Apple Beats Windows In Customer Experience

When it comes to the customer experience of PC firms, Apple stands alone.


In a new Forrester report, I examined results for the five PC brands in Forrester’s customer experience index (CxPi): Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and HP. The analysis examines feedback from more than 4,500 US consumers about their interactions with these firms. Here’s some of what we found:

  • Apple came out on top, with a “good” rating of 80%. Compaq, HP, and Gateway ended up between 63% and 66% while Dell came in at the bottom with a “poor” 58% rating.
  • Apple received the highest score for all three components of the CxPi. It had a particularly large lead over all other PC makers when it came to being easy to work with (17%+ better than the others) and being enjoyable (15%+ better than the others).
  • Dell landed at the bottom of the PC rankings because it was rated well below the other firms in the areas of being easy to work with and being enjoyable.

The bottom line: The Windows ecosystem needs an extreme customer experience makeover.

P.S. You might also want to read the post Apple Beats Windows, Part Two

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

33 Responses to Apple Beats Windows In Customer Experience

  1. Pingback: Apple Tops PC Customer Service Rankings - Bits Blog -

  2. adesh sidhu says:

    Microsoft is shouting aloud that PCs are cheaper than Macs. You will get what you will pay for…
    Now Microsoft should look towards ways and means to increase customer satisfaction.

  3. krystalo says:

    build your own PC
    Macs suck

  4. bob e says:

    Apple doesn’t beat Windows, Apple beats HP, Dell etc.
    Don’t confuse the OS with the manufacturer

  5. Zippy says:

    Interesting to relate this to the latest PC attack ads on the Mac, MS only said PCs were cheaper not better. So I guess they were honest in that! You get you what you pay for. Did they survey Lauren etc. , if they did probably added to the low low PC scores, “What I bought sucks. Should have got that dam Mac”.

  6. Pingback: Report pans Windows PCs, lauds Macs on customer experience « Erik Bowman’s Blog

  7. Pingback: Report pans Windows PCs, lauds Macs on customer experience | Erik Bowman

  8. Robert says:

    I agree that the OS should not be confused with the manufacturers but Microsoft does need to have more control over how their software is sold and supported by its partners. The experience of buying a PC in a store is not very good. In the same way, they experience of buying a mac in a store that is not a apple store sucks too. But Microsoft does not have its own store (yet) so all they have is a sucky experience. At least they realize it and are working on it.

  9. Pingback: Trade Jim News » Apple: Only good. Dell: Poor and very poor

  10. askbusinesscoach says:

    Just look at the user experience Apple provides – well designed stores with product educated evangelist selling to you. On-line experience is user friendly and well executed. Maybe the rest of the lot should take note.

  11. An anonymous coward, “krystalo” (who is apparently unwilling to be held accountable for his comments) wrote:

    “build your own PC
    Macs suck”

    “krystalo” — what is the basis for your assertion? You cite no data to support your statement that “Macs suck” whereas the author of the original article cited data based on a survey sample size of 4,500 U.S. consumers. Unless you can support your statement with statistical data, you have NO credibility. So put up, or shut up.

  12. Pingback: HAFZ.TV » Blog Archive

  13. Bruce Temkin says:

    Hi everyone: Thanks for the comments; keep them coming.

    There’s an interesting thread about the role of the OS versus the PC itself. It’s hard to ignore the role that Microsoft and Windows plays in the experiences of all the PCs.

    It’s also good to hear some pro-PC voices like krystalo. While the Windows ecosystem (and therefore Microsoft) needs to dramatically improve its customer experience, I don’t think that Microsoft deserves it’s overly negative feedback. The amount of things that people do every day on Windows platforms and with Office applications is truly amazing. This blog, as it turns out, is written on a Windows laptop.

  14. nv1962 says:

    So essentially, it’s still 1984. 🙂

    Perception still is all; perception still is what drives the bottom line.

    And yet, some perceive a profitable niche player as unappealing because they somehow still cling to the the belief that bigger is necessarily better.

    Consumer behavior researchers: proving the pundits wrong since, well, waaaay before 1984.

