Report: The PC Buying Experience, 2011

We just published a new Temkin Group report, The PC Buying Experience, 2011.

Do you want to know how consumers chose computers and the difference between Apple buyers and others? Or the differences in channels that they use?

Here’s the executive summary:

Computers have become a standard appliance in most households, but why aren’t they easy to buy? This report analyzes the buying process of 842 US consumers that have recently purchased a computer. Apple is the leader across the buying experience but Dell and HP are not far behind. This report compares the customer satisfaction of the leading computer suppliers in five stages of the consumers buying process. It also examines influences and decision factors on the consumer buying decision by major PC manufacturer. Key findings are that Apple consumers care more about customer service than PC buyers, consumers that buy PCs directly from the manufacturer are more satisfied than those that buy at a retailer and Best Buy employees are more helpful than those at other retailers.

Download report for $195

As you can see from the following graphic (one of the 10 figures in the report), Apple’s largest satisfaction gap with PC makers shows up in customer service and the smallest gaps are with the buying process and with the computer itself.

The report also examines this data by PC brands. That analysis shows that HP and Dell are much more competitive with Apple than are “other” PC makes. HP outpaces Apple when it comes to the process of purchasing the computer and Dell is only one percentage point behind Apple when it comes to the ease of setting up a computer. Buyers of all three brands are equally satisfied with the computer they purchased.

Download report for $195

The bottom line: Apple leads customer service expectations and delivery

P.S. For more information on customer experience ratings of computer companies, see the post: Why Did Apple Do So Poorly? which highlights the results of 10 computer makers in the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings

PCs Narrow Customer Experience Gap With Apple

Earlier this year I published the 2010 Customer Experience Index (CxPi) that ranked 133 companies across 14 industries. As a follow-on to that analysis, I recently published a research report focused on the six computer manufacturers on the list. The overall industry average improved two percentage points, going from 64% to 66% — crossing into the “okay” range. And, Apple was once again well out in front of the pack.

Here are the results for the 2010 CxPi and the previous (2008) CxPi:

But the aggregate scores aren’t the key story. It turns out that the “PC” firms all improved their customer experience while Apple’s score dropped. In 2008, Apple had a 16+ percentage point lead, but HP has narrowed the gap to 7 percentage points.

So I decided to update the graphic that I used last year:

The bottom line: The Windows ecosystem is getting better.

P.S. Take a look at this post from last year: Apple Beats Windows, Part Two

Apple Beats Windows, Part Two

When I published my recent post about customer experience in the PC industry, it seemed to have touched a nerve. A bunch of journalists and bloggers have picked up on the results. Since I’ve provided my thoughts in comments and in other news outlets that people may not have read, I’m using this post to share what I was thinking. Here goes:

  • The OS matters. While our research did not isolate what caused the consumer ratings, it would be hard (nearly impossible) to believe that the operating system didn’t play a role in how consumers rated their experiences. So Microsoft/Windows is definitely a part of the reason why the PC makers did so poorly.
  • Don’t blame the OS. I know this seems to totally contradict my last point, but it doesn’t. What I mean is that the PC makers can and should do better — even if consumers seem to like the Mac OS better than Windows. It wasn’t too long ago that Dell was the darling of the computer industry. And, if I remember, they were selling Windows-based PCs.
  • Microsoft gets short-changed.  While the Windows ecosystem 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.
  • Apple creates zealots. The comments in my blog have been overwhelmingly pro-Apple and anti-Microsoft/Windows. There appears to be a large cult-like group of Mac lovers looking for outlets to voice their devotion to Apple. Microsoft, on the other hand, has converted few disciples.
  • Microsoft wants to improve. Microsoft hired a former Walmart executive to open a chain of retail stores and unveiled its huge Retail Experience Center in Redmond which I actually visited last year; it’s quite impressive. The software giant also has appointed Julie Larson-Green to overhaul the Windows experience

The bottom line: Hopefully Microsoft stays focused on customer experience.

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