Customer satisfaction surveys have long been touted by supporters of one company or another as clear indicators of success in the market. While these surveys are clearly not the best way to decide which product is better, they do provide us an idea about how the “average consumer” regards a certain product.
With that said, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a private company that gauges consumer sentiment in the United States, published their findings for this year, revealing some interesting developments.
The two phones that American consumers are most satisfied with are, according to ACSI, the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2, which both scored 84 out of 100.
Following just behind is Apple’s triad: the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S with 82, and the iPhone 4 with 81.
Other phones mentioned by the ACSI press release are the Droid Razr Maxx HD with 80, Droid Razr with 77, and the Galaxy S2 with 72.
It’s interesting that the iPhone 5 actually ranked first in South Korea, Samsung’s homeland, though ACSI didn’t elaborate on the finding. Our guess is this has something to do with the iPhone being more exotic in South Korea, where Samsung has a huge market share.
Because Samsung also makes feature phones, which generally score lower in customer satisfaction, the Korean company’s overall score is still lower than Apple’s, though ACSI predicts that might change if the Galaxy S4 fares as well as its predecessor. Samsung current flagship wasn’t included in this survey because it hadn’t shipped at the time the research was conducted.
Samsung Beats Apple in New Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study from ACSI
ANN ARBOR, Mich., (July 31, 2013) – Samsung hits a home run with its Galaxy S III and Note II, according to a smartphone brand study released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The new study provides 2013 customer satisfaction benchmarks for 10 of the past year’s top-selling smartphone models in the United States.
Samsung’s flagship model for 2012, the S III, receives an ACSI benchmark of 84 (on a 0 to 100 scale), beating Apple’s iPhone 5 at 82, the company’s most recent smartphone offering. Another Samsung model, Note II, shares the top of list at 84. Galaxy S4 is not included because the ACSI study was fielded just prior to its launch.
While U.S. customers give Samsung’s smartphones the top scores, Korean consumers prefer Apple. According to the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI) in South Korea, which uses the same technology as the ACSI, the iPhone 5 has higher customer satisfaction than Galaxy S III.
The smartphone segment of the cell phone market is growing at a rapid clip, and ACSI data suggest that smartphone users are much more satisfied than are feature phone users. Overall, smartphones earn a customer satisfaction score of 76 compared to 69 for feature phones.
“While feature phones are cheaper, and therefore viewed by many customers as better value, smartphones excel in quality,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and Chairman. “Smartphones receive strong marks for feature variety, design and ease of use, with battery life as their only real shortcoming.”
The iPhone 4S matches its successor-iPhone 5-with an ACSI score of 82. Apple’s iPhone 4 is just a point below at 81. On the other hand, at a score of 78, customer satisfaction with the Galaxy S II, precursor to the S III, is lower. Motorola Mobility’s Droid Razr Maxx HD comes in at 80, while the Droid Razr scores 77. The low end belongs to BlackBerry, far below competition, with 67 and 64, respectively, for its Curve and Bold smartphones.
“Not only does Samsung edge ahead of all iPhones, Apple customers themselves don’t see much difference between the iPhone 4, 4S or 5,” says ACSI Director David VanAmburg. “The latest earnings report from Apple was better than expected, but the name of the game for Apple has always been innovation. Samsung, on the other hand, shows a strong upward ACSI trend from the Galaxy S II to the Galaxy S III. If the S4 performs as well-or even better-in the eyes of customers, Samsung could threaten Apple’s dominance in overall customer satisfaction.”
The smartphone brand study complements and expands the ACSI’s coverage of the cell phone industry, updated in May 2013, gauging customer satisfaction with each company’s complete array of product offerings-smartphones and feature phones. As reported earlier, Apple’s overall ACSI score is 81, a 2% drop compared with 2012, but strong enough to retain the industry lead.
Unlike Apple, which has a smartphone-only lineup, Samsung offers both feature and smartphones. At 76, Samsung continues to lag Apple for overall customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, the company’s 7% gain in 2013 is a clear reflection of the strength of Galaxy S III.
“Like Apple, BlackBerry offers smart devices only, yet the company stays firmly entrenched at the bottom of the industry in customer satisfaction,” says Fornell. “This does not bode well for BlackBerry considering that smart typically outperforms feature when it comes to cell phones.”