A new update to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index finds that in the second quarter of 2006, computer makers have achieved the highest level of consumer satisfaction recorded in ten years. Although it should be noted these figures were compiled before Dell’s massive battery recall, overall computer makers achieved a satisfaction rating of 77, up 4.1 percent from the same period a year ago. The overall leader amongst computer makers in terms of consumer satisfaction remained Apple Computer, with a score of 83; the score puts it in the top 15 percent of all companies measured by the ASCI. Dell came in with a 78 (a four point rise from the first quarter of 2006), while HP-branded systems landed a score of 75, up two points from the first quarter. HP’s Compaq-branded systems landed a score of 72—but that’s up five points from the first quarter.
The ASCI is produced by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. ACSI scores run from 1 to 100, and measures satisfaction levels with more than 200 companies and government organizations across 10 economics sectors and 42 industries. While the actual numerical scores don’t refer to a specific unit, higher scores indicate greater levels of consumer satisfaction. Scores take into account customer expectations, perceptions of quality and value, as well as customer loyalty and (of course) complaints. Each year, the ACSI interviews roughly 65,000 U.S. consumers via telephone, making it one of the largest customer surveys in the nation.
Among Internet portals, Google continued to lead the ASCI’s rankings, although it dropped one point to 81. Yahoo found its score drop five points to 76, the company’s worst ranking in five years. AOL and MSN each garnered scored of 74; that’s a 4 point gain for AOL and a slight drop for MSN. Since 2000, AOL has improved its score by 32.1 percent, while MSN has managed only a 4.2 percent improvement over the same period.