phones, and we’ve both been really impressed with the amazing functionality and quality for what is a very reasonable price.  We had also decided that it was time to purchase a new laptop, replacing his tablet – here’s where my customer experience radar kicked in.

We purchased a Google’s Chromebook – being an Android household, it seemed to be the obvious choice.  Super slim, never-ending battery life, fully compatible with our existing Google mobile phones and a fantastic touchscreen, it was an utter pleasure to surf the web, manage emails and check up on social networks.  We needed to send a couple of documents, and here’s where the Google Chromebook started to unravel. Because the device runs everything through a web browser, there’s no installed applications on the device. Whenever you might expect to rely on standard functionality of installed applications, you hit a wall.  Given the cost of the device, we decided that this just wasn’t good enough.  After doing some research, we set our heart on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Tablet.

A couple of days later, the new device arrived, and was quickly unpacked and turned on.  It’s the first Microsoft device to enter our house for a number of years, so there was a little trepidation on getting started.  After too many reboots and a number of hours of setting up, all seemed ready to go.  It was a surprisingly clunky process to get up & running, but the device looked great.  My husband then went to link his Google account, following the instructions and that’s when the shine started to fade.  Another day later, he was up and running, but I couldn’t seem to get it working.  After a second day of trying, I was ready to give up.  Unfortunately, 72 hours after the device arrived, it died – no screen, no light, nada!  This really wasn’t what we expected from a top of the range Microsoft device.  The process of returning the device wasn’t too bad, but did involve waiting around for a courier to arrive to take the device away. At this point, we decided that perhaps Apple would offer the solution.

The Apple Macbook laptop arrived very quickly, and was set up in no time.  We’ve been able to link our Google accounts and can access most services that we want through the laptop. There’s some great pluses – USB C charging, 8 hours + battery life and wafer thin sleek design compare to the competition.  Even Apple disappointed when the screen failed after two days – but was quickly swapped out in minutes at a local Apple store.

In the space of two weeks, we’ve churned through 3 laptops in the premium £1000+ price range from three top manufacturers.  All three pride themselves on the quality, reliability and simplicity of their devices, and yet two have failed within 72 hours of receiving the devices and one cannot offer even the most basic business functionality.  Given the size of the businesses and the number of units they sell, device failure is inevitable, but given the profit margins these businesses are making, it’s surely not unreasonable to expect that the customer experience advertised to be the customer experience that’s delivered:

  • Easy to purchase
  • Fast delivery
  • Simple set up and account migration
  • Reliable performance
  • Rapid issue resolution

No-one got it completely wrong, but Google, Microsoft and Apple all failed on at least one stage.  Reflecting on these results, it’s made me realise that more than ever, customer experience professionals the world over really have their work cut out to make it better for our customers.  So let’s toast 2016 as the year when once again, we will work harder to raise the bar and make a difference. Here’s to a cracking customer centric 2016!


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