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DO NOT REPUBLISH Samsung beats Apple in customer satisfaction?

For the first time ever in 2014, the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index sees Samsung's cell phones rise above Apple's. Why might this have been?

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It seems Samsung is the ultimate cell phone joy-bringer. CNET

We live in a permanent state of dissatisfaction, bemoaning our lacks and examining our gaps.

At times, though, research companies come along and ask us if we're happy with material goods.

I was temporarily mesmerized by a press release from the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index when I read headlines such as: "Internet Service Providers at Rock Bottom Without Much Incentive to Improve."

I was also moved to incorrigible giggles by statements such as these: "Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable have the most dissatisfied customers. Comcast falls 5% to 60, while Time Warner registers the biggest loss and plunges 7% to 56, its lowest score to date."

But then tucked near the bottom was the news that Americans are becoming more and more satisfied with their cell phones. The Index of Satisfaction has risen by 2.6 percent over the last year.

Now here was the real excitement: Samsung, for the first time in the Index's history, had beaten Apple in terms of customer joy. There was only one problem with this: the survey was actually performed in March of 2014.

At the time, Samsung's ACSI score rose by 7 percent. Apple's, on the other hand, dipped by 2 percent. The Index's compilers believe that the greater proportion of smartphones in Samsung's offering has contributed to this enormous success.

Moreover, David VanAmburg, the ACSI's director, explained: "Apple's magic isn't gone, but the luster has dulled on its older models. Each iteration improves on the last, but Apple's yearlong product refresh cycle is an eternity when a new Android phone seems to be released every week."

I must confess I hadn't been aware that the constant release of new Samsung phones created an almost permanent level of rapture. However, perhaps I am merely drinking in the wrong bars.

The Index is created from interviews with around 70,000 Americans. The university's methodology looks at the things that drive satisfaction, as well as the outcomes of that satisfaction (or lack thereof), such as complaints from customers and negative comments on tech sites. (I made up that last one.)

The index is calculated on the basis of answers to a weighted average of, well, three questions. That's when magical (and possibly revolutionary) proprietary software kicks in and produces the final result.

In the end, 2014 was very troubled for Samsung. In October, the company said it expects profits to drop by 60 percent in its third quarter.

It would be interesting to see what new figures might show.

Could it be that the launch of a new product by Apple naturally brings with it more complaints, because people, being whiny types, have greater expectations? Could it be that the Samsung Galaxy range has so deeply embedded itself in its owners' psyches that they will defend their phones like family or their favorite pet? Or could it be that the numbers will be very different come early 2015?

It is rumored that Apple will announce a record fourth quarter for 2014. The company is also promising that its new watch will pour the company's superior taste over the world in early 2015. Equally, Samsung is said to be preparing its Galaxy S6 phone and who knows what other goodies to stifle Apple's momentum.

What will happen to customer satisfaction then? Or will we all be too enthralled by another Apple-Samsung copying court case to ask ourselves whether we're satisfied with our phones or not?

This article was amended to reflect the timing of the survey.