Microsoft and Verizon may need to learn a thing or two about customer service from IBM's Informix, according to a report released Wednesday by market researcher VendorRate.
Among IT professionals questioned, Microsoft's customer satisfaction ratings for the second quarter dropped in three key areas.
Out of a score of 100, Microsoft's server and infrastructure software rated 55, a 17 percent decline from the first quarter; its operating systems scored 67, down 9.5 percent; and its applications came in at 64, an 18 percent dip.
"Microsoft was cruising along with satisfactory scores in earlier reports, but it simply fell off a cliff in this quarter," Rick Schaefer, CEO of VendorRate, said in a statement.
Of all vendors measured, Verizon Communications came in lowest as an overall company for customer satisfaction, scoring 61 out of 100. Sprint Nextel and AT&T Wireless also came in near the bottom, at 64 and 67 points, respectively--a reflection of the telecom industry's poor showing overall.
"Once again the telecom sector sinks to the bottom of all lists," Schaefer said. "Either telecom vendors don't get it, or they don't seem to care."
However, not all of telecom is broken. Telecom equipment maker ShoreTel made it into the No. 2 slot of vendors with a rating of 92.
IBM's Informix scored at the top of the list with a rating of 96. Formed when IBM bought the Informix technology in 2001, it specializes in online transaction processing, an automated system used by banks, airlines, and other industries to interact with customers.
"IBM Informix was among the top rated vendors for the fourth straight quarter," noted Schaefer, "and this is the first time that ShoreTel made it into the top rankings."
Still, not everything that IBM touches turns to gold. IBM Global Services ranked near the bottom of consultants with a rating of 66.
VendorRate gathers ratings and reviews from IT and business professionals. For its second-quarter report, the company surveyed more than 1,500 IT professionals at trade shows, conferences, its own Web site, and "virtual events."
Those questioned by VendorRate ranked nearly 350 companies on 10 criteria, including customer service, reliability, integrity, budget, and effectiveness for a cumulative score of 100. The ratings were collected from April 1 through June 30.