Dell Tops in Customer Satisfaction

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Dell Tops in Customer Satisfaction
C. McNulty - June 2, 2000

Event Summary

HAMPTON, NH -- (May 3, 2000) Technology Business Research ("> just completed its First Quarter 2000 Corporate IT Buying Behavior and Customer Satisfaction Study, part of a quarterly tracking service measuring corporate end-user satisfaction with desktop, Intel-based server and laptop/notebook systems vendors. This quarter's study is based on the opinions of 550 IT managers at large U.S. corporations from interviews conducted between mid-January and early April 2000. The principal shifts in rankings this quarter involve Compaq moving up two positions in the desktop segment and up to second position in the notebook segment, in both cases displacing IBM to No. 5 in desktops and No. 3 in notebook satisfaction.

Market Impact

No news is good news for Dell [NASDAQ:DELL]. Dell retains its position at the top of the TBR rankings.

Sometimes, you try and you try, but you do get satisfaction. Compaq [NYSE:CPQ], with its recent efforts toward improving customer service and satisfaction, has pulled away from the rest of the pack and stands alone with rival Dell. Dell & Compaq are also virtually tied in the number of sample respondents, as one would expect given their close position in the U.S. desktop PC market. This is good news for Compaq - it continues to build market share, growing at "only" 19% annually. [For a broader overview of the desktop market, please see TEC's article Desktop PC's: Meet the New Boss.]

Gateway [NYSE:GTW] & Hewlett Packard [NYSE:HWP] continue to trail U.S. market leaders Compaq & Dell. HP has been red-hot in the desktop market lately, pulling away from Gateway in unit sales. HP's lead over Gateway in customer satisfication, while not as significant, is gaining momentum. HP also continues to win market share from IBM [NYSE:IBM].

TEC U.S. Desktop PC Market Forecast, 2000

Vendor 2000 Shipments Market Share
Dell 9,770,668 19%
Compaq 8,615,120 17%
HP 5,450,922 11%
Gateway 4,840,129 9%
IBM 3,218,890 6%

Source: TEC

Finally, IBM trails the rest of the Big Five in customer satisfaction. This is consistent with IBM's ongoing scale-back of retail desktop PC operations. IBM needs to stabilize its remaining customer base if it intends to remain a force in the market.


User Recommendations

There are a few messages here worth repeating. First - Dell is #1 in customer satisfaction, and has been for a while.

Second, Compaq, despite recent woes, is far from down and out. Compaq has put considerable efforts to improving its scores here during the last year. Existing Compaq customers should feel better about not jumping ship.

Finally, HP is poised to continue its rise in customer satisfaction, at IBM's expense, just as it has in overall PC sales. IBM shops should consider HP as an alternative source for desktop PCs.

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