Apple drubs rivals in satisfaction survey eighth year running

Irony alert: HP, which may ditch PC business, only other maker that boosts score in annual ACSI poll

For the eighth year running, Apple again beat rival computer makers that sell Windows PCs in an annual customer satisfaction survey, a researcher said today.

Apple scored a record 87 points in the newest poll conducted by American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a consumer survey started by the University of Michigan. That number was up a point from 2010's satisfaction poll.

The Cupertino, Calif. company's score was nine points higher than its nearest competitor, Hewlett-Packard, and 10 points higher than other Windows PC makers, including Dell and Acer.

"It's pretty obvious that Apple is successful from a strictly satisfaction level, and that it's doing things very well, much better than the rest of the PC makers," said Forrest Morgeson, the director of research at ACSI.

Morgeson attributed some of Apple's continued dominance to the company's iPad, but stressed that the satisfaction score was based not only on Apple's product line, but on intangibles that others have not been able to duplicate.

"Apple's consumers see [it] as a company that cares, that has a face and a relationship with its customers," said Morgeson. "Others can't say that."

Because ACSI keeps its surveys simple and doesn't solicit comments, Morgeson was hesitant to name specific Apple practices or products that contributed its score.

Other personal computer makers, for example, lack Apple's chain of retail stores, which focus consumer attention on Apple-made products, Morgeson noted. "Those stores certainly don't hurt," was as far as Morgeson would go.

Ironically, the only other personal computer brands that showed a satisfaction score increase in 2011 over the prior year were HP and Compaq, both sold by Hewlett-Packard.

Last month, that company said it was considering spinning off or selling its PC business.

Morgeson cautioned against reading too much into the coincidence, noting that a one-point increase -- which both HP and Compaq posted over last year's results -- was not statistically important. "These one-point changes are pretty small" in the grand scheme of things, said Morgeson.

What is important, he continued, is Apple's long-term supremacy and its ability to regularly post improved scores.

"That's really difficult to do," said Morgeson. "No one comes even close to Apple's ability to consistently score high in customer satisfaction, and not just among technology companies."

Apple has outscored rival PC makers in the ACSI survey each year since 2004, when it became the first manufacturer to rate an 81. Apple posted its lowest score of 69 in 1998, the year after co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company.

Its widest margin of victory in the poll was a ten-point edge over the closest competitor in 2008.

The ACSI survey results and commentary can be found on the organization's Web site.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Read more about macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags retailAppleaceroperating systemsDellsoftwarePCsHewlett-Packardhardware systemsindustry verticalsdesktop pcsMacintoshMac OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?