Apple blew away its PC industry peers in this year's American Customer Satisfaction Index, perhaps because it was the only company that didn't release a Windows Vista PC.
The University of Michigan released its annual ACSI scores Tuesday for the PC industry, and Apple took top honors for the fifth straight year. Apple was the only company in the PC industry other than Dell to post an increase in customer satisfaction in 2008 compared to last year, said Claes Fornell, a professor at the university and head of the ACSI.
The ACSI scores measure a consumer's overall satisfaction with a company, which includes product quality, value, customer service, and essentially anything else that impresses or annoys a customer of a particular company. Apple scored an 85 on the index, its highest score ever and a full ten points higher than second place finisher Dell.
Fornell attributed Apple's score to the clear success the Mac has had among the U.S. public, but also pointed out that dissatisfaction with Windows Vista might have hurt the scores for the other companies, such as Hewlett-Packard and Gateway. HP, the market leader in PCs, is measured by its two PC brands--HP and Compaq--and both brands saw about 4 percent drops in satisfaction compared to last year.
The scores were assembled during the second quarter through thousands of interviews, and so therefore don't reflect the launch of the iPhone 3G and MobileMe, two black eyes for Apple's customer service this year. Fornell said he would expect Apple's score to level off next year in any event, as "we have never seen a gap between the leader and the rest of the pack this big. If we are correct in that it has something to do with the launch of Vista, the other guys will of course correct that and come back a little bit."