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American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI

Quality Insider

ACSI: Higher Satisfaction with PCs, Appliances, Electronics

Apple, Whirlpool on top; strong gains for GE, Dell, Acer, and HP

Published: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 04:30

(ACSI: Ann Arbor, MI) -- Customer satisfaction has improved for major household appliances and is at or near all-time highs for personal computers and big-ticket consumer electronics such as televisions, according to a report released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Amid recent news of weak durable goods growth and the continued uncertainty of the housing market, the ACSI results may provide a glimmer of hope for future demand for these durable products.

“In order for demand to rebound, consumers must exhibit an increased desire to spend and have the means to do so,” says Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). “ACSI data suggest that, for durables, the first condition has been met in the form of higher customer satisfaction. Whether this will translate into increased consumer demand will depend on positive movement in the factors that impact the means to spend: employment, wages, and access to credit.”

Personal computers: Apple dominates amid industrywide improvement

Satisfaction with personal computers has surged 4 percent to match the all-time industry high of 78 on the ACSI’s 0 to100-point scale. Apple gains 2 percent to 86, its highest score ever. This marks the seventh straight year that Apple leads all other PC makers, and the nine-point gap between Apple and its nearest competitor is the largest in ACSI.

Satisfaction with many Windows-based machines has also improved, and no brand has declined. Dell improves 3 percent, while Acer (Gateway and eMachines) and the HP division of Hewlett-Packard have both risen 4 percent, forming a three-way tie at 77—well behind Apple. These companies are joined by the aggregate of all smaller PC makers, such as Sony and Toshiba, which gained 4 percent to 77.

“Windows-based PC brands appear to have recovered from the problems associated with the Windows Vista software,” says Fornell. “Barely a year into the release of Windows 7, satisfaction with these brands has returned to, and in some cases even surpassed, the levels prior to the launch of Vista.”

PC makers have benefited overall from better customer service, although this service continues to lag far behind other durable goods industries. PC owners who had reason to contact customer support are 8 percent less satisfied than those with no post-purchase contact with the manufacturer or retailer.

Major appliances: Whirlpool maintains lead, but GE is catching up

Customer satisfaction with major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and washers and dryers has improved 1.2 percent to 82, matching a 10-year high. Whirlpool, unchanged at 83, is atop the industry, and 2010 marks the fifteenth year in a row that the company has had at least a share of the industry lead. GE has narrowed the gap with Whirlpool, gaining 5 percent to 81 and rebounding from a big drop last year. GE’s climb ties the manufacturer with the aggregate of all smaller appliance makers, which improved 3 percent to 81. Electrolux rounds out the industry, unchanged at 79 and matching a five-year low.

Consumer electronics rise to all-time high

Satisfaction with home electronics such as televisions and DVD or Blu-ray disc (BD) players has increased 2.4 percent to 85, the best-ever score for the category and the highest level of customer satisfaction for any ACSI industry thus far in 2010. Greater affordability has made these products more attractive. For the first time, prices for some flat-screen TVs have fallen below $500. Prices for DVD and BD players have dropped as well, translating into better value for the money, with a positive effect on customer satisfaction.

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American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI’s picture

American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and produced by ACSI LLC, is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. The national index is updated each quarter and scores on a zero-to-100 scale at the national level. The ACSI produces indexes for 10 economic sectors, 47 industries, more than 225 companies, and more than 200 federal or local government services.

Comments

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!, READ WARRANTY CAREFULLY!!

I have recently had a different outcome from my dealings with HP specifically. I purchased a new HP laptop for a little less than $500.00 last december for my wife to use for around the house or when she travels. I found a very nice machine at our local Wal-mart which worked perfectly and generally satisfied all of our needs.

The problem came in when a few of the keys popped off. The plastic they were made of was extremely brittle and it appears inevitable they would fail rather soon in the life of the product. So, I felt no problem I will call the service center and ask them to fix it under warranty. They responded very nicely and even sent a box to ship it back to them. I was impressed and even more content with my decision.

A couple weeks past by and I recieved a phone call from a customer service manager, finding out later all of the customer service people identify themselves as a "manager", stating the machine was ruined and it would cost $752.00 to repair it. My first thought was "why would I spend over $700.00 dollars to repair a laptop I paid $500 for?" I explained to the manager that I had just sent the laptop in to have some keys fixed and it was covered under the warranty. She told me they had there technician and engineer look at the machine and it had water condensation inside it which had damaged several parts. I am still attempting to get HP to repair my laptop to no avail.

My point being if you believe these companies are really getting higher satisfaction ratings I would check your source for recent changes in metrics. Although these companies have well instituted methods for dealing with customers I found there ability to actually discuss and deal with a customer extremely lacking in tact as well as professionalism.

Additionally, I found several products this year quietly changes what used to be a solid warranty to word smithed contracts for excluding parts they cost down. Washing machines with a 1 year limited warranty but 5 years on the motor, Lawnmowers with a 1 year manufacturers warranty that is not honored 1 week after purchase, and a Laptop warranty not worth the paper it is printed on.

After all a laptop is a mobile device it is meant to be used in multiple climates, shaked, rattled, and abused while traveling. Is it my responsiblity to control the climate it is used in or is this foreseeable by the manufacturer? HP will NOT sell another product to me or my department at work or at home as long as these tactics are in place!

Obviously the people surveyed for this data have not read the fine print in their warranty. The lesson is READ and understand the warranty before you buy.

Disappointed Customer