With Facebook on the verge of announcing that it has reached the 500 million-user mark, you’d think that the social networking site would rank high in customer satisfaction.
But you’d be wrong.
Facebook was included in this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index, an annual survey of customer satisfaction with companies conducted by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and the results aren’t pretty.
Facebook scored 64 out of 100, an abysmal result that puts it in the bottom 5 percent of all private sector companies. Airlines and cable companies, on average, scored 66, while even the U.S. Internal Revenue Service e-filing site scored better. Facebook’s only consolation is that MySpace, once seen as Facebook’s chief rival, scored one point lower in the survey.
"Facebook is a phenomenal success, so we were not expecting to see it score so poorly with consumers," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, which partnered with the University of Michigan to conduct the survey and tabulate the results.
"Our research shows that privacy concerns, frequent changes to the website, and commercialization and advertising adversely affect the consumer experience,” Freed said in a statement. He noted that Wikipedia, which has had the same user interface for years, scored 77 on the satisfaction index – highest among social Websites.
“It's clear that while innovation is critical, sometimes consumers prefer evolution to revolution," Freed said.
YouTube, another social Website included in the survey, scored 73. The survey also covered portals and search engines and users gave Google a score of 80 followed by Microsoft’s Bing with 77, Yahoo at 76 and AOL with 74.