Apple has managed to edge out Samsung in this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), the nation’s cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction. The Cupertino firm has beaten the Galaxy maker by just one percentage point when it comes to smartphone customer satisfaction.
The report, which released Wednesday, reveals that in 2016 Apple scored 81 out of 100 while Samsung stayed where it was the year before at 80.
A year before, both firms scored 80 out of 100 for customer satisfaction.
ACSI scores are in
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 took first place with a grade of 86 ahead of the iPhone 6s Plus, which scored 85. Samsung also tied for third and fourth place with its Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 4 flagships. All four of these top-rated models have larger-sized screens, “providing a case in point that bigger seems to be better,” writes ACSI.
The average grade for smartphone makers rose to 79 this year from 78 the past two years, 76 in 2013 and 74 in 2012, but only Apple of the major phone makers was able to improve in customer satisfaction in this year, according to the ACSI.
The data suggest high prices haven’t had a negative impact on Apple or Samsung.
“In ranking their phones favorably, most customers said it was easy to text and make phone calls,” explained CNET. “They also liked their phone’s design and features and found the software and menus easy to navigate.”
The one sore point: battery life, which scored dead last in customer satisfaction.
Samsung catching up to Apple
While it’s surprising that Apple beat Samsung in smartphone satisfaction by a very thin margin, the fact actually doesn’t come as a shocker to me.
First of all, the iPhone 6s looks virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor, which isn’t helping when it comes to marketing and the feeling of newness. More important than that, wireless carriers have done away with phone subsidies, making the full cost of a phone more visible and various handsets more directly comparable to one another.
Let’s not forget that Samsung has done a commendable job refreshing its Galaxy lineup this year, with many reviewers praising the device’s imaging capabilities, the battery, the CPU, industrial design, the superior AMOLED display technology and the wraparound screen on the Galaxy 7 Edge model.
Photo: Alphabet chairman Erich Schmidt shows his Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s.