Are users satisfied with e-business on the web? A new survey tries to answer that question -- and discovered that Google+ may be in a position to overtake Facebook.
According to the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report, conducted in association with customer-experience analytics firm ForeSee Results, Facebook has the lowest score of any company measured. The score, 66, is three percent over last year's survey, while Google is one of the highest-scoring companies.
'No Longer a Safety Net'
ForeSee Results CEO Larry Freed said that, while it's not possible to project how Google's new social-networking service, Google+, will do in the marketplace, he noted that Facebook is vulnerable. "An existing dominance of market share like Facebook has," he said, "is no longer a safety net for a company that is not providing a superior customer experience."
The top rung for customer satisfaction with social media is occupied by Wikipedia, whose 78 percent score is one percent higher than in last year's survey. Second place went to YouTube at 74 percent. But it's a tough job satisfying customers in this category. The report described social media in general as "one of the lowest-scoring industries," with only airlines, newspapers and subscription-television services scoring lower.
Social media is only one area of e-business covered by the survey. It also measures customer satisfaction with portals and search engines, and online news.
In portals and search engines, Google has an 83 percent satisfaction rate, an increase of four percent, but Microsoft's Bing is moving up fast. Bing now has an 82 percent score, a substantial seven percent increase from last year. ForeSee said 80 or higher is considered "excellent." It also noted that Bing's market share has nearly doubled in the last year, to 17 percent from nine percent.
'Anybody Is Vulnerable'
So while Facebook's users could be open to a new social-networking service such as Google+, Google's search engine needs to keep a wary eye on the approaching Bing. According to Freed, Google's customer-satisfaction score last year was three points higher than Bing's. "Bing is showing it can challenge Google in terms of revenue, market share, and customer experience," he said.
Among news sites, News Corp.'s increasing troubles haven't yet impacted its FOXNews.com site, which showed an 82 percent customer-satisfaction rate. The second highest is ABCNews.com, which increased three percent this year to 77 percent. HuffingtonPost.com makes its first entry into the survey at 69 percent, and NYTimes.com comes in a 73 percent, a four percent drop. The survey noted that it measured satisfaction with the Times at the same time the company was implementing its pay wall.
Information Technology Intelligence Corp.'s Laura DiDio said it's not just Google or Facebook that have to keep a constant eye on their competitors. "Anybody is vulnerable in this market," she said, adding that, "no matter how successful, there is always a competitor coming up."