Surveys underscore Apple's reputation for excellence

Company rated most admired, most satisfying in separate reports

It must be nice to be Apple today.

Not only did shares (NASDAQ: AAPL) hit a new all-time high of 422.86, the company topped separate surveys gauging customer experience and brand reputation.

Apple earned a high score of 87 in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report covering personal computers, electronics and major appliances. That score was nine points higher than runner-up Hewlett-Packard at 78. Dell and Acer finished at 77, with Compaq trailing all other manufacturers at 75.

"Apple’s winning combination of innovation and product diversification—including spinning off technologies into entirely new directions—has kept the company consistently at the leading edge," Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI, said in a statement announcing the report.

Interestingly, HP's satisfaction rating among computer owners surveyed by ACSI has climbed five points since 2008, the biggest gain in consumer satisfaction among any PC maker over the past three years. Good thing HP's planning to stop selling PCs!

Apple also was rated the most admired company by customer experience professionals in the Beyond Philosophy 2011 Global Customer Experience Management Survey released Tuesday.

“Apple has married all the elements of its experience and connected with its customers in a deeply emotional, irrational way,” Steven Walden, Beyond Philosophy's senior head of research and consulting, said in a statement.

So true, so true. But it all begins with a product that consumers like. And on that basis, Apple's success and reputation are no fluke, Reality Distortion Field or no Reality Distortion Field.

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