Apple leads its competitors in the latest annual American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) of durable goods, scoring 83% compared to the PC industryis overall score of 77%. Apple saw its score rise 2.5 points from last year, placing it in the top 15% of all the companies gauged by the ACSI.
Dell came in second at 78%, up 4 points from last year, when it had dropped 5 points from its 79% score in 2004. Appleis score sat at 73% in 2001 and 2002 before embarking on an upward trend. "Dell has seen market share erode and earnings fall over the past year," said professor Claes Fornell of the University of Michiganis Stephen M. Ross Business School, which produces the ACSI. "Slipping customer service has been a problem ... And even though it still trails industry leader Apple by a wide margin, the more serious challenge may come from the improvement of H-P and the smaller PC brands that are not far behind in customer satisfaction."
The PC industryis overall 77% score is a 4-point increase from last year and marks its highest score since 1994, the first year the ACSI was compiled. "Like autos, improved quality is the major reason for the improvement in customersi eyes," Mr. Fornell said. "But for PCs, most of the improvement is in product quality. Service quality is also improving, but it is almost 10% below the average of other consumer durables. This is in part the result of customer frustrations with PC call-centers, but is also a function of the complex nature of the products -- PC owners have more frequent customer service issues than owners of appliances, televisions, or cars."