Facebook Dominates, But May Not Satisfy

Facebook is still king of the social media universe, but its users are grumpy, which could open a door for a challenger that provides better customer satisfaction.Customer satisfaction ratings for Facebook continue to lag, which might afford an opening for a competitor such as Google+, according to survey results released last week by ForeSee Results.

"The social media market is primed for a new player that allows users to connect with friends," ForeSee Results predicts, based on customer experience analytics used in its American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). "Despite a small improvement this year, Facebook is the lowest-socring site, not only in the social media category, but of all measured companies in this report."

Wikipedia ranks highest among social media sites at 78, with YouTube at 74 as runner-up. Facebook's score is 66.

"An existing dominance of market share like Facebook," says ForeSee Results CEO Larry Freed, "is no longer a safety net for a company that is not providing a superior customer experience." Noting Facebook's even worse rating last year, Freed said some customers may be dissatisfied with the site's evolution as a commercial platform.

Tellingly, MySpace was dropped from the survey because of too few users. Google+ wasn't scored because it was just introduced.

Google scores a survey-topping 83 in the search engine and portal category. Bing follows closely behind with a score of 82, an impressive 7-point jump over last year.

"Last year, Google's customer satisfaction score was three points better than Bing's," Freed notes. "This year, that gap narrows to one point. Bing is showing it can challenge Google in terms of revenue, market share and the customer experience."

News websites also are ranked and FoxNews.com comes out on top with a score of 82. ABCNews,com is next with a score of 77 and HuffingtonPost.com debuts with a bottom-of-the-rung 69. NYTimes.com dropped four points this year to a score of 73.

“E-business is still relatively immature in many ways, often more interested in technology than in satisfying customers,” says Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer. “As competition gets tougher, this is likely to change, and the successful companies are going to have powerful cause-and-effect customer satisfaction measurement systems. The losers will be the companies that underestimate the power of a dissatisfied customer and fail to upgrade their current measurement systems.”

Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are fed into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, as well as more than 130 federal government departments, agencies, and websites. Results are released on a monthly basis with all measures reported using a 0-100 scale. Founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the Index is produced by ACSI LLC and supported in part by ForeSee Results, corporate sponsor for the e-commerce and e-business measurements.