"Personal Computers: Apple Stumbles; Dell's Problems Continue
"Dell's result is not surprising. A year ago, even though the company's ACSI score was up, customer service remained an issue and we noted that the company would need to take significant steps to reverse this trend. However, it appears that any fixes the company may have attempted were short lived. Dell now resides among the lower echelon of measured PC makers, a solid 5 points behind Apple, and only 1 point above the Compaq division of Hewlett-Packard.
"Apple remains the industry leader of customer satisfaction despite falling 5 percent in the eyes of consumers since the second quarter of 2006 according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. The Cupertino-based company along with Dell helped to drag down the entire PC industry 3 percent in total. Apple's score now stands at 79. Dell, meanwhile, continues to experience customer service problems that have pushed the company back near the bottom of the PC rankings with a score of 74. HP improved 1% to 76, though its Compaq division is the worst in the industry at 73.
"Professor Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI at the University of Michigan, believes Apple's decline may be related to the company's outstanding performance. "Apple has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years," Fornell said. "As Toyota can attest, it's not easy to manage quality and customer satisfaction when a company quickly has to increase production or provide service to a larger number of customers." Dell, conversely, ultimately worked its way back near the bottom of PC rankings, according to The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)."
The ACSI report contines...
"With more than $21 billion in revenue, Apple has grown by nearly 400% in sales during the past 5 years. Recent demand for Mac computers is up by about 25%, which is more than twice the rate of growth for the overall PC market. Many analysts seem to believe that Apple is gaining market share in part because of iPod users switching to Mac computers. It is very difficult to ensure that both customer service and satisfaction stay high when a company suddenly needs to service many more customers. This is probably what is behind the decline in customer satisfaction for Apple. According to the Economist (6/9/07), there are also "grumblings about manufacturing defects and customer service."
"With a new survey indicating that Yahoo has trumped Google in consumer satisfaction, analysts are attempting to interpret the survey results, with some suggesting that it's not clear what factors contributed to Yahoo rising in consumer satisfaction and Google declining. "It's not necessarily Yahoo search versus Google search," said Greg Sterling."
(See also these past posts re: the ACSI.)