A new survey shows that, in North America, BlackBerry users are the least satisfied with their mobiles. The RIM devices come last in a seven-strong list of top handset manufacturers and the results underscore the huge task facing RIM's new CEO as he struggles to pull the company up by its bootstraps. Martyn Warwick reports.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which is allied to the prestigious Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in the US, shows that Research In Motion customers were the most disappointed cellphone clients of the seven device manufacturers tracked in Q1, 2012.
On a scale one to 100, BlackBerrys managed an aggregate satisfaction score of 69 in comparison to the iPhone, which scored 83. Elsewhere in the rankings, up-and-coming Samsung scored 71, Motorola (now being bought by Google) stood at 73 while the troubled Nokia ran neck and neck with HTC and LG. The three achieved an identical satisfaction rating of 75.
RIM's poor score mirrors increasing consumer disillusion with BlackBerry handsets. US sales are in severe - some say terminal - decline as the yuppies of yore abandon old toys for flashier new ones from different manufacturers.
Thorsten Heins, the man who became RIM's latest CEO back at the start of the year, does at least accept reality (something his forebears seemed incapable of doing) and has admitted that touchscreen BlackBerrys simply are not competitive.
However, he continues to maintain that BlackBerrys featuring keyboards are still "leaders in their segment "- and they may well be. The fact is though that that little niche is getting smaller by the day.
Claes Fornell, the founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index commented, "Companies with weak customer satisfaction often have weak stock performance.
RIM’s sales are slumping amid a bevy of problems, from hardware and software issues to server lapses that have caused email and messaging outages. Over the past year, share price for RIM has virtually collapsed.’”
Thus, for RIM, much, indeed maybe everything, now depends on the much hyped and oft-delayed BlacKBerry 10 which is now due to hit the streets sometime "later this year" It is June soon and almost half the year gone but at least the launch will not be "sometime next year" - hopefully. RIM is betting the farm on the success of these new devices that will feature a heavily-trailled new operating system. RIM reckons it will be a real and compelling alternative to both Apple’s iPhone OS and Google’s Android operating system.
Industry analysts aren't so sure though with the weight of opinion being that RIM (like Motorola before it with the Razr suite of handsets) sat complacently on its own laurels for far too long and paid the price. They also opine that once it did wake up to reality RIM was very slow off the mark in designing new products that would catch the eye of fickle consumers. Most of them have already voted with their feet and wallets - and that money hasn't gone to RIM.
They say troubles always come accompanied and even as the ACSI results were released a different report, from Kantar World Panel, the leading market research company, showed that RIM's market share fell from 9 per cent to just 3 per cent over the course of 2011.
please sign in to rate this article