A new US-based survey suggests customer satisfaction levels at Dell have fallen again.
The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, published by the University of Michigan's National Quality Research Centre, surveys satisfaction levels among 70,000 consumers in different industries, including the US PC market.
Dell was once the highest-ranked computer business on the index, but it has now dropped to one of the PC industry's lowest scorers, slipping to 74 out of 100. This was down from 78 last year.
The only other lower ranked PC maker is HP's Compaq unit, with a score of 73.
Meanwhile rivals such as HP saw a one point rise to 76, while Gateway rose two points to 75. Lenovo is not covered in the survey.
And overall customer satisfaction with the personal computer sector slipped 2 points to a score of 75, down from 77 last year. Apple and Dell contributed equally to the decline, according to the report, having each dropped between four and five points, although Apple still managed to retain top spot with 79.
"Dell's result is not surprising," said Michigan economics professor Claes Fornell in the report's commentary. "A year ago, even though the company's [index] score was up, customer service remained an issue, and we noted that the company would need to take significant steps to reverse this trend.
"However, it appears that any fixes the company may have attempted were short lived," she said. "Dell now resides among the lower echelon of measured PC makers, a solid five points behind Apple, and only one point above the Compaq division of HP."
Dell has not responded to the survey findings.
The same survey revealed that, in the internet portals and search engine sector, Yahoo replaced Google as the number one portal of choice for the first time.