|For the tenth year in a row, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has awarded Apple the top spot for customer satisfaction in the personal computing sector. The satisfaction score for Apple -- 87 -- is one point higher than the company scored last year, and a full eight points higher than the overall industry average. The overall industry score fell 1.3 percent, driven by declines in customer satisfaction with Dell and Acer, while HP and Toshiba managed to gain single percentage points over their 2012 score.
While strong customer satisfaction scores don't always correspond to strong sales, a long reputation for quality and strong after-sale support has been an important factor in Apple's rise in consumer circles, helping to overcome the perception that Windows was a permanent standard that could never be questioned or challenged. New Mac and iOS users often take to public discussion forums to heap praise on the company in the way that it handles any issues or defects, providing a level of craftsmanship and support that few Windows and other consumer electronics buyers ever see.
The "personal computing" score for ACSI itself reflects how times have changed in just the last 10 years. The survey's full results include four companies -- IBM, Compaq (now part of HP), Gateway and Packard Bell -- that no longer make personal computers (or in some cases exist). The poll covers desktops, laptops and tablets, which are all considered "computers," but doesn't include smartphones. The company compiled a number of metrics, including customer expectations pre-sale, perceived quality, perceived value, customer complaint incidents and customer loyalty to produce the final score on a scale of 100.
In compiling its results, the company noted that while the tablet market has diversified considerably over the last few years, Apple's iPad still accounts for 80 percent of the tablets owned by survey respondents. The index was compiled based on results from buyers only in the US and may not be reflective of satisfaction levels outside the country. Still, Apple has recently won a string of victories in what Apple CEO Tim Cook calls "customer sat" in other countries, including displacing Samsung for the top smartphone vendor by satisfaction score in South Korea.