Customer Satisfaction and Factor Determining Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a post-purchase outcome where a customer compares the expected benefits with the actual benefit received from the use of product. If the performance of the product fails short of expectation; the customer is dissatisfied. If the performance matches the expectation, the customer is highly satisfied or delighted. Thus, customer satisfaction is a function of performance and expectations. It is the customer's perceived performance from the product in relation to the expectations. Customer expectations are formed by post buying experiences, advice from friends and relatives and marketing promotion and promises.

According to Philip Kotler, "Satisfaction is a person's feeling of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a product's perceived performance in relation to his/her expectations."

Customers should be satisfied by the firm's offering: products and services. High customer satisfaction leads to high customer loyalty. It creates emotional bond of customer with the brand.

Factors Determining Customer Satisfaction

High satisfaction level is required to be created by marketing organizations in order to develop customer loyalty and retain the customer for a long period of time. For this, following factors can be used:
  1. Complaint and suggestion systems: A customer-centered organization makes it easy for customers to register suggestions and complaints. Some customer-centered companies are: P&G, General Electric, Whirlpool, etc. They establish hot lines with toll-free numbers. Companies are also using websites an e-mail for quick, two way communications.
  2. Customer satisfaction survey: Studies show that although customers are dissatisfied with one out of every four purchases, less than 5 percent will complain. Most customers will buy less or switch suppliers. Responsive companies measure customer satisfaction data, it is also useful to ask additional questions to measure repurchase intention and to measure the likelihood or willingness to recommend the company and brand to others.
  3. Ghost shopping: Companies can hire people to pose as potential buyers to report on strong and weak points experienced in buying the company's and competitor's products. These mystery shoppers can even test how the company's sales personnel handle various situations. Managers themselves 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.
  4. Lost 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.

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