Apple Places First in PC Customer Satisfaction, New Study Says

Apple Computer reported the highest score among personal computer makers in U.S. customer satisfaction for 2004, according to the results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), released Tuesday. Appleis score improved by four points for a second consecutive year.

Compiled by the University of Michigan Business School and the American Society for Quality, the new results show Apple with a score of 81, making a 5.2% jump over last year and a 5.2% jump since the survey was taken in 1995. Apple returns to the number one spot in PC satisfaction after falling to second in 2003 to Dell who edged out the Mac maker by one percentage point.

Other PC makers included Dell Inc. in second place with a satisfaction rating of 79, Gateway in third with a score of 74, all other manufacturers combined in fourth at 71, Hewlett-Packard in fifth at 71, and Hewlett-Packard combined with Compaq in sixth with a score of 69.

Gateway had the largest one year increase in their satisfaction rating with a jump of 7.2%.

"(Apple) has the highest score any PC manufacturer has achieved in the 11 years of ACSI measurement," said Professor Claes Fornell, Director, National Quality Research Center, University of Michigan Business School. "Much of this is due to successful innovation and a lot of it."

Although Dell has been supplanted by Apple as the industry leader in customer satisfaction, it remains the most consistently high-scoring computer manufacturer with a score of 79, up 1%, Prof. Fornell said.

The ACSI is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. It is updated each quarter with new measures for different sectors of the economy replacing data from the prior year. The overall ACSI score for a given quarter factors in scores from about 200 companies in 40 industries and from government agencies over the previous four quarters.