  15. Dan Wardle says:

    The feedback is based on the “interaction with these firms” – so Windows or the Apple O/S shouldn’t come into it.

    Is Apple the only company that has stores? Does that have any impact on the results because for the other companies – consumers’ contact is limited to telephone and online which is usually less effective than in-person.

  16. Stephen says:

    My experience in South Africa when I bought a new notebook last year:

    Dell was rather disinterested with my requests though they had been brilliant when I bought a laptop from them 4 years ago.

    Apple were very friendly and knowledgeable in the store I visited in Claremont.

    I didn’t even consider Compaq (HP) as the machine I bought from them long ago fell apart because someone had left out one of the bolts in the hinge holding on the screen and I could not get past the call center of their support partner in Cape Town. They were just not interested in the problem and were disgustingly off-hand about the problem.

    Eventually I bought an Acer through an associate as I was not convinced that I would be able to bridge the application gap between Mac and my clients who are all on PCs.

    My subsequent experience of Vista has convinced me to go to Apple for my next machine.

    I hope this is not too much of a rant for a comment. Thanks for this posting – it is good to know.


  17. Lora says:

    *cry* I’ve got a Dell. And I hate it.
    You just made me want to go watch apple adds, they are awesome.

  18. Bruce Temkin says:

    Hi NV, Dan, Stephen, and Lora: Thanks for adding to the conversation. Sorry Lora, to hear that your Dell made you cry.And Stephen, it sounds like you’ve given a bunch of PCs a chance. I’ve also found that most of my clients are still on PCs (although my kids are all Macs all the time).

    Dan raises a great point, the survey we did asked about interactions with the firms, not the products. So it makes sense to question how/if the operating systems play a role in the feedback we found. I think it does; here’s why. We asked consumers to rate their most recent interactions, so if a computer or operating system is not working the way that a consumer would expect, then they are more likely to have had an unpleasant experience witht he company. This is nto always the case, some service and tech support calls can be quite positive. And, there’s always the halo affect. If you like working with something/somebody, you’re more likely to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Dan’s second comment about stores is good as well. Apple is the only one of these PC makers to have prominent retail stores. Those do play well in terms of satisfying consumers. As a matter of fact, Apple did better than Best Buy (and many other retailers) in the overall rankings.

    This, however, is somewhat of a wakeup call to Microsoft, because the Redmond giant needs to figure out how to propel the retail experience across Windows PCs. Take a look at my post called: Microsoft Takes A Giant Leap Into Retail.

  19. Pingback: T e c Z i l l a » Apple macht Kunden glücklich

  20. Pingback: Apple: Only good. Dell: Poor and very poor | Taranfx: Technology Blog

  21. Tommy.S says:

    Wow! Very nice to mistake PC to personal computer! Shows how facts and history are understood!

  22. Pingback: Apple bei der Kundenzufriedenheit klar die Nummer 1 - Apple, Forrester, Kundenzufriedenheit, Dell, Kunden, Firmen, Nase, Heiko - Heiko

  23. Pingback: News Mix: iPhone Nano, Sicherheitslücke entdeckt, Apple Zufriedenheit | Der Blog für dein iPhone!

  24. Pingback: It’s the Customer Experience, Stupid! | MobileJewels TechNews

  25. Gounah says:

    Apple : Complet, simple, élégant, stable, bien supporté, sécuritaire, abouti, etc. Pour ceux qui aime voir leur projets avancer…

    PC (MicroS**t) : Par defaut on ne peut presque rien faire avec windows, il faut toujours des logiciels “third-party” pour lire plusieurs fichiers commun (ex:pdf). Il n’est jamais achevé (voyez le nombre d’updates et de “service packs”). Les problemes de compatibilité et de “drivers” sont fréquents. Il faut ABSOLUMENT avoir un anti-virus dès les premiers instants que windows roule (les virus viennet de partout!!!). Bref, C’EST DE LA M***E! Seulment pour ceux qui aiment perde leur temps pour jouer à des jeux…

    PC (Linux) : Que dire… Pour ceux qui aime avoir l’impression d’être “intelligent”, mais qui n’aboutissent à rien…

  26. SteveT says:

    I’ve built dozens of PCs myself. But I mainly use and trust Macs.

