November 2003
Marketing Management;Nov/Dec2003, Vol. 12 Issue 6, p44
The section presents comments on the article "Understanding Tomorrow's Customers," by David C. Swaddling and Charles Millers, which concerns customer satisfaction. The article offers little real evidence to support the idea that customer satisfaction research is the root of so much evil, other than a few brief anecdotes and examples in which companies use poorly designed customer satisfaction studies in inappropriate ways, with predictably poor results. Research determines that, beyond basic products and services, customers need and value such additional benefits as installation assistance, convenient parts accessibility and custom design services. One of the reasons satisfaction surveys are so ineffective is because they measure what companies want to measure, not what consumers believe is important. Interactive information channels allow customers and prospects to make better, more informed choices. Theoretically, customer satisfaction is related to customer loyalty. There is no objection to traditional customer satisfaction research when it is understood and used for what it was intended. Traditional customer satisfaction measurement asks recent customers about how they perceived their last transaction as compared to their expectations.


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