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The MisMeasure of Satisfaction

The MisMeasure of Satisfaction

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Published by Gigeo S Soman

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Published by: Gigeo S Soman on Jul 20, 2012
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11/04/2013

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THE MISMEASURE OF SATISFACTION:A WHITE PAPER ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTIONMEASUREMENT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
by:
Murlildhar Rao
Paper presented to the ESOMARInternational Automotive Marketing Conference7-9 March 1994, Geneva (Switzerland)Copyright © 1994 by Murlidhar Rao and ESOMAREuropean Society for Opinion and Marketing Research
 
 
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 THE MISMEASURE OF SATISFACTION:A WHITE PAPER ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTIONMEASUREMENT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRYby: Murlidhar RaoSUMMARY:
Four areas of research pertinent to the measurement of Customer Satisfaction areexamined. The four areas and the key findings from each are summarized below.1.
Theoretical Views Regarding Customer Satisfaction
 Satisfaction results from the confirmation of customers’ expectations. Satisfactionis similar to attitude in that it is both
multi-dimensional
and has an
affective
component. Customer Satisfaction pertains to a
transaction,
such as a serviceexperience, while attitude pertains to an
entity
, such as a vehicle or a marque.2.
Customer Satisfaction Measurement is Analogous to “Quality”Measurement
 The “Confirmation of Expectations” paradigm of Customer Satisfaction isanalogous to the “Quality Function Deployment” paradigm for products and to the“Gap Model” for services. While satisfaction with individual transactions does notlead to customers’ perceptions of high quality, Customer Satisfaction as a majoringredient of quality is explicitly recognized in the criteria for the MalcolmBaldrige National Quality Award.3.
Empirical Findings Regarding Customer Satisfaction
According to IBM, a “closed loop” is needed to overcome dissatisfaction. IBMclaims to have quantified the revenue potential of one point of customersatisfaction, while AT&T has obtained weights for the components of customersatisfaction. According to AT&T, Satisfaction with Repair Quality is a directfunction of “fixed right first time”. Burke Research bemoans the lack of 
 
 
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actionability in Satisfaction Measurement and also maintains the need for a“closed loop” from measurement to action.4.
Problem Detection and Complaint Resolution
Dissatisfied individuals tend not to complain, and retail and field systems filterand discourage complaints. By the mere fact of getting customers to articulatetheir problems to the company/provider, brand loyalty can be retained and thecomplaint ratio (multiplier) reduced. The propensity to complain is directlyproportional to the perceived severity of the problem and the damage to therespondent. Complainers tend to be the heaviest users of the product/service.Problem experience for those consumers who remain unsatisfied results insubstantial amounts of negative word-of-mouth.The author closes with ten (10) recommendations for the design of automotiveCustomer Satisfaction programs.
I. TWO FALLACIES IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTIONMEASUREMENT
 The concept of Customer Satisfaction has received a great deal of attention in theMarketing literature in the last decade. Indeed, just one journal — the Journal of Marketing
 — 
published almost two dozen scholarly articles in the last four yearsalone.Conferences on the subject have multiplied, both in the United States andelsewhere. The American Marketing Association hosts several conferences eachyear. Dun and Bradstreet, the Institute for International Research, and theAssociation for Statistical Quality Control all offer more and different seminarsand conferences on this subject.Yet, despite all this academic and serious professional attention, two key fallaciescharacterize our present view of Customer Satisfaction, or CS. These fallacies areexactly those described by Stephen Jay Gould in his book 
The Mismeasure of Man
 (1981). Gould discusses the construct of “Intelligence” and the ranking of humanbeings on that complex and illusive construct. To us, Gould’s views appear to beas relevant to the mismeasure of Customer Satisfaction as they are to themismeasure of human intelligence. To (mis)quote Gould:“The first fallacy is that of reification, or our tendency to convert abstract conceptsinto entities. We recognize the importance of (satisfaction in the customer’sownership experience) and wish to characterize it. We therefore give the acronym

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