Report: Customer Satisfaction Dives Then Surges With IT Spending

Customer satisfaction with IT service and support surged in the first half of 2010 thanks to a historically large IT refresh rate, according to a survey by analyst firm Technology Business Research.

That surge contrasted with dismal customer satisfaction the year before as customers struggled to keep older systems running longer than normal in the face of the economic downturn, Hampton, N.H.-based Technology Business Research wrote in a research report released Friday.

The surge in satisfaction was concentrated in the second quarter of 2010, which TBR said suggested that the typical six-month to nine-month lag between new spending and improved satisfaction was not a factor.

And that, TBR wrote, indicates that such satisfaction is probably only temporary. "We expect this surge to be limited in scope, as the elation around new spending wears off as customers begin to get down to real business," it wrote.

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The dive in customer service and support satisfaction in 2009, followed by the surge in the first half of 2010, impacted all the vendors cited in the TBR survey, including Dell Services, HP Services, IBM Global Services and Lenovo Services.

Next: Tying Service And Support Satisfaction To Equipment Age

The main difference between the first half of 2010 lies in changes in the IT spending environment during those two periods.

Customer satisfaction with vendors' service and support dove in 2009 as what TBR termed "The Great Recession" caused customers to delay hardware purchases. That delay, in turn, strained vendor support capabilities as customers were forced to maintain older equipment.

That drop in dissatisfaction with vendor support was actually preceded by a drop in satisfaction with customers' internal service and support organizations, TBR wrote.

The first half of 2010, however, saw businesses engage in one of the largest corporate refreshes in history as companies who had been delaying IT purchases acquired new equipment, TBR wrote.

"Customer satisfaction surged as companies brought in new equipment after a spending halt of up to 18 months. A similar spike in satisfaction with support services suggests that many of the headaches resulting from supporting aging equipment may have subsided. In addition, internal support groups may have resumed hiring after being stretched thinly throughout 2009," TBR wrote.