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Apple Leads In Customer Satisfaction

New York — Apple continued to dominate Dell among PC manufacturers when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI).

Apple generated a score of 81 on the University of Michigan generated study that covered the second quarter of 2005, ended June 30, while Dell fell to 74. Hewlett-Packard added three points to its score, hitting 73, with Gateway sitting just behind at 72. However, when HP’s Compaq brand is broken out, it scores a 67.

Overall, the PC industry averaged a 74 rating — a sign, according to University of Michigan’s professor Claes Fornell, that the average person still has a great deal of difficulty dealing with such a complicated product.

The ASCI rating, Fornell said, generally portends a coming change in a company’s fortune. Since Apple boosted its ASCI rating, its sales have increased by 33 percent and net income has grown 300 percent. Much of this growth is from iPods and iTunes sales.

Fornell said the study noted Dell’s drop is due in part to less effective customer service, with its call centers having long wait times and other difficulties.

“Still, competitive pricing as a result of Dell’s direct-sales business model keeps overall customer satisfaction slightly above other competitors, with the exception of Apple,” Fornell said.

HP’s performance level, especially its Compaq brand, is not unusual. Fornell said company’s often take their eye off customer service issues while consolidating a new acquisition.

The index is a uniform and independent measure of household consumption experience run by the university’s Stephen M. Ross Business School.