    1, Building a PC is NOT a rewarding experience. Most of
    your time is wasted trying to find PC components that will
    work together.

    2. Once you have assembled your one-of-a-kind PC monstrosity,
    if it even runs, you still need to adjust a series of
    cryptically-worded “BIOS” settings to get the promised speed.

    3. Six months later, your “motherboard” will be discontinued and
    it remains YOUR responsibility to CONSTANTLY keep track of
    all the BIOS and DRIVER UPDATES needed to keep it running.

    Sounds like fun? It isn’t.

    True, buying a DELL or other WINDOWS PC gets you a
    recent motherboard along with matched components,
    and these companies do the “tuning” for you.

    But there are hundreds of different PC models available,
    and a PC you buy today will be discontinued
    and forgotten in a few months’ time.

    Any design defects or problems will be slow to surface
    since the production runs are small compared to
    Mac models.

    Mac models are sold for years in huge production runs,
    so any flaws are always quick to surface.

    Type “MacBook” into Wikipedia and you get information and links.
    Typing Dell 700M into Wikipedia will get you nothing.

    Some people with WINDOWS PCs take their computers in quarterly
    to remove viruses at $150 a trip.

    Why bother?

    Get a Mac.


  27. Pingback: Experiencia de cliente

  28. Mike Moroze says:

    Why would Apple have a higher customer experience rating? Perhaps this quote from Steve Jobs provides some insight:
    “Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to the par, it’s our fault, plain and simple.” – Steve Jobs

    PCs are at a significant disadvantage as they don’t have a model that looks at the “complete user experience.” This systems/design thinking is core to many successful companies (and I would argue – even increasingly important in these economic times).

  29. nv1962 says:

    Good observation, Mike. In my estimation, the real difference here is not one of different measures of performance by different companies in delivering a given product / service package wrapped in a given brand, but one of totally different views on what the product really is.

    It’s not an exercise in marketing sophistry; I really do believe that “Apple” is a totally different product than “PC” – even when they ostensibly (at least can) deliver exactly the same resulting output, which I’ll conveniently call “productivity,” even when they arguably have essentially the same constituting elements. I think the difference is roughly that between a building contractor looking at a newly built house, and a prospective buyer looking for a new home.

    It’s somewhat mystifying to me how, in spite of an economically speaking vastly larger overall collective market size for “PC” products, that enormously bigger amount of money in play somehow doesn’t register, isn’t translated by responsible executives as a bigger prize in play to strive for (and now I’ll resort to old-fashioned 80s vernacular) excellence in delivering not just good (as in: well built) products, but optimal solutions from the patron’s perspective.

    All the topical grandstanding by over-involved and deeply invested technological “experts” aside, it’s the customer that pays the bills. And if, such as the very recent remarkable profit announcement by Apple is to be taken as another yardstick – so, aside from the more qualitative angle of customer satisfaction here – Apple is managing to run circles around their strangely stubborn competitors. As different as the two products “Apple” and “PC” are, their latent common market is dominated by Apple’s more targeted, goals directed approach to the consumer (be it at home or in larger organizatoins) whereas “PC” is stuck in terms of “buyers.”

    To wrap it up: Apple is much more akin to certain well-known foreign car makers, catering faster and better to needs and wants (even and especially the latent ones) wheres “PC” responds and behaves like spoiled, overprotected and inefficient behemoth spewing domestic car makers.

  30. Bruce Temkin says:

    Steve T, Mike, and nv1962: Thanks for commenting. You’ve each added something a bit different to the discussion.

    SteveT has clearly played wth the guts of a computer more than I have and makes a good point about components. Most PC makers are just assemblers of components that they get from a wide range of suppliers.

    Mike highlights the importance of a culture based on customer experience, and the need for this focus to come from the top (like it does at Apple).

    nv1962 (nice name) makes a comparison between a house (PCs) and a home (Apple). Apple users definitely feel connected to their Macs!

    Keep up the conversation!

  31. Pingback: Five Reasons Why I Really Like Apple Ads « Customer Experience Matters

  32. Pingback: Apple Tops PC Customer Service Rankings « the iBlog…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: