Apple dropped out of the top five in ForeSee's annual holiday customer satisfaction survey for 2012, and the company's drop from 83 to 80 satisfaction points was one of the biggest the research firm saw this year.
The annual ForeSee study surveyed 24,000 online shoppers between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this year Apple lost its second place ranking and earned its lowest score in four years.
Apple drops in ForeSee customer satisfaction survey
This year, we're seeing that even some of the largest companies in the country are at risk if they lose sight of customer satisfaction," said ForeSee president and CEO Larry Freed. "Satisfaction with the customer experience, when measured correctly, is the most important predictor of future success, and while Amazon clearly gets it, Apple stumbles from their usual focus on the customer experience."
He added that Dell and JC Penney -- the company that former Apple Retail executive Ron Johnson now runs -- also saw big drops in online customer satisfaction.
Apple's retail experience suffered this year under John Browett, who worked for the company a short five months before being shown the door. The company dealt with public headaches during his tenure for cutting back on retail staffing along with customer service complaints.
This year's top five retailers in the ForeSee survey incuded Amazon.com, LLBean.com, QBC.com, Vitacost.com, and Esteelauder.com.
ForeSee doesn't directly tie Apple's lower customer service ranking to Mr. Browett, but it's an easy link to make considering the timing of customer complaints. Apple is currently hunting for a new executive to run its retail division.
[Some image elements courtesty of Shutterstock]