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Survey: Apple, Google Gaining in Customer Satisfaction

One of my favorite ongoing research projects, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, released its latest quarterly findings yesterday. Like earlier studies conducted by this project of the University of Michigan's business school, the ACSI queries customers to find their likes and dislikes in a few selected industry sectors each quarter. (For example, in early summer it covered TV and wireless-phone services, among others.)

This time around, the survey covered Internet news sites, Web search engines, cars, major appliances and personal computers. As the ACSI highlighted in its press release (PDF), one of the more surprising results was Apple's high score:

Apple defies the industry by moving in the opposite direction and posting its largest gain ever to 85, a new all-time high for the industry. The 8% leap puts 10 points between Apple and its nearest rival, one of the largest gaps between first and second in any industry measured by ACSI.

Google also did very well:

After slipping behind Yahoo! for the first time last year, Google surged an unparalleled 10 percent to leave all rivals in its wake. Google's score of 86 sets a new standard for e-businesses and creates a formidable nine-point gap between its nearest competitor, Yahoo!, which fell 3% to 77.

Other companies in these sectors moved relatively little. For example, in the computers category, Dell bumped up its customer-satisfaction index from 74 to 75, while HP skidded from 76 to 73. In search engines, Yahoo slipped from 79 to 77, MSN held steady at 75 and AOL inched from 67 to 69.

Have a look at the complete results yourself, and then let me know if your own experience matches what those numbers suggest.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 20, 2008; 11:27 AM ET
Categories:  Recommended reading , The business we have chosen  
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I'm very happy with Apple today. I called them last week regarding the battery in my 18-month old MBP only lasting 20 minutes and was told, in a nutshell, so-sad-too-bad and was looking at having to buy a replacement. I read and re-read the terms of my Apple Care agreement, called them this a.m. to ask them again about it and as soon as I said I'd read the agreement and disagreed with them that this battery should be covered as it is defective. I was transferred to another person who took my information and is sending me a new battery to be covered by my warranty. GO APPLE!

Posted by: Joe | August 20, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

How is that 'Go Apple'? If it was done correctly on the first call, I'm with you. But since they were hoping that you couldn't read the first time, and then caved when you called back armed with some information, I call that a point against them.

Posted by: Confused | August 20, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Apple is getting crushed into Applesauce these last few months. But we will learn from our mistakes and make better products. By the way I am feeling fine, and I will let you in on a secret - the new project that we are working on and will reveal in September is a crappy OS...oh wait Microsoft are has that market cornered!


Posted by: Steve Jobs | August 20, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

i have several Macs & iPods-the latest is a Touch received as gift & i totally love it! i've never had a problem w/ over the phone tech support & the Genius Bar @ my local Apple Store has always been the best i could ask for. i bought a DP G5 tower a few years ago that wouldn't boot fresh out of the box. after 2 hours on the phone i returned it to my local Apple Store & they gave me another one no questions asked & a year of Pro Care because they wanted me to be a happy Apple/Mac user. while no company or person is perfect, my satisfaction index w/ Apple has been/is very good as has been the experience w/ most other Apple product users that i know. i admit a couple of these users are switchers that i convinced to try a Mac, but they tell it's been a wonderful experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I've had nothing but great service through Apple's Genius Bar. (The genius, of course, is whoever came up with the concept.)

High praise here for Apple.

Posted by: Dick Walker | August 21, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I have been a happy Mac user since 1984 with dozens of great Apple products. I had problems at all with the latest .Mac to .Me transition, perhaps since I'm still a 10.4.11 user on a number of Macs, including an original 6 year old MacBook which recently developed some hard drive problems. In diagnosing the problem at a local genius bar, it was confirmed and replaced (at no charge even without a service agreement) which solidified my loyalty as a committed and happy Apple customer. I'm eagerly awaiting the pending replacement upgrade to the current MacBook series for my next purchase. I've helped dozens of friends come over to Macs from the dark side this past year. When AT&T finally gets decent coverage in the area of my home, I'll be getting my iPhone to fully integrate my calendars, contacts, etc. If only we had more choice of wireless providers, I could have upgraded with the original iPhone.

Posted by: Bill | August 21, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I have been helped by the Genius bar with my wife's Apple computers in the past, but had a disconcerting experience yesteerday at the Century City store. The genius was reinstalling the system in my new iPod Touch as a trouble shooting step when some manager type walked by and said that they were falling behind schedule, so the Genius stops what he is doing and says that my iPod is defective and the store is out, but they are ordering me a new one that should be in in a couple of days. I am concerned that I was just postponed and will have to setup the same situation and make another appointment to try and get things resolved. Not a happy camper at this time...

Posted by: Mike Megowan | August 21, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I've had to call Apple for tech support twice in the last 10 years, once when I was trying to upgrade the OS on a very old iMac and once when my then-new iPod Touch was not being recognized by iTunes. Each time, I was on the line with a person within a couple of minutes, and each time, that person was knowledgeable, friendly, and easy to understand. (The first problem turned out to be unresolvable, after an hour or two of very patient assistance from Apple -- the hardware just couldn't take the upgrade -- and the second was solved within 15 minutes.) I wish that my experiences with phone support for anything else had ever been as easy and pleasant.

Posted by: jane | August 26, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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