Apple Still King of Customer Satisfaction

by Matt Klassen on March 22, 2013

Apple may have been dethroned as the king of the mobile empire, but according to a recent survey from J.D. Power and Associates the Cupertino Company still holds the hearts and minds of the people, once again taking top spot in the firm’s customer satisfaction rankings. This is the ninth consecutive time Apple has topped the satisfaction survey, scoring 855 out of 1000; an increase over the company’s 849 rating when J.D. Power last conducted this study in September.

Surprisingly, the global smartphone leader Samsung didn’t rank number two, that spot going to perpetual smartphone disappointment Nokia (795), with the Korean tech giant spotting in at third with a score of 793. Motorola and HTC rounded out the top five with 792 and 790 respectively, while rebranded Blackberry scored a woeful 732, well below the survey average of 796.

While Blackberry’s deplorable score is due exclusively to the fact that the survey was conducted before the company’s new BB10 smartphones hit the market, the results show one very clear trend, while Samsung and others may appeal to the rational side of people’s brains by offering advanced features at an affordable price, no one has captured the emotional side of the tech market quite like Apple.

The findings of the survey from J.D. Power and Associates are based on customer experiences with specific products, those products then reflecting customer’s overall satisfaction with the company itself. While ‘satisfaction’ is often a nebulous concept, the research firm broke the study up into several key factors and rated those factors in overall importance. The key factors are: performance (29%); ease of operation (26%); physical design (24%); and features (21%). For smartphones, the key factors are performance (33%); physical design (23%); features (22%); and ease of operation (22%).

The study found that overall customer satisfaction scores increased across the board, the mean score of 796 an increase of 22 points over the company’s last biannual study. Attributing this increase to advances in smartphone features, apps, and services, the study found that on average customers were more satisfied with every facet of their smartphone covered by this study, with performance seeing the greatest increase among all categories (26 points).

“As the capabilities of wireless phones and their applications continue to expand, and as customers grow more reliant on their device, handset manufacturers have an opportunity to further shape the customer experience and impact satisfaction with better integration of services and more communication options, such as video chat,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power and Associates. “It is important, however, that manufacturers meet the expectations of those customers who take advantage of such offers by ensuring the features are intuitive and, ultimately, rewarding to them. Providing an easy-to-use, yet powerful operating system with the ability to customize applications to suit individual needs is essential to providing a high-quality and rewarding wireless experience.”

In addition to overall customer satisfaction, the study gleaned some interesting tidbits regarding customer habits and experiences with their smartphone, noting that nearly 2 in 10 (17 percent) of smartphone customers experience a software or device malfunction, and that smartphone users spend on average 115 minutes per week social networking on their mobile handset.

In the end, it certainly is no surprise to see Apple once again top this list, as those who purchase Apple products are usually already fans of the Apple brand, while those who purchase Android or other competing devices usually are looking for a quality affordable alternative to expensive Apple phones, holding no particular love for their chosen brand itself. For me, I’m interested to see what next September’s survey reveals, as it might be our first tangible indication of how Blackberry’s recovery is progressing and if Apple is really fading from view.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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