updated 03:27 am EDT, Wed March 27, 2013
Overall quality of experience slowly improving, ratings show
A study of 10,000 US computer users by customer satisfaction analyst Tempkin Group has once again ranked Apple as the top manufacturer for overall "computer experience" quality, which is defined as having excellent functionality, being accessible and generating the strongest positive emotions. This is the third year running that Apple has topped the list, but HP took second place -- losing by only two percentage points, and with a higher "functionality" rating than Apple. Sony and Lenovo were ranked least favorably of the 10 manufacturers rated.
Overall computer experience has been improving in the three years since Tempkin began the survey, rising from a 54 percent ranking in 2011 to 60 percent ranking now. Apple's rating of 64 percent was enough to make it the winner, but the rating was down one percentage point from last year. HP gained three percentage points since the last survey, narrowing the gap with the iPhone maker.
Apple scored highest in the "accessible" and "emotional" aspects of the poll but lost to HP on "functionality." Apple and HP were the only two computer companies that had consistently higher than industry average scores in all three aspects of the survey.
Sony and Lenovo ranked the worst, tied at 54 percent for quality of experience. Both companies' ratings declined significantly since the previous survey, and were dinged significantly in both the "functionality" and "accessibility" arenas. Dell was the "most improved" scoring company, jumping six points from last year's ratings but still only managing third place.
Interestingly, the computer industry overall ranked somewhere in the middle of the 19 industries surveyed by Tempkin in terms of overall experience, with very few industries rising above mediocre at best. Customers surveyed picked grocery chains as having the best overall experience, alongside fast food chains and parcel delivery companies. TV service providers (meaning cable and satellite companies) ranked among the lowest of the industries, never rising above a "poor" rating. Other industries had wider ranges of experience, but some that racked up significant negative experiences included airlines, wireless carriers, appliance makers, health insurance providers, insurance providers generally, Internet service providers and hotels.