Forrester asked nearly 4,600 consumers about their interactions with a variety of companies, gauging the usefulness, usability, and enjoyability of those experiences. Based on these consumer responses, the firm calculated the Customer Experience Index (CxPi) for 113 firms in 12 different industries. In “Customer Experience Index 2008 Snapshot: PC Manufacturers,” Forrester examined the five large PC manufacturers in the CxPi: Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard.

The bottom line: Apple leads and Dell lags.

Brad Stone reports for The New York Times, “Apple notched an 80 percent, or ‘good’ rating, in Forrester’s customer experience index, which is an average of responses on topics like whether companies meet customer needs and make products that are easy and enjoyable to use.”

“Gateway scored a 66; Hewlett-Packard, a 64; and Compaq (a brand owned by H.P.), a 63 — scores that Forrester considers ‘poor’ rankings in the customer experience index,” Stone reports. “Dell got a miserly 58 percent, a ‘very poor’ rating.”

MacDailyNews Note: CNBC’s Jim Goldman also reports, “Apple also enjoyed double-digit gaps with all its competitors in categories like ‘easy-to-use,’ ‘useful,’ and ‘enjoyable.'” Read Goldman’s full article – recommended – here.

Stone continues, “Bruce Temkin, vice president at Forrester, said the PC industry indeed bombed in the survey, but the low ratings were mostly driven by consumers’ views about Microsoft’s Windows ecosystem.”

MacDailyNews Take: B, b, but Windows PCs are sooo much cheaper than Apple Macs… wink

Stone continues, “‘This is a wake-up call to Microsoft. They have to do a much better job of working with retailers and orchestrating the experiences that all their partners have. They need to do a better job of merchandising with Wal-Mart and Best Buy and invest heavily in retail touch points,’ Mr. Temkin said.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No, Mr. Temkin, Microsoft doesn’t need to spend more on marketing and retail; they need to make better products. Don’t hold your breath for that, it’d be lethal. And, quick, duck! Incoming chair in 5… 4… 3…