Facebook performs poorly in US customer satisfaction survey

19 Jul 2011

Facebook was the lowest-scoring website in a US e-business survey into customer satisfaction. The survey was conducted last month, before the widespread introduction of Google+.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index concludes that the social media market is primed for a new player that allows users to connect with friends.

The ACSI E-Business Report, produced in partnership with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee Results, reported that despite a small improvement this year, Facebook (+3pc to 66) is the lowest-scoring site, not only in the social media category, but of all measured companies in this report.

“We don’t know yet how Google+ will fare, but what we do know is that Google is one of the highest-scoring companies in the ACSI and Facebook is one of the lowest,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.

“An existing dominance of market share like Facebook is no longer a safety net for a company that is not providing a superior customer experience.”

Social media

Wikipedia (+1pc to 78) takes the top spot, while YouTube (+1pc to 74) comes in a distant second.

MySpace drops from this year’s index because there were not enough users to create a statistically significant sample.

Overall, social media is one of the lowest-scoring industries measured by the ACSI – only airlines, newspapers and subscription television services score lower.  

Search engines and portals

Google leads the search engine and portals category (up 4pc to 83), but Bing follows closely, jumping an impressive 7pc in one year to 82. Anything over 80 is generally considered an excellent score.

Bing has grown in market share over the last year and makes up roughly 17pc of the search engine market, up from 9pc last year.

“While Google+ is the challenger to Facebook’s established dominance in the social media sphere, in the search engine wars, Google is king and Bing is hoping to be a contender,” added Freed.

“Last year, Google’s customer satisfaction score was three points higher than Bing’s. This year, that gap narrows to one point. Bing is showing it can challenge Google in terms of revenue, market share, and the customer experience.”

News websites

FoxNews.com (82) has a strong lead on the news and information category and is five points ahead of the next highest-scoring site, ABCNews.com (+3pc to 77). HuffingtonPost.com (69) debuts at the bottom of the industry.

Satisfaction with NYTimes.com drops 4pc this year to 73. The study was conducted during the same time the site began to implement its metered paywall, but it remains to be seen whether satisfaction will rebound as customers adjust to the new business model.

“E-business is still relatively immature in many ways, often more interested in technology than in satisfying customers,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer.

“As competition gets tougher, this is likely to change, and the successful companies are going to have powerful cause-and-effect customer satisfaction measurement systems. The losers will be the companies that underestimate the power of a dissatisfied customer and fail to upgrade their current measurement systems,” Fornell said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years