“Because of lower prices, upgrades in power and capabilities, and gradually more experienced users, customer satisfaction with personal computers has improved to a level last seen in 2000. Apple leads with a score of 81, making a 5% improvement in each of the last two years. Gateway has also improved. Its products are now perceived to offer a better value, particularly after the acquisition of eMachines, which helped pull the company up from a low of 69 a year ago to equal the industry average this year,” BusinessWire reports.

“Higher satisfaction scores have implications for companies beyond simply making customers happier. ‘A company that improves in customer satisfaction tends to perform better financially by generating more repeat business, which leads to greater profits and higher stock price,’ said Professor Claes Fornell, who heads the Index at the University of Michigan. ‘Sales of Apple computers are up and its stock value has improved more than 50% over the past year.’ Going in the opposite direction is Hewlett-Packard. At one time a leader in customer satisfaction, H-P dropped below the industry average for the first time a year ago. The acquisition of Compaq in 2002 has not made a significant positive impact on its ACSI score,” BusinessWeek reports.

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