iPhone Tops J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey

It may have garnered its fair share of complaints, but Apple’s iPhone is still a hit with consumers, at least according to marketing firm J.D. Power and Associates. In their 2008 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, the results of which were released yesterday, the iPhone came out on top, beating perennial favorite Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry devices.

Note that the survey measures the satisfaction of business customers specifically, which is good use for Cupertino’s efforts to make inroads in the Enterprise market. Results drawn from the 1,388 person respondent pool were gathered over two months, between August and September 2008. Devices were scored out of 1,000 total possible points, using criteria like ease of use, operating system, design, features, and battery.

The iPhone scored an impressive 778, besting RIM’s 703 and Samsung’s 701. Apple’s success is due largely to their strong perfomance in ease of operation, design, and feature set, all categories which are heavily weighted in the marking scheme established by J.D. Power. The only category the iPhone scored poorly in was battery aspects, where it was tied for the lowest score. It should be noted however that only BlackBerry and Samsung scored higher, of the six manufacturers used in the survey.

To explain the results in terms of the many problems reported by iPhone users, the study highlights the susceptibility of all smartphones to error. In fact, it found that 1 in 4 users on average experience software-related issues with their devices, across all brands. It’s likely that iPhone users are just a more vocal market segment regarding errors, since the device has only recently been released, and the Apple community is generally quick to point out and┬ácommiserate┬áregarding troubling issues.

The study also sought to find out how customers made their smartphone purchasing decisions. Most important to users were internet capability, email integration, overall design, Bluetooth capability, and keyboard style (QWERTY vs. non-QWERTY).

The survey provides valuable insight into what smartphone customers are looking for, and acts as a guide as to what Apple needs to work on to stay on top. J.D. Power awards are often used by companies in marketing, and considering the category, Apple will likely be using this to woo more enterprise customers away from RIM.

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