Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Honors Go to Samsung S3 in US, But Apple Tops in South Korea

smartphone customer satisfaction scores 2013A smartphone consumer survey released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index says Samsung is tops with its Galaxy S III and Note II. The study gives 2013 customer satisfaction benchmarks for 10 of the past year’s top-selling smartphone models in the United States.

Samsung’s 2012 flagship S III, gets an 84, on a 0 to 100 scale, beating out Apple’s iPhone 5 at 82. A second Samsung model, the Note II, shares the top of list at 84. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is not on the list since the ACSI study was done just before its launch.

Interestingly, though U.S. customers give Samsung’s smartphones the top scores, Korean consumers prefer Apple. The National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI) in South Korea, which uses the same methodology as the American study, says the iPhone 5 has higher customer satisfaction than Galaxy S III in Samsung’s home country.

“While feature phones are cheaper, and therefore viewed by many customers as better value, smartphones excel in quality,” said ASCI’s Claes Fornell. “Smartphones receive strong marks for feature variety, design and ease of use, with battery life as their only real shortcoming.”

“Not only does Samsung edge ahead of all iPhones, Apple customers themselves don’t see much difference between the iPhone 4, 4S or 5,” says David VanAmburg, ACSI Director. “The latest earnings report from Apple was better than expected, but the name of the game for Apple has always been innovation. Samsung, on the other hand, shows a strong upward ACSI trend from the Galaxy S II to the Galaxy S III. If the S4 performs as well—or even better—in the eyes of customers, Samsung could threaten Apple’s dominance in overall customer satisfaction.”

Samsung is different to Apple, which has a smartphone-only lineup, in that they offer both feature and smartphones. At a rating of76, Samsung continues to lag Apple for overall customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, the company’s 7% gain in 2013 is a clear reflection of the strength of Galaxy S III.

“Like Apple, BlackBerry offers smart devices only, yet the company stays firmly entrenched at the bottom of the industry in customer satisfaction,” says Fornell. “This does not bode well for BlackBerry considering that smart typically outperforms feature when it comes to cell phones.”

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