Apple Loses Some Customer Satisfaction Appeal
May 22, 2013

While Apple Customer Satisfaction Slips, They’re Still Leader Of The Pack

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

In the days leading up to Samsung´s unveiling of the highly-anticipated Galaxy S4, Apple´s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller has gone on the defensive. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Schiller cited numbers from a ChangeWave survey which found 75 percent of all iPhone users reported being “very satisfied” with their phones.

Later, Apple changed their splash page to brag about their eighth — then ninth straight — customer satisfaction awards from J.D. Power and Associates. Customer satisfaction has been their central marketing mantra for several weeks. Now, a new customer satisfaction survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) shows that Apple´s approval rating among customers may be slipping, and just one year after being included in the list for the first time.  The iPhone still comfortably tops the charts, however, competitors like Motorola and Samsung are nipping hard at their heels.

According to the numbers, Apple´s satisfaction ratings have slipped slightly from 2012´s 83 percent to 81 percent. The rivalry between Apple and Samsung is what´s fueling headlines, however, as the Galaxy maker´s satisfaction ratings have risen by five points from 71 to 76 percent.

The ACSI customer satisfaction survey includes ratings on subscription television services, wireless telephone service providers and computer software as well.

All of the major smart phone manufacturers have apparently been doing a good job of keeping their customers satisfied. According to this survey, overall satisfaction is up by 2.7 percent from last year. Though the story about Apple slipping and Samsung gaining makes a eye-catching headline, it doesn´t tell the entire story. While Samsung did see the greatest gain in the past year, Samsung´s satisfaction rating is now about the same as the average for all cell phone makers.

In most graphics displaying the current smartphone race, the “All Others” listing sits at the bottom of the list, capturing those nearly unheard of phone manufacturers or operating systems. In this ACSI list, however, Samsung is tied for fourth place with “All Others,” which doesn't include HTC, LG or BlackBerry, which all fill out the bottom of the list.

“While the iPhone 5 had strong sales, it has not bolstered Apple´s overall customer satisfaction,” reads the survey.

One could read the ACSI report to mean that the general public really does want a larger screen. Apple only released one phone last year, as they have since 2007. In the same time period measured in this survey, Samsung released both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4. Though the Galaxy was a popular phone even before last year, the S3 was seen by many as the first phone that either competed on the same level as the iPhone or even trumped it.

Google´s Motorola also saw a significant increase in approval ratings, jumping five percent from 73 to 77 percent. Even Nokia managed to improve their marks, though they did slip from second to third place over last year. LG lost the most percentage points, dropping from 75 to 71 percent, while BlackBerry managed to remain flat at 69 percent — a feat for a company who is normally seen as falling in nearly every market metric produced in the past three years.