Everybody loves their Google


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There are lots of things people don’t like: waiting on hold with their wireless companies, high gas prices, borscht.

But right now, people really, really like Google and other e-businesses, according to the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index. The e-business category climbed 5.5% in the second quarter from a year earlier, scoring an all-time high of 79.3 overall. That beats the personal computer sector but doesn’t quite top the major appliances sector (everyone loves their Whirlpools).


‘Consumers are more and more using the Internet to do their business every day,’ said Larry Freed, chief executive of ForeSee Results, an online customer satisfaction firm. ‘Those sites are providing better experiences for the consumer.’

The ACSI scores more than 200 companies in 10 economic sectors and 43 industries, releasing reports every quarter that mark different companies and sectors on a score from 0 to 100. Each company’s score comes from about 250 interviews. More than 65,000 interviews are conducted every year.

Google experienced a particularly high jump in the second quarter, up ...

... 10.3% from last year to a score of 86. That was higher than any other e-business measured, and higher than most other service companies. In comparison, Yahoo scored 77, down 3% from last year, and MSN scored 75. AOL scored a lowly 69.

The jump in satisfaction with e-businesses could be related to the economy: Customers like companies that don’t require them to get in their cars and spend money on gas, said Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI at the University of Michigan.

Other e-businesses tracked included, which topped the news and information sector, and, which scored a 73.

Google did so well because it surprises consumers with services that it doesn’t even advertise, Freed said. Customers who type a movie name into the search engine will see show times at the top of their search, and those who type in ‘weather’ and the name of a city will get a forecast, complete with images, without even asking for it.


‘Satisfaction is a combination of what you get and what you expect,’ Freed said. “With the Internet we’re always expecting more, but the e-business and e-commerce group really has done a good job in stepping up to those challenges.’

-- Alana Semuels