ANN ARBOR, MICH.
— Customer satisfaction improved
for major household appliances and is at or near all-time
highs for personal computers and big-ticket consumer
electronics such as televisions, according to a report
released today by the American Customer Satisfaction
Amid recent news of weak durable-goods growth and
the continued uncertainty of the housing market, the
ACSI results may provide a glimmer of hope for future
demand for these durable products.
Satisfaction with personal computers surged 4 percent
to match the all-time industry high of 78 on the
ACSI’s 0 to100-point scale. Apple gained 2 percent
to 86, its highest score ever. This marks the seventh
straight year that Apple leads all other PC makers, and
the 9-point gap between Apple and its nearest competitor
is the largest in ACSI.
Many Windows-based machines also improved and
no brand declined. Dell improves 3 percent, while
Acer (Gateway and eMachines) and the HP division of
Hewlett-Packard both rose 4 percent, forming a threeway
tie at 77. These companies are joined by the aggregate
of all smaller PC makers, such as Sony and Toshiba,
which gained 4 percent to 77.
“Windows-based PC brands appear to have recovered
from the problems associated with the Windows Vista
software,” said Fornell. “Barely a year into the release of
Windows 7, satisfaction with these brands has returned
to, and in some cases even surpassed, the levels prior to
the launch of Vista.”
PC makers have benefited overall from better customer
service, although this service continues to lag far
behind other durable-goods industries. PC owners who
had reason to contact customer support are 8 percent
less satisfied than those with no post-purchase contact
with the manufacturer or retailer.
Customer satisfaction with major appliances such as
refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and washers and dryers
improves 1.2 percent to 82, matching a 10-year high.
Whirlpool is atop the industry, unchanged at 83. 2010
marks the fifteenth year in a row that Whirlpool has had
at least a share of the industry lead.
GE closed the gap with Whirlpool, gaining 5 percent to
81 and rebounding from a big drop last year. GE’s climb
ties the manufacturer with the aggregate of all smaller appliance
makers, which improved 3 percent to 81. Electrolux
rounds out the industry, unchanged at 79 and matching
a five-year low.
Satisfaction with home electronics such as televisions and
DVD or Blu-ray Disc players increased 2.4 percent to 85,
the best-ever score for the category and the highest level of
customer satisfaction for any ACSI industry thus far in 2010.
Greater affordability has made these products more attractive.
For the first time, prices for some flat-screen TVs
have fallen to less than $500. Prices for DVD and BD
players have dropped as well, translating into better value
for money, with a positive effect on customer satisfaction.
The ACSI surveys of these three categories are done
annually and were done this year between April and June,
a spokesperson said. ACSI is a national economic indicator
of customer evaluations of the quality of products and
services available to household consumers in the United