Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

Summary: What is it about Apple that makes its customers more satisfied than those of other computer makers?

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TOPICS: Apple
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A poll of 70,000 consumers by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows that Apple continues to hold on to a comfortable lead over computer OEMs when it comes to consumer satisfaction.

Here are the results:

This score puts Apple one point up on 2011, and it holds a nine point lead over the closest competitor.

Which begs the question ... why does Apple hold such a commanding lead? Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI, had this to say

“In the eight years that Apple has led the PC industry in customer satisfaction, its stock price has increased by 2,300%. Apple’s winning combination of innovation and product diversification—including spinning off technologies into entirely new directions—has kept the company consistently at the leading edge.”

This is an interesting point, but I'm not so sure that it's innovation and diversification which makes the difference. Sure, there's a halo around pretty much everything that Apple does, but I'm not sure that extends to people's satisfaction with the company. No, I think people are giving Apple a high satisfaction rating based on two things:

  • Reliability
  • Customer service/support

PC OEMs need to take a serious look at this list and come up with ways to make their customers happier, because, as Apple has proved, happy customers come back!

Topic: Apple

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62 comments
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  • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

    My best guess is that Apple does not make budget hardware. Meaning that you will not find cheaply made $300 computers made by Apple. It is the large number of these that are made by the other OEMs that bring their numbers down. If you were to eliminate the low end garbage, I am sure the other OEMs numbers would be closer to Apple???s numbers.
    Rick_Kl
    • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

      @Rick_Kl

      I have been saying that for years. In over 20 years working in IT I find that most people complaining about their PC purchased a budget unit and when competition got more fierce to get prices down we saw more budget uints and brands focused entirely on budget come out. They used cheaper parts to keep costs down while many of them offered model lines of higher quality.

      That being said every brand has had their share of lemons and manufacturing issues. Also a considerable amount of blame on a "bad" computer falls on the end user. I cannot tell you how many I still see today that users smoke around, eat around and generally treat like crap. I constantly have to yell at my teachers and students that just toss laptops on desks and slam lids down.

      The only thing I will agree with is that many brands have had terrible phone support. They outsource to the lowest bidders and train monkeys to read from a screen. Add in the translation factor to a not so savvy computer user and it ends up being a big mess. I think Apple trains their employees better on the human factor and they know how to talk to people in need of support. That makes a huge difference.
      bobiroc
      • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

        @bobiroc It was the great race to the bottom that is responsible for the lower consumer satisfaction rating. When you use crap to make a product, then the end product will mostly be crap. :D
        Rick_Kl
    • And then their sales share would drop by 95%

      @Rick_Kl

      The other manufactures mostly have only low end garbage. Dell has their AlienWare line that makes some pretty high-end (but plenty heavy) transportable laptops.

      Acer? HP (They used to make some nice consumer stuff)? Compaq (Remember when they used to be cat's meow?)

      What you are saying is "If the other manufactures actually concentrated on making quality hardware, their customer satisfaction would match Apple's" Ya think?
      Bruizer
      • So what's the alternative?

        @Bruizer
        All computers should cost more than $1,000 and all cars should cost more than $100,000 and all houses should cost more than $1,000,000?

        Computers have become as popular and as useful as they are because they have been made available at affordable prices to so many people. Yes, there are tradeoffs. Of course there are. In the end though, Apple has benefited from the popularity of the affordable home PC. A large majority of Apple's profits come from people with inexpensive Windows PCs buying Apple iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Many of those sales would never have happened if all computers cost more than $1,000.

        You could come back and say that the iPad is a $500 computer and I wouldn't even disagree with you. The iPad only came out a couple years ago though. Before then, if you wanted a $500 computer, you couldn't buy it from Apple.
        toddybottom
      • Yet more lies and obfuscation?

        @toddybottom

        <i>"All computers should cost more than $1,000"</i>

        Is that all you have to offer?

        http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_mini

        They started out at $499 a few years ago.
        Bruizer
      • Who is the liar? You are.

        @Bruizer <br>They start at $599. With no monitor. No keyboard. No mouse.<br><br>Try again.<br><br>Edited based on msalzberg's comment:<br>Who is the liar? You are.
        They started at $499. With no monitor. No keyboard. No mouse.<br><br>Try again.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

        @Bruizer actually, they typically have 3 different tiers of quality but too many Americans are buying the special made for Walmart models and those are crap.
        slickjim
      • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

        @toddybottom

        Please note the tense Bruizer used in his comment, which matches the tense in your last sentence.

