Smaller Major Appliance Makers Get Best Customer Satisfaction Scores
Sep 20, 2011
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Customer satisfaction across three durable goods industries stalled in 2011, with the majority of companies staying almost exactly where they were in 2010, according to a report out today from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

The publications reports on customer satisfaction with:
• personal computers
• major appliances
• consumer electronics (televisions and disc players)

Major Appliances: Small Companies Score Best

The major appliances industry saw a "marginal retreat" in its customer satisfaction scores in 2011, but the industry average customer satisfaction level of 81 is still above the 80-point mark, as it has been for more than 15 years.

The index gives top ranking to Whirlpool Corp., with 82 points. Other companies ranked are:
• General Electric: 79 points
• All others: 83 points
• AB Electrolux: 78 points

The rankings look at companies making washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges, and ovens. ACSI scores for the overall industry have been remarkably steady over the long-term – remaining in the range of 80 to 82 in all but three years since 1994. The industry baseline was set at 85 in 1994 and it hit 85 again in 2000. It hit 83 in 1998.

ACSI noted that pricing pressure on major appliances has been intense and kept prices virtually unchanged. It said all of the three biggest players in the U.S. industry saw slippage in customer satisfaction. Whirlpool's was minimal (-1%) and the rates agency said Whirlpool "solidifies its lead over both General Electric and Electrolux."

The firm said Whirlpool’s 2011 score of 82 is not its best-ever, but the company's scores have been quite consistent.

Whirlpool's 1994 baseline score was 87. It has scored in the range of 81 to 85 every year since, except for 1996 (score of 86) and 2000 (score of 80).

GE’s satisfaction scores have been "more volatile" in the last three years, scoring 77 in 2009, 81 in 2010, and 79 in 2011.

GE Appliances' baseline score in 1994 was 81 and its top score was 84 in 1995. Since 1994 it scored below 80 four times, with its lowest score of 77 coming in 2009.

AB Electrolux was added to the ACSI rankings in 2006 with a score of 80. The company scored 79 in 2009 and 2010, but fell to its lowest score, 78, in 2011.

Smaller manufacturers of major appliances have done better at satisfying customers, ACSI reports. Its aggregate category of All Others moved up 3 points to take the top score of 83 points. (The All Others category also includes the Kenmore appliance brand.)

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