Foresee Results and the American Customer Satisfaction Index, have recently conducted a study to find out how customers in the U.S. feel about various social media sites.
The ACSI has been conducting yearly studies about the performance of various online media brands of portals, search engines, news and information sites etc. This year for the first time they have included social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Wikipedia in their study.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the popular social media sites have not been ranked too highly on the customer satisfaction index.
On a scale of 0-100 Facebook has scored just 64, MySpace 63 and YouTube 73 points. The less popular but steady, Wikipedia has scored 77 points.
Larry Freed Chief Executive of Foresee Results says, “Customer satisfaction is a combination of what you get and what you expect [from a website]. The business model of starting out free and ad-free, then turning your site into something else over time works somewhere in tech, but from the average consumer standpoint it doesn’t work.”
Facebook which has faced several changes over the years, and which includes a lot of ads and gaming services has not satisfied its customers very well. Users also have some reservations about some of Facebook’s policies regarding privacy issues.
Wikipedia on the other hand, which is not a commercial site has maintained a steady format, thus allowing customers to achieve a certain level of comfort while accessing it.
One glaring omission in the study is Twitter. The reason for this is the fact that most users access it through third party apps rather than through Twitter.com, thus making it difficult to to collect accurate results. However it is likely to be included in the study from next year.
Facebook with a score of 64 ranks even lower than the IRS, and is in the bottom 5% of private companies studied along with airlines and cable companies. According to Larry Freed, one reason why users keep going back to Facebook in spite of low satisfaction, is that they do not have a better alternative at present.
Among other online categories studied, Google is at the top of the search engines with 80 points, but it has fallen 7 points since the previous study. While Bing which has been satudied for the first time, has 77 points followed by Yahoo! with 76 points, AOL with 74 points and Ask.com with 73 points.
Among the news categry Fox News was at the top with 82 points while MSNBC.com had 74 points and CNN.com had 73 points.