Customer Satisfaction Index Places Dell, Apple In Top Two Slots (In That Order)

What is the ACSI? Itis not ASCII misspelled, if that was your first thought, but rather the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The ACSI describes itself as a national economic indicator measuring customer satisfaction, and is "produced by a partnership of the University of Michigan Business School, American Society for Quality and CFI Group, and supported in part by Market Strategies Inc., and ForeSee Results."

The Index rates different manufacturers within specific sectors of the economy, including the computing industry, which is why we are bringing you this story. The organizers say that the Index includes the results of measuring such factors as customer expectations, perceived quality, perceived value, customer complaints, and customer loyalty. You can find more information on the methodology at the Indexis Web site.

The results of this yearis Index include customer satisfaction ratings for Dell, HP, Gateway, and Apple. This yearis results place Dell in the #1 slot for the sixth year in a row with a rating of 78 (out of 100). Apple came in at #2 with a rating of 77. HP was third with a rating of 70, and Gateway was fourth with a 69. From the press release issued for this yearis announced results:

Among PC companies, Dell leads the way for the sixth straight year with an ACSI score of 78. Apple, up 6 percent, is right behind with a mark of 77, while the fall of Gateway continues -- its 69 score is down 12 percent from its peak of 78 in 2000.

"In a market dominated by Dell and Hewlett Packard, Gateway faces a difficult challenge," Fornell said. "Service expertise, which used to be Gatewayis strength, has seen better days, according to customers. The company has reported negative net income and falling revenue the past five quarters."

Historically speaking, Apple was up 5% from a rating of 73 last year, compared to this yearis 77. The lowest score Apple achieved in the Index was in 1998, when Apple was rated with a 69 customer satisfaction score. 77 is the highest rating Apple has gotten since 1995. The press release included a handy table, which we transcribed below. The baseline figures included were taken in the Summer of 1994, according to a note on the Indexis Web site.

Baseline199519961997199819992000200120022003% Change from last year% Change from 1st year
Personal Computers
78
75
73
70
71
72
74
71
71
72
1.4%
-7.7%
Dell
NA
NA
NA
72
74
76
80
78
76
78
2.6%
8.3%
Apple
77
75
76
70
69
72
75
73
73
77
5.5%
0.0%
HP
78
80
77
75
72
74
74
73
71
70
-1.4%
-10.3%
All Others
NA
70
73
72
69
69
68
67
70
69
-1.4%
-1.4%
Gateway
NA
NA
NA
NA
76
76
78
73
72
69
-4.2%
-9.2%
Compaq-HP
78
77
74
67
72
71
71
69
68
68
0.0%
-12.8%

For more information on the Index, visit its Web site.