Why Did Apple Do So Poorly?

I’ve had some great discussions about the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings. It’s wonderful to see all of the dialogue. One of the most common questions that I get is: Why was Apple so low (#79 overall)? I’ve given my opinion on this to several people, but I decided to do a more thorough analysis of the Temkin Ratings data.

First of all, Apple did quite well compared to other personal computer makers; ending up with the highest overall Temkin Experience Rating (59%, almost an “okay” rating) which was four percentage points above the industry average and two percentage-points higher than the second-place computer company, Acer.

When examining the three components of the Temkin Experience Ratings, Apple leads more in the Functional component than in other areas…

So Apple is the best of its peers, but it still just “okay” when compared with companies across 12 industries. Here are some reasons why Apple might not be scoring as high as some people might have expected:

  • Apple has always had rabid fans. But as the Mac expands its market, it serves more mainstream users that tend to find it difficult to deal with computer makers (all of them).
  • Females and older consumers are the demographics that gives computer makers the highest experience ratings. It turns out that Apple customers tend to be younger than average and a bit more weighted towards males.

I also looked ahead to the next rating we will be publishing, the 2011 Temkin Loyalty Ratings. Apple does better… #51 overall and seven percentage points above the computer industry average. Keep an eye out to see how Apple does in our Forgiveness, Trust, Customer Service, and Web Experience ratings (I can’t give away all of Apple’s scores too early).

We are also doing an analysis of purchasing experiences across a number of sectors, including personal computers. So I dug a bit into the data we have on 842 US consumers that had recently purchased a computer. Here’s how they rate Apple vs PC makers when it comes to steps in the buying experience:

Apple outpaces PC makers (as a group) across all elements of the new computer process (although when looking at specific PC brands, we find that HP customers are more satisfied than Apple customers with the purchase process and both HP and DELL customers are equally satisfied with the computer they purchased). The largest gap is in the area of customer service where Apple is 13 percentage-points better than PC makers. But in other parts of the process like the actual purchase, Apple is not as far out in front.

Back to the question I setup in the title of this post: Why did Apple do so poorly? It didn’t do poorly at all. It provides the best overall customer experience in the computer industry. But… it does not dominate all areas of the customer experience.

The bottom line: Yes, even Apple has a lot of room for improvement

Customer Experience Industry Leaders

In my previous post, I introduced the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings and showed the top 20 firms. While that is the best way to identify overall leaders, I also want to give a shout-out to firms that are leading in their industries.

USAA, for instance, is the tops in two categories: credit card and insurance.  And Cox Communications may only be #82 on the list and have a “poor” rating, but at least it’s better than all of the other TV Service providers.

The bottom line: It’s better to be the best of the worst than the worst of the worst

The 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings. Congratulations to the top five companies (out of 143 in the ratings):

1) Amazon.com
2) Kohl’s
3) Costco
4) Lowe’s
4) Sam’s Club

The ratings evaluate 143 large organizations across 12 industries based on feedback from 6,000 US consumers.

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The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on evaluating three elements of experience:

  1. Functional: How well do experiences meet consumers’ needs?
  2. Accessible: How easy is it for consumers to do what they want to do?
  3. Emotional: How do consumers feel about the experiences?

Here are the top 20 companies in the ratings:

Here are the results for the 12 industries:

Here are some interesting findings from the report:

  • 15 of the top 20 firms are retailers. The exceptions are three hotel chains (Marriot, Hyatt, and Courtyard By Marriott), one bank (Regions), and an insurance company (USAA).
  • Anthem is at the bottom of the list along with six other health plans that are in the bottom 13. Comcast and Charter Communications each show-up twice in the bottom six spots.
  • Only 24 companies ended up with “excellent” or “good” ratings.
  • When we compare company ratings with their industry averages, three companies outperformed their peers by at least 10 points: TriCare (health plan), USAA (insurance and credit cards), and Regions (bank).

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Are you interested in getting a deeper look at the data? Or do you want to see the differences across age, ethnicity, education, and income segments? Then you should visit Temkin Ratings at www.temkinratings.com.

The bottom line: Customer experience excellence is in short supply.

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