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Software improvements drive PC user satisfaction

by Dave Hannon

September 22, 2010

by Dave Hannon 

The results of recent American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys show customer satisfaction among users of personal computers and computer software have hit all-time highs this year in the U.S.

Most recently, customer satisfaction among PC users in the U.S. surged 4.0% this month to match the industry’s all-time high of 78 out of a possible 100. In short, PC makers are doing something right.

“Lower prices, better service, and an emphasis on new, smaller systems and a variety of portable PCs helped drive the improvement,” the report said.

The overall average increase was driven in part by Apple’s skyrocketing popularity. While Steve Jobs may not have the light touch with student journalists, Apple users overall appear to be downright giddy these days, with the customer satisfaction level at an all-time high of 86, nine points higher than any other PC maker. (Note for the purposes of this survey, Apple is considered a PC maker, not a consumer electronics firm.)

But Apple wasn’t the only PC maker getting higher marks from customers in the ACSI survey. Windows-based PC makers saw improvements as well, but that may have more to do with improved software than hardware. Earlier this year ACSI data showed computer software satisfaction had increased to 76—an all-time high. (Note the survey does not break out different types of software, so take it for what it is, a very general indicator of consumer satisfaction.) The aggregate of all other software makers was 77, while Microsoft made huge strides with Windows 7, up 9% to a score of 76.

And those numbers are clearly helping PC makers. “Windows-based PC brands appear to have recovered from the problems associated with the Windows Vista software,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI, in a statement. “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.”

Dell, HP and Acer/Gateway/eMachines are all tied at 77.

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