Dell Customer Service Drops; Apple’s Shines

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index, a large-scale telephone survey conducted by the University of Michigan Business School, found for the second year in a row that Apple Computer’s customer support received the best rating from respondents, while Dell Computer’s once highly-regarded support offerings have declined and now merely match the industry average.

According to the study, consumer’s overall satisfaction with the computer industry’s customer support hasn’t changed from a year ago, garnering an overall rating of 74. Similarly, Apple’s top-flight score of 81 matches its performance of a year ago. However, after two years of above-average scores, Dell’s rating dropped from 79 to match the industry average 74. Gateway and Compaq bring up the rear, with Gateway’s score dropping to 72 from the industry average 74 and Compaq’s two-point drop to a score of 67 matching its all-time low. Hewlett-Packard managed to move from a 71 to a 74, with the aggregate score for all other makers moved from 71 to 74.

The ACSI is a telephone-based survey of U.S. consumers updated every quarter, intended to measure consumer perceptions of the quality of products and services they use. The study also rates satisfaction with Internet portals and search engines, as well as automobile manufacturers, electronics, and major appliances.

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