updated 07:50 am EDT, Tue August 16, 2005
Apple No. 1 on CSI
Apple's customer satisfaction rating , while Dell's rating fell this year as consumers complained of long-wait times for help and trouble getting questions answered. A poll of 80,000 consumers conducted by the University of Michigan found that customer satisfaction at Dell declined 6.3 percent, falling further behind Apple which remained number No. 1 in the survey, after grabbing the top spot in 2004.Bloomberg reports that Apple's customer satisfaction rating was unchanged at 81, while Dell's declined to 74 from 79 in 2004; among internet companies, Time Warner Inc.'s America Online had the biggest gain (rising to 71 from 67 a year ago), while HP rose 2 points from last year to 73 and Google scored 82 on the index. Apple has managed to keep its constomer satisfaction rating at the highest levels since 1994, while Dell slipped to the lowest levels since 1998, according to the report.
Bloomberg interviewed Claes Fornell, marketing professor and head of the university's National Quality Research Center.
"The satisfaction of customers is pretty much a leading indicator as to whether customers will come back and buy more," Fornell said. "Apple looks good. Dell is facing challenges. If I were a Dell shareholder, I'd look at the results."
Dell Chairman Michael Dell told analysts last week internal surveys showed customer satisfaction "improved" in the past quarter even as PC shipments rose and the number of consumers being served increased. While a Dell spokesperson said the company over the past year has hired additional service staff, offered more training and opened four customer- service centers around the world, he said.
"Though he didn't participate in the survey, Fornell said his wife, a Dell customer, has waited on hold for an hour at a time to get the help she was promised under a paid technical support program. Fornell said he'll probably consider Apple when buying his next PC.