The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index seems like a slap in the face to everyone who might have grown accustomed to seeing Facebook top rankings of all stripes. Yup, the leading social network fared poorly, along with the entire category, in research put together by ForeSee Results.
This contradicts even ACSI’s attempt to grab attention by calling dissatisfaction with Facebook an opportunity for Google Plus. If consumers are dissatisfied with all Internet social media, that includes the new venture into this space by the leading search giant.
Sure, Google ranks ahead of Facebook, but that’s based on YouTube, but neither beats Wikipedia — since when was the online encyclopedia considered a form of social media?
Now here’s a realistic quote about these findings from Larry Freed, president and chief executive officer of ForeSee Results, in the press release about the findings:
We don’t know yet how Google Plus will fare, but what we do know is that Google is one of the highest-scoring companies in the ACSI and Facebook is one of the lowest. An existing dominance of market share like Facebook has is no longer a safety net for a company that is not providing a superior customer experience.
While Google Plus is the challenger to Facebook’s established dominance in the social media sphere, in the search engine wars, Google is king and Bing is hoping to be a contender. Last year, Google’s customer satisfaction score was three points higher than Bing’s. 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.
Freed has more to say about this on his own blog post about the findings:
Facebook’s customer satisfaction score was up a bit, but still very low (66 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale). This should be really scaring Facebook right now with the advent of Google Plus. Studies show that customer satisfaction (as measured by the ACSI) predicts sales, loyalty, and recommendations. If Facebook was sitting pretty with a customer satisfaction score of 80 or higher, I think it would be almost impossible for Google Plus to break through that. It’s hard to switch a social network–you have to reconnect with everyone, post new pictures, figure out a new interface… if everyone was happy with Facebook, there would be no reason to do it. But a score of 66 is just plain bad…which leaves the door wide open for Google+ to waltz through and steal market share from Facebook.
The other big news in the social space is that MySpace.com dropped out of the Index this year because we couldn’t even get enough surveys to get a statistically significant sample, underscoring the widespread talk of MySpace’s declining market share.
I feel good about Google’s chance to come in and possibly even own the social space with Google Plus, but in portals and search, Bing is making some serious inroads. I said before that if you are satisfying customers, you don’t need to worry about people leaving, and that’s true. Google search has a customer satisfaction score of 83, an excellent ACSI score by any standard. But Bing made huge improvements this year, and jumped from 77 to 82, just one point behind Google. Bing has built-in market share because it is the search engine on all Microsoft properties and partner properties. And while people are unlikely to go looking for a competitor if Google is meeting their needs (which it appears to be doing), they will undoubtedly run in to Bing and it seems to be basically as good after just a year in the market.
Readers, are you seeing increased dissatisfaction with Facebook now that Google Plus has arrived?