Surveys find Apple most admired, most satisfying company

Apple, riding continued high demand for its Mac computers and iPad tablets, has topped rivals in two new surveys of customer satisfaction.

Apple’s customer satisfaction ranking rose a point from 86 to 87 (on a scale of 100) to top the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which focused on PC makers. This is the eighth straight year Apple has taken the crown, topping its own record score from last year.

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"In the eight years that Apple has led the PC industry in customer satisfaction, its stock price has increased by 2,300%," said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference, in a statement. "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."

As ACSI notes, the PC industry is undergoing great upheaval, between the emergence of tablets and assorted twists on the traditional PC, and corporate strategy changes, such as HP exploring a spinoff of its Personal Systems Group. HP finished second in the customer satisfaction survey, though a solid 9 points behind Apple. Still, both HP and its Compaq brand each inched up their customer satisfaction scores. Dell, Acer and others remained flat.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is based on data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually that are input into a model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies.

APPLE WINS IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TOO

In a separate ranking based on the Global Customer Experience Management Survey from Beyond Philosophy, Apple topped the list of most admired technology companies by customer experience experts. Amazon and Zappos finished second and third.

"Apple has married all the elements of its experience and connected with its customers in a deeply emotional, irrational way," said Steven Walden, senior head of research and consulting at Beyond Philosophy, in a statement. "Well-established CRM technologies allow [Apple, Amazon and Zappos] to use the data they collect to deliver a highly-personalized experience. But there’s something more inherent to the way these leaders deliver the experience; they use the copious data they collect to truly understand customers and their motivations in order to deliver a satisfying experience in a meaningful way."

The survey found that HP has seen the greatest allocation of resources to customer experience over the past year.

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Bob Brown

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