Microsoft's Consumer Satisfaction Score Rises for Third Straight Year

Consumer satisfaction for Microsoft software has reached a company high in 2011, according to the most recent release of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

Microsoft's current ACSI score, released on Tuesday, is 78 on a 100-point scale. This is an improvement of nearly 3 percentage points over 2010's score, and is a significant jump over the company low of 69 that Microsoft scored in 2008.

The ASCI organization, part of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, produces customer indexes for 10 economic sectors. The ASCI takes data  from 225 companies and 200 government services to compile company and customer satisfaction ratings. Tuesday's results focus primarily on the information sector.

Speculation abounds over the reasons for the jump in Microsoft's customer satisfaction score since 2008. The company's score likely took a dip due to the release of Windows Vista, and began to rebound after Windows 7's release.

As a whole, the software sector's ASCI score rose 2.6 points this year to 78, placing Microsoft in line with the industry average. However, while customer satisfaction has risen for Microsoft, that does not necessarily translate into higher sales.

"This year marks a third straight year of ACSI gains for Microsoft," said ACSI researchers in a press release discussing the recent study. "Nevertheless, recent sales of Windows software have declined as a result of a similar drop-off in PC shipments. Customers are more satisfied with Microsoft software, but, for now, the company is selling less of it."

Also a notable finding in the recent ACSI study, Verizon and Sprint -- both with an ACSI score of 72 -- are the two top-rated wireless telephone service companies on the report. Verizon's score declined by 1.4 percentage points since 2010, while Sprint's increased by 2.9.

AT&T recorded the biggest drop in this category, dropping by 4.3 points from 2010 to settle at 66. The index for T-Mobile, which is still in negotiations to merge with AT&T, also fell by 4.1 points to 70.

"It is common to find a reduction in customer satisfaction after mergers, but it is rare for customer satisfaction to drop ahead of a merger," said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI. "Assuming the deal is approved, it remains to be seen if a much larger AT&T can regain the strength of its customer relationships."

The study's complete findings can be found here.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.