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Server Satisfaction Survey: Compaq on Top, Overall Customer Satisfaction Down

In the horse race that is the Technology Business Research customer satisfaction survey, Compaq Computer Corp. is first in Intel server satisfaction after Dell Computer Corp. dominated the ranking for 12 quarters.

But TBR's numbers show overall customer satisfaction with their servers has declined in the last year.

"For the second consecutive quarter, Compaq is the only server vendor for which the overall weighted satisfaction ratings have shown an increase while all competitors have been on the decline," the analyst firm noted in its news release this month announcing the survey results.

Good news for Compaq, but not great news for server customers. In a news release of its own touting the survey results, Compaq published a revealing chart from the TBR survey that shows a general decline in customer satisfaction with servers.

Each quarter, TBR queries survey participants, representing an installed base of 2 million systems on a number of server satisfaction metrics. The analyst firm then combines the results to give each vendor a weighted average on a scale of 100.

Dell's ratings hit 89 in the second quarter of 2000, but have fallen steadily since then, and no one approaches satisfaction ratings near that level now.

In the most recent quarter, Dell received a weighted average of 83.71.

HP has slipped every quarter from a high near 88 in Q1 2000 to a lowly 81.15.

Compaq, for its recent improvement, was better a year ago when it ranked second, according to customers. Compaq's current top ranking is 85.79. The computer giant's server satisfaction rating was closer to 87 a year ago.

IBM Corp. has been unable to capitalize on HP's slide in customer satisfaction and climb out of the basement among the big four Intel architecture server vendors. The company's Q1 2001 rating was 80.31. The bad news for Dell came on a couple fronts. TBR measures satisfaction on servers, desktops and laptops. Dell now shares first place in laptop satisfaction with IBM, which leapt 5 percentage points in customer satisfaction to 80.4.

"Dell's satisfaction ratings across all three form factors point to a particular area of concern regarding the telephone/helpdesk support mechanism. TBR believes these issues are the consequence of Dell's rapidly growing customer base, which is making it difficult for the vendor to fully respond to the needs of varying types of new customers," TBR says.

Dell did retain exclusive rights to the top satisfaction ranking in desktop systems. TBR maintains Dell still enjoys a major competitive advantage in price/performance.

"Dell customers continue to cite the value advantage of Dell servers over competitive brands, and TBR continues to cite this as a clear strength for the vendor not shared by the competition," TBR says.

According to the report, Compaq's current strengths are ease of configuration, scalability, server manageability and enterprise solutions. HP customers have concerns about out-of-box quality and overall hardware reliability, TBR says.

IBM's huge jump in customer satisfaction for its notebooks stems from improvements in Big Blue's parts availability and delivery time. IBM's biggest problem across all form factors was ease of set-up/configuration, TBR found.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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