How to measure customer satisfaction? Perhaps the toughest of the jobs of a marketer. There are no meters to measure it; like thermometer for temperature. It is a subjective exercise but very important for marketer’s point of view. Let us see how we can do it.
Although the customer-centered firm seeks to create high customer satisfaction, that is not its main goal. If the company increases customer satisfaction by lowering its price or increasing its services , the results may be lower profits.
Tools for Tracking and Measuring Satisfaction
Complaint and suggestion systems:
A customer-centered organization makes it easy for customers to register suggestions and complaints. Some customer-centered companies-P&G, General Electric, Whirlpool – establish hot lines with toll-free numbers. Companies are also using Web sites and e-mail for quick, two-way communication.
Customer satisfaction surveys:
Studies show that although customer are dissatisfied with on out of every four purchases, less than 5 percent will complain. Most customers will buy less or switch suppliers,. Responsive companies measure customer satisfaction directly by conducting periodic surveys. While collecting customer satisfaction data, it is also useful to ask additional questions to measure repurchase intention and to measure the likelihood or willingness to recommended the company and brand to others.
Companies can hire people to pose as potential buyers to report on strong and weak points experienced in buying the company’s and com-petitors ‘products. These mystery shoppers can even test how the company’s sales personnel handle various situations. Managers them-selves should leave their offices from time to time, enter company and competitor sales situations where they are unknown, and experience firsthand the treatment they receive. A variant of this is for managers to phone their own company with questions and complaints to see how the calls are handled.
Last customer analysis:
Companies should contact customers who have stopped buying or who have switched to another supplier to learn why this happened. Not only is it important to conduct exit interviews when customers first stop buying; it is also necessary to monitor the customer loss rate.
The company might be able to increase its profitability by means other than increased satisfaction ( for example, by improving manufacturing processes or investing more in (R&D). Also, the company has many stakeholders, including employees, dealers suppliers, and stockholders. Spending more to increase customer satisfaction might divert funds from increasing the satisfaction of other “partners.” Ultimately, the company must operate on the philosophy that it is trying to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction subject to delivering acceptable levels of satisfaction to the other stakeholders, given its total resources.
When customers rate their satisfaction with an element of the company’s performance-say, delivery – the company needs to recognize that customers vary in how they define good delivery. – the company needs to recognize that customers vary in how they define good delivery. It could mean early delivery, on-time delivery, order completeness, and so on. Yet if the company had to spell out every element in detail, customers would face a huge survey questionnaire. The company must also realize that two customers can report being “highly satisfied’ for different reasons. One may be easily satisfied most of the time and the other might be hard to please but was pleased on this occasion.
Claes Fornell has developed the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to measure the perceived satisfaction consumers feel with different firms, industries, economic sectors , and national economies. Some companies and brands with high ACSI scores in 2001include H J Heinz Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Cadillacand Dell.