        Your inability to understand correct usage of the English language does not make him a liar.
        msalzberg
    • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

      @Rick_Kl iPads are less expensive then many competitors offerings, so your theory may be shite to some degree. It may be closer to the truth to say that Apple's numbers are higher because they control every aspect of their products and services.
      CowLauncher
      • Good point

        @CowLauncher
        Apple also sells mice for less than $100 and that is way less than many competitors offerings, including netbooks.

        So you just made an excellent point.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

        @toddybottom
        My favorite mouse for my PC is a Logitech MX costing around 100 retail. Your point about the Apple Mouse retailing for 69.00 is what? I generally agree you get what you pay for and also Apple's in house tech has a lot to do with their reliability and customer satisfaction. I use and am happy with both PC and Apple, the only nuisances are you biased Windows users.
        partman1969@...
    • Yes and no...

      Yes and no. I would agree that the experience would be better with higher end equipment (less component failures), but even in the high end market Apple is tough to beat. There is not a single company out there that makes their desktop PCs out of 1/4" sheet of solid aluminum, every component socketed (from the fans to the HDDs), and almost no visible wires. The Mac Pro is a gorgeous machine.<br><br>In any event, even if the majority of OEMs were able to produce products of similar quality, they still have the problem with tech support.<br><br>I've been in IT for about 15 years, and I can say that if Dell's customer support for everyone else was as good as their Business support, Dell would easily top the charts in customer support. Unfortunately, their business and regular support are as different as night and day.
      olePigeon
    • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

      @Rick_Kl That seems reasonable and should show up if broken out based on sales per model.
      slickjim
    • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

      @Rick_Kl
      Yet the same complaint is always used that Apple is too expensive. Are these same people buying the junk that makes PC look bad?
      partman1969@...
    • Innovation and diversification and budget hardware?

      @Rick_Kl
      Don't forget a big reason why Apple scores higher - they're the only consumer electronics company with actual Apple repair centers (Apple stores) accesable to the end user to walk into.

      Dell needs to schedule techs after the end user techs it out, as do all the others mentioned, and all of it with phone support.

      I'm surprised that even with that massive advantage that they're only 9 points above 2nd place HP.
      William Farrell
      • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

        @William Farrell

        Or they bring it back to Best Buy where they bought it from and some teenage member of Geek Squad who knows just enough about computers to be dangerous screws it up more. I have taken in so many post-geek squad repairs over the past few years to know they are clueless just like many of the mindless drones they put on phone support.
        bobiroc
  • Have you ever seen irrational attachment to an HP?

    I have a Mac, an iPad 2, and an iPhone. I think the industrial designs of the products are great, but I've had trouble with all three and my Apple store experiences have been annoying at best. If I had been asked about satisfaction, my answer would have been quite different than most entrenched Apple owners.

    I suspect the reason Apple's customer satisfaction is so high has nothing to do with the reliability of the products or even the support. My Windows desktops have been more trouble-free than any of my Apple products. My observation, from personal experience and watching the irrational comments on this site alone, is that the cult-like zealotry bestowed upon the owners of the products by a master salesman in a black turtleneck is skewing the reported satisfaction. In other words, the members of the elitist club don't want outsiders to know what it's really like inside because they don't want to hurt the ongoing recruitment efforts.

    For example, I have talked with acquaintances who are Mac users and they immediately say they've never had trouble with their Macs. Then I ask them if they've ever had a kernel panic. The answer is almost always "yes." Then I ask if they ever get the twirling beach ball that never goes away. Again, "yes." I point out that those are system and application crashes. Their eyes glaze over and they say, "I don't think so. I thought only Windows had those." Nice sales job, there.
    BillDem
    • Odd that...

      @BillDem ... I can understand "one" device going bad or being bad cause yes even Apple is made up of imperfect human beings (In fact given that as a basis I'm actually shocked Apple does as well as it does). Still to have two separate and distinctive Apple devices that has given you problems odds wise begins to boggle. Oh I've been in the computer repair/support field all my adult life and this month I turn 49:). Now to "think" you've had problems with not two but three separate Apple devices or any manufacturer I've know and this includes the likes of Packard Bell mind you is amazing and trully mind boggling to be frank it is mathematically or statistically hard to believe.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Apple tops customer satisfaction index once again

        @James Quinn <br>Perverse how the nature of people who use PC only have so many Apple products, isn't it? I own PCs and Apple and funny my custom built rigs don't give me many issues, the oems unless you buy extremely high end are almost always garbage, and my Powerbook G4 runs 10 years before I finally trade it for a functional iPod Touch which unless I drop it will probably also surpass my expectations. I know and understand how Apple garners such high praises.
        partman1969@...