Social networking software

Will Facebook's Low Satisfaction Score Help Google+?

The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report has arrived, and once again the news is bad for Facebook. The world's most popular social network scored the lowest of all the companies measured in the report, which is produced by ACSI LLC and analytics firm ForeSee Results.

While Facebook fared slightly better this year--up 3 percent to 66 on the ACSI's 0-to-100 scale--its poor showing suggests that consumers are open to trying a new social net. And, let's see, which up-and- coming alternative might lure them away?

"The survey was conducted last month, before the widespread introduction of Facebook's biggest competitor, Google+, but Facebook's low score indicates that Google+ could easily pounce and gain market share if they can provide a superior customer experience," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, in a statement.

It's too early, of course, to predict whether mainstream social network users are willing to ditch Facebook for Google+. After all, griping is one thing, but packing up and moving to another social net is a major undertaking, particularly if it involves persuading friends and family to come along.

Then again, Google may be in a good position to pull it off. As Freed points out, Google is one of the highest-rated companies the in ACSI survey, while Facebook is in the cellar.

In the search engine and portals category, Google leads the pack with an 83, up 4 percent from a year ago. Bing is nipping at Google's heels with 82, a 7-percent improvement. ACSI scores over 80 are considered excellent.

Should Facebook worry?

Google may be unproven in the social media sphere, but its reputation with consumers is solid.

"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," Freed said.

Interestingly, social media is one of the lowest-scoring industries measured by the ACSI. What's worse in the minds of consumers? Airlines, newspapers, and subscription TV services, naturally.

Wikipedia gets the top spot in social media with a 78. YouTube is second with 74. Sadly, MySpace was dropped from this year's survey because there weren't enough MySpace users to create a statistically significant sample.

Ouch.

The ACSI is an economic indicator based on customer evaluations of the quality of goods and services bought in the U.S. Founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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