Customer Service Hall of Fame
> Pct. ratings “excellent”: 35.7%
For years, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has received accolades for its customer service. The technology giant made the Customer Service Hall of Fame each year from 2009 to 2012.
Apple’s success in the ultra-competitive smartphone market reflects the company’s ability to keep customers satisfied. In the United States, Apple has a leading 41% share of the smartphone market, according to comScore. The company posted $171 billion in revenue in the most recent fiscal year, an increase of 9% over the previous year.
But beyond the company’s cutting-edge technologies, Apple’s consumer appeal may also be the result of the company’s top-down approach to customer appreciation. For example, CEO Tim Cook has stated that he reads customer emails on a daily basis. According to Solomon, part of Apple’s success with its customers is due to its decision to mimic the hospitality industry. Apple’s Genius Bar, for example, is “a direct emulation of the concierge area at a large hotel.”
Apple employees are also satisfied with their jobs, likely improving the customer experience. Glassdoor.com rated Apple one of the 50 best places to work for in America this year.
> Pct. ratings “excellent”: 36.2%
Hewlett-Packard is one of the world’s top PC makers. The company began to lose sales when lower cost providers from China entered the market. Overall PC sales — and with them the companies’ sales — began to decline in earnest with the consumer shift toward tablets and smartphones.
It also failed to launch successful alternatives to the PC and struggled within the tablet market as competition has intensified. Partly as a result, revenue declined from $127 billion in 2011 to slightly more than $112 billion in 2013.
Despite its recent challenges, however, customers still report extremely good experiences with HP. More than 36% of survey respondents reported an “excellent” experience with HP, while just 5.5% rated the company’s service poorly.
While the company’s sales are down substantially from their peak, the company’s PCs are often considered among the most wallet-friendly products on the market.
> Pct. ratings “excellent”: 36.5%
Sony Corp.’s (NYSE: SNE) track record of customer service remains strong. Sony has been on the Customer Service Hall of Fame list for several years now. This year, more than 80% of respondents deemed Sony’s customer service to be either “excellent” or “good.”
The success of the PlayStation 4 may be a good measure of customers’ happiness with Sony. The next-generation console released late last year has consistently outsold its rival, Microsoft’s Xbox One.
According to its website, Sony has some 5,300 customer service locations globally. The company’s 2013 annual report also touts easy-to-use products and services as a key factor for promoting customer satisfaction.
But while the company succeeds in satisfying customers, investors may be less pleased. Despite a 14.3% revenue increase in its most recent fiscal year — due to a weak yen, growth in smartphones and the success of the PlayStation 4 — Sony posted its fourth annual loss in five years. The Japanese technology giant also said it would post another net loss in 2015.