Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Apple tops in customer satisfaction for 8th year

Once again, the company ranks first among PC makers, receiving a score of 87 out of 100 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. HP follows in second place.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
Macs reign supreme in ACSI's 2011 customer satisfaction study.
Macs reign supreme in ACSI's 2011 customer satisfaction study. Apple

For the eighth year in a row, Apple's Macs have satisfied more customers than any other vendor's PCs.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which analyzes consumer feelings toward consumer electronics and appliances, among many other products, said today that Apple's Macs received a score of 87 on the index's 100-point scale measuring customer satisfaction regarding computers. The company's satisfaction score is up 1 percentage point compared to last year's tally, and up 18 percentage points from its low in 1998. What's more, Apple's 87 is the highest mark the company has received since 1995.

"In the eight years that Apple has led the PC industry in customer satisfaction, its stock price has increased by 2,300 percent," Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI, said in a statement. "Apple's winning combination of innovation and product diversification--including spinning off technologies into entirely new directions--has kept the company consistently at the leading edge."

The ACSI's scale is a comprehensive evaluation of customer satisfaction. According to the company, it conducts about 70,000 interviews with customers each year to determine how they feel on a host of variables, including "perceived quality," "customer expectations," and "perceived value." The company also looks at customer loyalty and complaints. The index, produced by ACSI, was founded at the University of Michigan's business school.

Related stories:
Apple, Samsung top J.D. Power satisfaction survey
Apple tops PC customer satisfaction survey
Secrets of Apple's customer success

Apple's victory in customer satisfaction is by no means new for the company. Just this month, the company took the top spot in a J.D. Power study on customer satisfaction with smartphone makers. The firm has even won honors for delivering one of the best online retail experiences to consumers, earning a score of 82 out of 100 in customer satisfaction in a study released last year by research firm ForeSee Results.

Behind Apple, HP landed in second place in ACSI's study with a score of 78, representing a 1 percentage point increase over last year. Dell tied Acer for third place with a score of 77. Both companies received scores of 77 in last year's study, as well. All told, according to ACSI, consumer satisfaction across the PC industry hit 78 this year, matching the score the industry received last year, and up three percentage points from its 2009 score of 75.

Although much of the focus in ACSI's study revolves around Apple's continued dominance in customer satisfaction, the fact that HP landed in second place is notable, considering the tumult surrounding the company's PC business.

Last month, HP announced that it's considering spinning off its PC business, internally known as the Personal Systems Group, so it could focus on its software and solutions business. If HP's board decides to follow through with the decision, the transition could take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Aside from PCs, ACSI also took a quick look at customer satisfaction with televisions, Blu-ray players, and DVD players. According to the firm, all three technologies earned a score of 85.

"Customers are upgrading to TVs that provide better picture quality, more features, and save space, while the Blu-ray disc format is becoming more widely available and affordable," Fornell said in a statement. "Clearly, customers are pleased with what this industry has to offer them."