This week, the Delahaye Index rated Microsoft as having the best reputation among the largest US companies. The rating, which covers second quarter 2004, came thanks to favorable reactions to Microsoft's strong revenue growth, financial management, and innovative products, according to Delahaye Medialink, the company that conducts the Delahaye Index.
"The Delahaye Index is driven by two catalysts for corporate reputation-building: Business performance, as reflected in the quality of news, and visibility, as reflected in the volume of news coverage," said Delahaye Medialink CEO Mark Weiner. "As such, companies with excellent business fundamentals can be affected adversely if they do not generate sufficient visibility. Conversely, companies such as Wal-Mart, which may have less positive or less impactful media coverage, can improve their results by consistently garnering a great volume of media attention."
The other companies joining Microsoft in the top 5 are The Walt Disney Company, Verizon, General Motors, and Intel. Microsoft and Intel are the only computer industry companies in the top 10.
In related news, recent Microsoft reorganizations have required the company to reevaluate how it handles customer satisfaction. The moves have been driven largely by CEO Steve Ballmer, who told employees through email earlier this year that until 2003, customer satisfaction wasn't really a high point for the company. "We have been measuring overall customer satisfaction since 1998," he wrote, "and our scores were flat, at best, until recently."
Since taking over as CEO, Ballmer has added 8800 sales, support, and marketing personnel to the company's ranks and required programmers and executives alike to find out which features customers really want in new product versions. Many Microsoft employees--including executives--are now at least partially rewarded based on customer satisfaction, and not on raw sales data, as was done in the past.