updated 09:15 am EDT, Tue September 21, 2010
Apple tops ACSI index while PC users climb up
Apple today managed to get its best-ever score on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and maintain its lead over Windows PCs. Happiness with Macs climbed from 84 points last year to an all-time high of 86 this year. It has a nine-point lead over the maximum 77 point score for Windows PCs, the largest gap of any category in the ACSI.
Windows brands did improve, but not fast enough to close the gap. Acer, Dell and HP tied for the 77 point score. The aggregate of smaller PC builders like Sony and Toshiba also reached 77, although HP's Compaq label maintained its poor reputation with the last place score of 74.
Most of the improvement on the Windows side was attributed to the switch to Windows 7. Vista had been considered a liability for Microsoft even late into its life through its reputation for incompatibility and poor performance on some systems. Attempts to improve customer support may have also borne fruit.
Apple's lead was credited partly to the introduction of the iPad but also its determination to be creative and diverse. Its use of much stronger, North America-based support also gave it an edge over competitors. Most of its competitors both contend with a more varied product pool and support outsourced to India or the Philippines that continues to draw complaints.