The Most Disturbing New Trend For Apple Customers In 2012

Apple has long been known as a company that prefers to take the high road of product quality, and amaze and delight customers with gadgets and software that, well, just work. What’s the latest trend for Apple customers this year?

Apple’s vaunted customer satisfaction ratings are on a downward slide.

ForeSee’s latest survey puts Apple’s ranking out of the top five, and slightly ahead of– drum roll, please– Dell. Yes. That Dell.

What’s going on? Isn’t the Apple Store online one of the better places to shop? Are not Apple’s retail stores packed with customers? Apple’s online holiday shopping score puts it next to Walgreens, above WeightWatchers, and just below NewEgg.

That’s unusual company for a retailer more accustomed to accolades than barbs.

Again, what’s going on?

Amazon led the latest rankings and does one thing much better than Apple. Discounts. Apple has one-click buying, too. And the online shopping experience– click to click to buy– is faster than Amazon, so why does Amazon lead the rankings in customer satisfaction?

ForeSee’s research and surveys indicate that customers want more variety, quicker availability (Apple customers often have to wait weeks or months for the newest products), and fast service and support. Getting quick support from Apple this time of year is a challenge.

Interestingly, Amazon’s profits have been going down in recent years, while Apple’s profits have skyrocketed. Yet, Amazon leads Apple in online customer satisfaction by a large margin. Maybe Apple would do well to put some of those profits into improving customer satisfaction.