How does your PC manufacturer rate?

Customers’ experiences with the big six PC manufacturers leave ample room for improvement, according to a recent study from Forrester

Forrester Research’s recently released "Customer Experience Index 2010: PC Manufacturers" provides some interesting insights into customers’ overall level of satisfaction with their PC vendors. I would like to both share these results and use them as a starting point to discuss whether PC manufacturers are meeting Gripe Line readers’ needs.

Forrester’s report looks at Acer, Apple, Compaq, Dell, HP, and Toshiba, asking 4,600 U.S. consumers to rate their interactions with these companies in three categories: Meets Needs, Easy to Work With, and Enjoyability. Based on the results of this survey, Forrester has calculated rankings for the manufacturers.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Gripe Line readers note a disturbing trend in "Defective hardware, deteriorating customer service" | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]

Apple topped the overall list for the second year in a row, while Dell -- also for the second time in a row -- brought up the bottom. Worth noting is the fact that Apple’s overall rating declined since last year, but Dell’s improved. Maybe someday they will meet in the middle?

Not a single company received an Excellent overall rating, which requires a customer experience index of 85 percent or above. Apple came the closest at 78 percent. HP was second with a rating of 71 percent, an improvement from 64 percent last year. For those interested in looking beyond the numbers, this means the average HP customer experience went from Poor to Good in the span of one year.

Most companies appear to be satisfying customer requirements, as evidenced by the close competition in the Meets Needs category, which Apple topped at 80 percent, and Dell came in last with a disappointing 68 percent.

The Enjoyable category is where manufacturers’ performance proved the most dismal. If my middle schooler brought home grades like these, he’d be grounded. Apple passed at 74 percent, but Dell came in nearly failing with 61 percent -- though that's an improvement over last year, and better than Toshiba did at 57 percent.

Do these results match up with your experiences? Got any questions about the results? Got gripes? Send them to christina_tynan-wood@infoworld.com.

This story, "How does your PC manufacturer rate?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Christina Tynan-Wood's Gripe Line blog at InfoWorld.com.

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