Apple’s online store slid out of the top five in customer satisfaction while Amazon remains tops, according to an online retailer study by Foresee. In fact, Apple had its lowest score in four years, achieving only an 80 percent rating.
Amazon retained its industry-leading 88 percent satisfaction score from 2011 in the study, which asked more than 24,000 consumers about their online shopping experiences between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dell slid to 77 percent — below average — while Netflix improved slightly. The worst performer, however, was JCPenney, slipping from 83 percent to 78 percent.
Amazon has had the highest score running for eight consecutive years, according to Foresee.
“At this point, Amazon has been dominant for so long and has such a history of focusing on the customer, it’s hard to imagine anyone else coming close,” ForeSee president and CEO Larry Freed said in a statement. “Companies should emulate Amazon’s focus on the customer, which is clearly linked to superior revenues over the years.”
In Apple’s defense, it might argue that those superior revenues are not accompanied by significant profits. And that it’s difficult to maintain high standards when the company increased net sales 144 percent from $108 billion in 2011 to $156 billion in 2012 — a staggering number that is quadruple Apple’s sales from just four years ago.
What I can say from personal experience is that Apple seems to be working hard at improving. I recently ordered a MacBook Air for my son for Christmas, and when there was some concern over whether it would arrive in time, Apple added an iPod Shuffle to the order, gratis. (The Air did eventually arrive on time.)
But customer service is a numbers game as well as a personal, one-on-one business.
“We’re seeing that even some of the largest companies in the country are at risk if they lose sight of customer satisfaction,” Freed added. “Satisfaction with the customer experience … is the most important predictor of future success.”
Here is ForeSee’s list of the top 100 online retailers in the U.S., with their customer satisfaction scores: