PERSPECTIVES ON MARKETING We could study marketing from the perspective of

y y y

Sellers Consumers Public policy makers For the most part, we will take a seller's perspective. Consumerism has to do with a focus on the rights of consumers. Public policy makers include those who make laws (or set industry standards) that affect businesses.

MARKETING Marketing is the process of:

creating, distributing, promoting, and pricing goods, services, ideas, people, places, and organizations in a dynamic environment with the result of satisfaction for both buyer and seller.

Note that this definition includes controllable marketing factors, a product, uncontrollable marketing factors, and an exchange that results in satisfaction for both parties of the exchange.

Customer Satisfaction: What Is It? Recent interpretations in the consumer domain now couch satisfaction as a fulfillment response. Fulfillment implies that a consumption goal is known, as in basic motives of hunger, thirst, and safety. However, observers of human behavior understand that these and other goals

can be and frequently are modified and updated in various ways. Thus, consumer researchers have moved away from the literal meaning of satisfaction and now pursue this concept as the consumer experiences and describes it. In Oliver (1997, p. 13), the following definition has been proposed as being consistent with the conceptual and empirical evidence to date: Satisfaction is the consumer s fulfillment response. It is a judgment that a product or service feature, or the product or service itself, provided (or is providing) a pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfillment, including levels of under- or over-fulfillment. Here, pleasurable implies that fulfillment gives pleasure or reduces pain, as when a problem in life is solved. Thus, individuals can be satisfied just to get back to normalcy, as in the removal of an aversive state (e.g., pain relief). Moreover, fulfillment is not necessarily limited to the case of met needs. Over-fulfillment can be satisfying if it provides additional unexpected pleasure; and under-fulfillment can be satisfying if it gives greater pleasure than one anticipates in a given situation. Note that it has not been necessary to provide a separate discussion of dissatisfaction. If the word displeasure is substituted for pleasure in the satisfaction definition, dissatisfaction results. Thus, the displeasure of under-fulfillment typically is dissatisfying and, interestingly,

Industry positioning surveys Lost business reports y y y Meetings with customers . Increased competition. but important. (Those disc Measuring customer satisfaction is a relatively new concept to many companies that have been focused exclusively on income statements and balance ways. crowded markets with little product differentiation and years of continual sales growth followed by two decades of flattened sales curves have indicated to today's sharp competitors that their focus must change. including: y y Feedback received in response to answers to customer complaints Dialogue between the customer and field executive or Management which is then documented in a trip visit summary report. concepts are frequently used interchangeably with satisfaction. Companies now recognize that the new global economy has changed things forever. Related Concepts 3 A number of related. There are six steps in conducting a successful survey.over-fulfillment may be dissatisfying if it is unpleasant the case of too much of a good thing. . They are: y y y y y y Decide on your objectives Determine who should complete the survey Develop the survey Administer the survey Analyze the results Communicate the results Article Source: http://EzineArticles. although closer inspection reveals that they are actually distinct from satisfaction despite the fact that they may be related to satisfaction in Customer satisfaction data are received in a variety of methods.interview sessions with questionnaires Conducting survey is an effective method for measuring customer satisfaction and achieving continues improvement in quality.

Only by doing so can they hold on to the customers they have and understand how to better attract new customers.Competitors that are prospering in the new global economy recognize that meas-uring customer satisfaction is key. The competitors who will be successful recognize that .

Customer satisfaction is incorporated into the strategic focus of the company via the mission statement. Customers are informed about changes brought about as the direct result of listening to their needs. is exactly how to do all of this and do it well. they are no substitute for a valid. They need to understand how to quantify. Plans constructed using customer satisfaction research results can be designed to target customers and processes that are most able to extend profits. . however.customer satisfaction is a critical strategic weapon that can bring increased market share and increased profits. Too many companies rely on outdated and unreliable measures of customer satisfaction. analyze and use the data as a strategic weapon to drive the business. measure and track customer satisfaction. They listen to sales reps describing their customers' states of mind. Top management and marketing divisions champion the programs. The problem companies face. It's no surprise to find that market leaders differ from the rest of the industry in that they're designed to hear the voice of the customer and achieve customer satisfaction. They watch sales volume. While these approaches are not completely without value. And they watch aging accounts receivable reports. recognizing that unhappy customers pay as late as possible--if at all. Corporate evaluations include not only their own customer satisfaction ratings but also those of their competitors. questionnaires and focus groups. no firm can be effective in this new business climate. Internal and external quality measures are often tied together. They track and count the frequency of complaints. Stakeholder compensation is tied directly to the customer satisfaction surveying program. In these companies: Marketing and sales employees are primarily responsible for designing (with customer input) customer satisfaction surveying programs. Without a clear and accurate sense of what needs to be measured and how to collect. well-designed customer satisfaction surveying program. Satisfaction results are made available to all employees.

it's important to be clear on exactly what's meant by the term.A concentrated effort is made to relate the customer satisfaction measurement results to internal process metrics. Customer satisfaction measurement must be undertaken with an understanding of the gap between customer expectations and attribute performance perceptions. It must generate actionable reports for management. There should be some connection between customer satisfaction measurement and bottom-line results. To be successful. There are some important implications of this definition: Because customer satisfaction is a subjective. Defining customer satisfaction Because the concept of customer satisfaction is new to many companies. "Satisfaction" itself can refer to a number of different facts of the relationship with a customer. nonquantitative state. It must be credible enough that employee performance and compensation can be attached to the final results. The achievement of customer satisfaction leads to company loyalty and product repurchase. For example. Customer satisfaction is the state of mind that customers have about a company when their expectations have been met or exceeded over the lifetime of the product or service. measurement won't be exact and will require sampling and statistical analysis. companies need a customer satisfaction surveying system that meets the following criteria: The system must be relatively easy to design and understand. it can refer to any or all of the following: Satisfaction with the quality of a particular product or service .

Clearly defining and understanding customer satisfaction can help any company identify opportunities for product and service innovation and serve as the basis for performance appraisal and reward systems. For example. Objectives of a customer satisfaction surveying program Customer Satisfaction Measurement Facts y y A 5-percent increase in loyalty can increase profits by 25%-85%. A very satisfied customer is nearly six times more likely to be loyal and to repurchase and/or recommend your product than is a customer who is just satisfied. Satisfied customers tell five other people about their good treatment. so measures of satisfaction taken by suppliers should include these critical variables. will lead to improved performance. The most basic objectives that should be met by any surveying program include the following: Understanding the expectations and requirements of all your customers Determining how well your company and its competitors are satisfying these expectations and requirements y y y Developing service and/or product standards based on your findings .Satisfaction with an ongoing business relationship Satisfaction with the price-performance ratio of a product or service Satisfaction because a product/service met or exceeded the customer's expectations Each industry could add to this list according to the nature of the business and the specific relationship with the customer. In addition to a clear statement defining customer satisfaction. The average customer with a problem eventually tells nine other people. manufacturers typically desire on-time delivery and adherence to specifications. any successful surveying program must have a clear set of objectives that. It can also serve as the basis for a customer satisfaction surveying program that can ensure that quality improvement efforts are properly focused on issues that are most important to the customer. Customer satisfaction measurement variables will differ depending on what type of satisfaction is being researched. once met. Only 4 percent of dissatisfied customers will complain.

the design of an excellent customer satisfaction surveying program is more difficult than it might first appear. The lesson is twofold. Conducting a customer satisfaction surveying program is a burden on the organization and its customers in terms of time and resources. Nothing is more frustrating than having information that indicates a problem exists but fails to isolate the specific cause. Having the purchasing department of a manufacturing firm rate the sales and service it received on its last order on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 7 (magnificent) would yield little about how to improve sales and service to the manufacturer. the following basic questions must be clearly answered: How will the information we gather be used? How will this information allow us to take action inside the organization? How should we use this information to keep our customers and find new ones? Careful consideration must be given to what the organization hopes to accomplish. at least not without many other more specific questions attached. First. Second. . calling or mailing some customers. It requires more than just writing a few questions. designing a questionnaire. general questions are often not that helpful in customer satisfaction measurement. how the results will be disseminated to various parts of the organization and how the information will be used. There is no point asking customers about a particular service or product if it won't or can't be changed regardless of the feedback. There is no point in engaging in this work unless it has been thoughtfully designed so that only relevant and important information is gathered.Examining trends over time in order to take action on a timely basis Establishing priorities and standards to judge how well you've met these goals Before an appropriate customer satisfaction surveying program can be designed. and then tallying the results. This information must allow the organization to take direct action.

neutral or terrible. whether it's great. Strong recommendations influence the experience of the customer. which can then be used to initiate strategies that will retain customers and thus protect the most valuable corporate asset-loyal customers). but will shop for a better deal).g. Surveying these decisions leads to measures of customer loyalty. the customer's degree of loyalty mind-set (or attitude) will be an accumulation of all past experiences and exposures that can be indicated as a score from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). to receive the voice of the customer. When the customer is asked a customer satisfaction question.e. How does a customer satisfaction surveying manager make the connection between the survey response and the customer's attitude or mind-set regarding loyalty? Research conducted by both corporate and academic researchers shows a relationship between survey measurements and the degree of preference or rejection that a customer might have accumulated. acceptance (satisfied. As it's determined what needs to be measured and how the data relate to loyalty and repurchase." The experiences of other customers--each time they hear something about a company. and/or preference (delighted and may even purchase at a higher price). neutral or terrible. It can also be captured with other response formats with an odd number of choices (e. and many successful companies have capitalized on that link. An exceptional experience leads to strong word-of-mouth recommendations. the customer's pre-purchase mind-set will fall into one of three categories--rejection (will avoid purchasing if at all possible)." There is obviously a strong connection between these two inputs. . This is known as "word-of-mouth. it becomes important to examine the mind-set of customers the instant they are required to make a pre-purchase (or repurchase) decision or a recommendation decision. This highly subjective system that customers themselves apply to their decisions is based primarily on input from two sources: The customers' own experiences--each time they experience a product or service.. deciding whether that experience is great. In general.. These are known as "moments of truth.Understanding differing customer attitudes The most basic objective of a customer satisfaction surveying program is to generate valid and consistent customer feedback (i.

Washington State University. Pullman. WA 991644730. but it takes continuous customer experience management.1 to 3 or 1 to 7) to allow for a neutral response. Schumann. Department of Marketing. Kevin Cacioppo has been working for the leading integrated enclosure manufacturer. Clemons. The lack of a consensus definition limits the contribution of consumer satisfaction research. Vancouver. Department of Marketing. Professor. Suggest a definitional framework of consumer satisfaction based on commonalities in the literature and the views of consumers.wsu. Cote. in the perception of the customer. develop valid measures of satisfaction. 2. to get there--and even more effort to stay there. and/or compare and interpret empirical results. About the author Since completing his master's degree in 1998. researchers are unable to select an appropriate definition for a given context. the goal of every company should be to develop customers with a preference attitude (i. we all want the coveted preferred vendor status such that the His work continues to . Joseph A. Obviously. which means customer satisfaction measurement. Without a uniform definition of satisfaction. The authors would like to extend a special thank you to Robert Peterson (who served as editor for this paper) for his helpful comments in revising this (509)335-6354.e. he has applied both theory and experience to support the world's largest semiconductor original equipment manufacturer in the United States and abroad. when given a choice. Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction Defining Consumer Satisfaction Joan L. what steps must be taken to solidify relations and secure future business. Washington State University. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A review of the existing literature indicates a wide variance in the definitions of satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction researchers have contended that these problems are pervasive and important (Gardial. . Discuss how this framework can be used to develop a definition of satisfaction to accommodate different contextual settings. WA 98686-9600. E-mail him atkcacioppo@qualitydigest. In his present role as global account leader. Giese. Woodruff. Yi 1990). Peterson and Wilson 1992.. cote@vancouver. and Burns 1994. giesej@wsu. Cote Washington State University Joan L. Assistant Professor. Giese Washington State University Joseph A. This research will: 1. Direct correspondence to Joan Giese. will choose our company). (509)335-3865 (fax). (360)546-9753.

The emotional basis for satisfaction is confirmed by the consumer The Literature and Consumer Views of Satisfaction ." "excited. 77." "euphoria.3. a response pertaining to a particular focus determined at a particular time. "like love. ultimately. 2) the response pertains to a particular focus (expectations. all the definitions share some common elements. Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction . product. after choice. Response: Type and Intensity . Terms such as." "pleasantly surprised.3% of group interview responses specifically used affective responses to describe satisfaction and 64% of the personal interviewees actually changed the question term "satisfaction" to more affective terms." "frustrated." "cheated. etc).Consumer satisfaction has been typically conceptualized as either an emotional or cognitive response.While the literature contains significant differences in the definition of satisfaction. More recent satisfaction definitions concede an emotional response." "helpless." and "neutral" reveal the range of intensity. In sum. three general components can be identified: 1) consumer satisfaction is a response (emotional or cognitive). etc." "relieved. and 3) the response occurs at a particular time (after consumption." "relieved. Consumer responses followed a general pattern similar to the literature. we must understand consumers¶ meanings of satisfaction and consumers must understand what we mean when we use the term. Satisfaction was comprised of three basic components. Both the literature and consumers also recognize that this affective response varies in intensity depending on the situation. based on accumulated experience. Response intensity refers to the strength of the satisfaction response. Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000 No. Ensure that our definitions of satisfaction are consistent with consumers' views. consumption experience." "very satisfied." "thrilled.). satisfaction. This is critical since." "apathy.amsreview. the literature and consumers both view satisfaction as a summary affective response of varying intensity.pdf Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science. ranging from strong to weak. When examined as a whole." "indifferent. 1 Available: http://www.

focus. A DEFINITIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR CONSUMER SATISFACTION Based on the insights provided by the literature review and interviews. Consumer satisfaction may occur prior to choice or even in the absence of purchase or choice (e. However.Focus of the Response . In addition. This may include a broad or narrow range of acquisition or consumption activities/issues. but prior to the actual purchase of the product. Rather than presenting a generic definition of satisfaction. or consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction are viewed as two different dimensions. In this case. It has even been argued that none of the above time frames is appropriate since satisfaction can vary dramatically over time and satisfaction is only determined at the time the evaluation occurs. well-formed response. However. we turned to consumer perceptions. ‡ Directed toward focal aspects of product acquisition and/or consumption. yet a number of subtle differences exist in this perspective.The literature has taken two approaches to conceptualizing and operationalizing the dissatisfaction construct. As noted above. therefore. or store/acquisition. innumerable contextual variables will affect how satisfaction is viewed.The focus identifies the object of a consumer¶s satisfaction and usually entails comparing performance to some standard. we identify the conceptual domain of satisfaction. This standard can vary from very specific to more general standards. The researcher should identify the focus of interest based on the managerial or research question they face. Since the literature does not provide a clear conceptualization of dissatisfaction. Consumers suggest that dissatisfaction is still comprised of the three components of the definitional framework: affective response. salesperson. To develop context-relevant definitions and measures. delineate specific components necessary for any meaningful definition of satisfaction. which refers to how long a particular satisfaction response lasts. and outline a process for developing context-specific definitions that can be compared across studies. Consumer dissatisfaction is portrayed as the bipolar opposite of satisfaction. The determination of an appropriate focus for satisfaction varies from context to context. By fleshing out these components. which were never patronized. The consumer responses reinforced this varied timing aspect of satisfaction. The exact type of affective response and the level of intensity likely to be experienced must be explicitly defined by a researcher depending on the context of interest. We speculate that the apparent dimensionality of satisfaction might be understood by examining the focus of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.. purchase decision. the consumer data did not help resolve the dimensionality issue. Timing of the Response . This framework is not a generic definition of satisfaction. As such. Dissatisfaction . As concluded by the literature review and validated by the group and personal interview data. The purchase decision may be evaluated after choice. consumer satisfaction is: ‡ A summary affective response of varying intensity. researchers must be able to identify both the questions they are interested in . dissatisfied with out-of-town supermarkets. ‡ With a time-specific point of determination and limited duration. any definition of satisfaction would have little meaning since interpretation of the construct would vary from person to person (chameleon effects). without a clear focus. satisfaction and dissatisfaction can be viewed as different dimensions. any generic definition of satisfaction will be subject to chameleon effects. and timing. Consumers were sometimes satisfied with one aspect of the choice/consumption experience. but dissatisfied with another aspect. the consumers discussed the duration of satisfaction. timing is most critical to ascertain the most accurate. researchers should be able to develop specific definitions that are conceptually richer and empirically more useful than previous definitions. because they caused a local store to close). There are often multiple foci to which these various standards are directed including the product. consumption. It is reasonable to expect that consumers may consciously determine their satisfaction response when asked by a researcher.g. we propose a framework for developing context-specific definitions of consumer satisfaction. The researcher should select the point of determination most relevant for the research questions and identify the likely duration of the summary response.It is generally accepted that consumer satisfaction is a postpurchase phenomenon.

Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction . 1 Available: http://www. Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000 Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science.amsreview. the researcher will need to provide details about all three components of satisfaction.answering and some basic information about the setting and consumers. Specifically.

and respond to satisfaction proposed definitional framework provides the specificity to allow researchers to develop context-specific measures by helping researchers clearly identify the relevant satisfaction domain for their study.pdf Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science. Providing context-specific measures will prevent chameleon effects which can cause the meaning of items to vary depending on the other information presented in the questionnaire or research context. More importantly. By providing appropriate detail concerning the affective response. managers can recognize that the satisfaction focus and timing can be customized for their needs. This limits theoretical advancements. but specific enough to allow for the development of context-specific measures in order to prevent chameleon effects. As a result. Guided by our framework. realizing that consumers vary with respect to the components and related properties of satisfaction. explicitly or implicitly.Currently. The definitional framework we present provides guidelines for developing conceptually consistent. Our proposed definition framework allows researchers to identify the common and unique components of different satisfaction studies. time of determination and duration. Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction 1 . Implications for Managers . it is impossible to disentangle differences in operationalizing satisfaction from differences in results. managers can concentrate on those that are of direct interest or are directly controllable.Implications The satisfaction literature has not yet.Managers need to know how their consumer groups define satisfaction and then interpret satisfaction scales to accurately target. the typical measurement problems of negative skewness and lack of variability can be alleviated with scales reflecting appropriate intensity of the affective response. Rather than looking at all aspects of choice/consumption experience. Developing Measures of Satisfaction . Context-specific definitions created using the framework should be general enough to allow comparisons across studies. Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000 No. a more meaningful definition of satisfaction can be constructed. report. researchers can develop measures of satisfaction consistent with the conceptual definition and their research goals. Furthermore. clearly delineated. established a generally accepted definition of satisfaction. This has limited our abilities to develop appropriate measures and compare results across studies. managers are able to obtain "true" consumer responses that are relevant to managerial decision making.amsreview. context-specific definitions of satisfaction. managers should conduct post-purchase segmentation. This will allow results to be more easily interpreted and compared. Implications for Theory Development and Testing . Results suggest that different industries may need to use different satisfaction scales. or a single industry may need to tailor scales to different types of consumers. and the focus of the response. 1 Available: http://www. When appropriate.

most research focuses on testing models of consumer satisfaction (e. most satisfaction researchers do not justify their choice of definition. Woodruff. Howard and Sheth 1969.g.g. global evaluative judgment (Westbrook 1987). Part of this process is defining the constructs of interest and explaining why this conceptualization is appropriate.DEFINING CONSUMER SATISFACTION Despite extensive research in the years since Cardozo¶s (1965) classic article.. if multiple definitions for a construct exist. Oliver 1997.g. with limited. Oliver 1981) or a response to an evaluation process (e.g. Most definitions have favored the notion of consumer satisfaction as a response to an evaluation process. "Studies of customer satisfaction are perhaps best characterized by their lack of definitional and methodological standardization" (p. Howard and Sheth 1969. Oliver 1993.. and Schmidt 1994. Hartman. "I would recommend the school to students interested in a business career. and Tsiros 1999. there is disagreement concerning the nature of this summary concept. then researchers must explicitly define and justify the definition selected... Oliver and Swan 1989). process definitions are plagued by antecedent constructs included in the conceptual definition. or simply. nobody knows" (p. Researchers have used discrepant terms to mean satisfaction as determined by the final user: consumer satisfaction (e. Spreng. Smith. As a result. For constructs having a consensus definition.g. Halstead. or evaluative response (Day 1984)).e. justification for the use of any particular term. although conceptual definitions are void of a behavioral orientation. Spreng. The lack of a consensus definition for satisfaction creates three serious problems for consumer satisfaction research: selecting an appropriate definition for a given study. there are . satisfaction is not defined at all. Churchill and Surprenant 1982.g. 13).. psychological state (Howard and Sheth 1969). thus. Then it seems. MacKenzie. Westbrook 1980).. MacKenzie. operational definitions may include a behavioral dimension of satisfaction (e. Halstead. Tse and Wilton 1988. 1981. Westbrook and Reilly 1983). From a general definition perspective. Kumar. Even if a researcher attempts to define satisfaction. this issue does not need to be addressed in each and every study. consumer satisfaction definitions have either emphasized an evaluation process (e. Hartman. noting that "everyone knows what [satisfaction] is until asked to give a definition. Hartman. Unfortunately. These three problems affect the basic structure and outcomes of marketing research and theory testing. Oliver 1993. A final discrepancy occurs in the terms used as a designation for this concept. Specifically. satisfaction (e." (Halstead. and Olshavsky 1996. there is an overlap between the domains of the determinative process constructs and the consumer satisfaction construct. and Schmidt 1994)). and interpreting and comparing empirical results. customer satisfaction (e. a fulfillment response (Oliver 1997). Oliver 1992.g. Westbrook and Reilly 1983). and Schmidt 1994. Hunt 1977. and Schmidt 1994. operationalizing the definition. A basic definitional inconsistency is evident by the debate of whether satisfaction is a process or an outcome (Yi 1990).g.. and Jenkins 1987. researchers have yet to develop a consensual definition of consumer satisfaction. summary attribute phenomenon (Oliver 1992). Bolton and Drew 1991. Oliver and DeSarbo 1988. and Schmidt 1994). process definitions are problematic in that there is little consistency in the satisfaction process. Hartman. Oliver (1997) addresses this definitional issue by paraphrasing the emotion literature. Researchers portray consumer satisfaction as either a cognitive response (e. Fornell 1992.. However. affective response (Halstead. Cronin and Taylor 1992. From an operational perspective. 62). Bolton. Fornell 1992.. Cadotte. Mano and Oliver 1993. Kourilsky and Murray 1981. In some cases. Furthermore. if any. Based on the perception that satisfaction has been defined. Tse and Wilton 1988. Halstead. Tse and Wilton 1988) or an affective response (e. As Peterson and Wilson (1992) suggest. there is an overriding theme of consumer satisfaction as a summary concept (i. When discussing and testing theory it is critical to explicate the conceptual domain. Mittal. These terms are used somewhat interchangeably. the literature is replete with different conceptual and operational definitions of consumer satisfaction (see Table 1). and Wagner 1999). overall evaluation (Fornell 1992). However. and Olshavsky 1996..g. More precisely. Hartman. Tse and Wilton 1988) while definitional considerations have received little attention.

no clear guidelines for selecting an appropriate definition for a given context. As a result. 1 Available: http://www.pdf Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science. the selection of a definition for satisfaction becomes idiosyncratic. Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000 Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction 2 .

construct are changed by the context within which they appear" (bold added). then respondents are more likely to respond to the same item in terms of how they feel about themselves physically (page 49). Similarly. Furthermore. satisfaction was assessed using an item like the following: How do you feel about the product or product usage? (I feel delighted/terrible). This problem becomes more serious as the measure becomes more global in nature. Furthermore. Two automobile purchasers respond to the same seven-point satisfied/dissatisfied scale. how do expectations influence satisfaction? It is impossible to compare results across studies since differences in the definition and operationalization of satisfaction will influence the role of expectations in the model. 260). For example. then respondents are more likely to respond in terms of how they feel about themselves academically. Without a consensus definition of satisfaction that can be used to develop context-specific measures. "the meaning attributed to the items and the underlying nature of the measured . Thus. Generally worded. A brief example may illustrate the relevance of a standardized definition of consumer satisfaction. the "chameleon effect" described by Marsh and Yeung (1999) is rampant in satisfaction research. I have a lot to be proud of. the combination of explicit and implicit (chameleon effect) inconsistencies prevents meaningful conclusions about consumer satisfaction. How they define satisfaction is integral to interpreting their response. In sum.. a lack of definitional and measurement standardization limits the degree to which generalizations can be developed. comparable body of research on consumer satisfaction if researchers do not agree on what satisfaction is and cannot base measurement decisions on a consensual definition. and compared. it is . "I feel good about myself. Marsh and Yeung (1999) would argue it is subject to chameleon effects. Thus. In this situation." "Overall. Churchill 1979. the interpretation is that Consumer B is more satisfied than Consumer A. I am no good") takes on the meaning of items with which it appears. true satisfaction can be elusive. Given the lack of a clear definition or definitional framework. if the item "I feel good about myself" appears on a survey in which all of the other items refer to academic situations. Peterson and Wilson (1992) note that differences in results depend on how satisfaction was operationalized. it becomes impossible to create a unified. developing context-specific items becomes difficult and idiosyncratic. other measured constructs. Consumer A marks a '5' and Consumer B marks a '7. Without definitional explication. is not justified. and products being assessed. . For example. For example. On the other hand. it is unclear whether the measures used are appropriate or valid. This definition provides little guidance for developing context-specific measures. Given only this much information. Gerbing and Anderson 1988). Defining a construct¶s theoretical meaning and conceptual domain are necessary steps to developing appropriate measures and obtaining valid results (Bollen 1989. If the choice of a consumer satisfaction definition.g. global measures provide no guidance to respondents or other researchers for interpreting the exact meaning of satisfaction. it is virtually impossible to interpret what these consumers mean from the number that they have marked.A second problem is the development of valid measures of satisfaction.' Most likely. A specific concern to managers is that uninterpretable results are essentially results that can not provide information to make decisions. Westbrook (1987) defines satisfaction as a "global evaluative judgment about product usage/consumption" (p. justified. Based on this definition. Perhaps the most serious problem caused by the lack of a consensus definition is the inability to interpret and compare empirical results. however. As they note: We evaluate support for the chameleon effect that hypothesizes that an open-ended (content-free) item such as those appearing on most esteem scales (e. or lack thereof." "Overall. respondents will interpret the meaning of "satisfaction" based on the other cues including instructions. . if all of the other items on the survey refer to their physical conditions. While this item is consistent with the definition. a lack of definitional standardization limits the degree to which results can be explained. the meaning of the "delighted-terrible" question posed above would change depending on other items and contextual information in the study. As Marsh and Yeung (1999) point out. expectations may be irrelevant for the particular context in which satisfaction is being determined.

1 Available: http://www.pdf Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science.amsreview. Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction 3 .Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000

Cadotte.g. even business consumption (Mowen and Minor 1998. Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction 4 . First. Third. Kumar. This is critical since. Although our focus is on the end user of the product. Given the complexity and context-specific nature of satisfaction. Consistent with the literature. All of these studies. In other cases. a clear definition of consumer satisfaction is needed" (p.amsreview. and Tsiros 1999). Strauss and Corbin 1990). group interviews provided exploratory data to refute. 2. Woodruff. the definition of satisfaction must be contextually adapted. Swan and Oliver 1985). Yi (1990) concludes. MacKenzie. 74). The input of actual consumers is critical for developing a meaningful definitional framework since ultimately. Bolton. personal interviews were designed to verify. Gardial et al. context-specific definitions of consumer satisfaction. In addition. we will: 1. a literature review was conducted to glean general consistencies and specific inconsistencies in the definitions used by marketing researchers. the literature has been lax in distinguishing between consumer satisfaction. Woodruff. and further refine the emerging components of consumer satisfaction. confirm. This study will focus on the concept of consumer satisfaction. it is impossible to develop a generic global definition. and Olshavsky 1996). Group interviews were conducted to elicit descriptions of satisfaction pertinent to consumer-specified situations. Discuss how this framework can be used to develop a definition of satisfaction to accommodate different contextual settings. It is evident that the concept of consumer satisfaction applies in many marketing contexts: purchase (e. consumer satisfaction must be explicitly defined to delineate the context. ultimately. consumer satisfaction pertains to the response of the end user who may or may not be the purchaser. 1994. we will define the consumer as the ultimate user of the product. in some situations. and Jenkins (1987) versus Churchill and Surprenant (1982) or Spreng. Consistent with the procedures of grounded theory. however. MacKenzie. Mittal. group interviews provided direction for the next interviewing phase. As noted previously. it is the consumers whom we will ask to answer questions about satisfaction. Suggest a definitional framework of consumer satisfaction based on commonalties in the literature and the views of consumers. Schiffman and Kanuk 2000. refute. ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS OF SATISFACTION: IDENTIFYING A CONSENSUS A three-step approach. Research Design The literature review consisted of an examination of 20 definitions used during a 30-year period of consumer satisfaction Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000 loosely based on grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967. The purpose of this research is to resolve existing inconsistencies by proposing a framework that researchers can use to develop clear and conceptually consistent. Personal interviewees also provided data needed for assessing the generalizability of the emerging definitional framework of satisfaction across different contexts. satisfaction. personal interviewees provided their generic definitions of consumer satisfaction. Our goal was to use consumer perspectives to expand and question emerging definitions from the literature. satisfaction (e.. tend to be focused on the final user. we must understand consumers¶ meanings of satisfaction and consumers must understand what we mean when we use the term. and/or augment the evolving definition. because of the plethora of satisfaction research. For these and other reasons. and Wagner (1999) for examples). Solomon 1999). "For the field of consumer satisfaction to develop further. Rather. Spreng.pdf Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science.g.imperative to define and measure satisfaction according to consumers¶ views of the relevant satisfaction situation. In this study. information considered (e. 3. The proposed framework ensures that the context-specific definition captures the complete domain of satisfaction and is consistent with the conceptual domain of other researchers. and Olshavsky (1996) versus Smith. Specifically. consumption (e. the end user is also the purchaser. Second. Ensure that our definitions of satisfaction are consistent with consumers' views. Thus.g. and Jenkins 1987). and.... was used to discover and formulate different definitions of consumer satisfaction. neither consumer nor customer is used to qualify the term. we recognize that. and satisfaction (see Cadotte. 1 Available: http://www. customer satisfaction.

These interviewees were entered into a drawing for a $100 cash prize for their voluntary participation. a service. conducted by one of the researchers. Glaser and Strauss 1967). Participants were first asked to recall a previous purchase situation where they felt good (did not feel good) and to use their own words to describe that situation. cars.pdf Copyright © 2002 ± Academy of Marketing Science. and dimensional ranges (Strauss and Corbin 1990). participants were specifically asked to define satisfaction with a durable. data from four group interviews revealed 52% males and 48% females ranging in age from under 25 to over 65 (modal interval was 35 to 44) and ranging in income from less than $15. participants provided a battery of phrases used to describe consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Interview questions appear in the appendix. "felt. rural and urban). How do you. residence. The personal interview sample included 23 consumers from four locations in two western states.amsreview. ". "How do you. Demographic information was not available for all group interviews. three general components can be identified in extant definitions: 1) consumer satisfaction is a response (emotional or cognitive). together. etc. Seventy percent were women. Later in the group interviews. Giese and Cote / Defining Consumer Satisfaction 5 . 65% had a college degree. 1994). 1 Available: http://www. One person was deleted because of an inaudible tape. and 56% were employed. Interviewees ranged in age from 24 to 72. Group interviews lasted approximately 30 minutes and were followed by specific questioning concerning a different. define dissatisfaction?" Interviewees were then asked about three or four self-determined purchase situations. and 3) the response occurs at a particular time (after Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 2000 No. Data were coded. lump food. Personal interviews were conducted at neutral locations where interruptions could be minimized. In fact. the interviewer guided their comments by saying. Specific question wording appears in the appendix. 2) the response pertains to a particular focus (expectations. satisfied and dissatisfied (Gardial et al. The purpose of this question selection was to generate many responses across dissimilar situations so that definitional similarities would begin to emerge. the definitions have overlapping components but are partially inconsistent.). product. Interviewees were obtained with the assistance of three facilitators and. In-depth interviews. Interview Samples Using the techniques of theoretical (purposive) sampling (Glaser 1978. The group interview sample consisted of 135 adult consumers chosen to participate in thirteen group interviews conducted throughout the midwest for a major utility company. This review was supplemented by group and personal interviews. with a mean age of 42. Results Researchers define consumer satisfaction in various ways (see Table 1). Some of the definitions provided in the consumer satisfaction literature are fundamentally inconsistent with one another. lawnmowers. define satisfaction?" This question was followed by. When examined as a whole. and a nondurable. analyzed. etc. and geographic location (five midwestern states. no particular product. and compared to extant literature to develop consumer satisfaction in terms of its components. demand effects were initially reduced by not using the words. however. Although using the word. but related. topic. Data Interpretation All group and personal interviews were audiotaped and/or videotaped and transcribed. interviewees were unknown to the interviewer. in all but two instances. gender. lasted approximately one hour." introduced bias toward affective responses.000 to over $75. properties.000 (modal interval was $30. Proceeding from more general to more specific questioning (Dillman 1978).000). . in general. One of the researchers and a colleague (both experienced facilitators) moderated the group interviews. groups were chosen to obtain differences in age. interviewees provided general definitions of satisfaction. In other cases. clothing. Group Interview Script After a brief description of the research project and a warm-up activity. and purchase decisions. . in general. The paid participants (10-12 per group) varied by age. recreation equipment. consumption experience.000 to $50. Personal Interview Schedule After a brief introduction to the research project.

these three general categories capture the essence of all the definitions presented. Fornell 1992 An overall Overall evaluation Postpurchase Postpurchase postpurchase perceived product evaluation (p.consumption. Hunt 1977.g. response/judgment It is a judgment that a product or service feature. 454). Hartman. performance compared with prepurchase expectations . including levels of under. 13) Halstead. As can be seen by examining Table 1. based on accumulated experience. Westbrook and Oliver 1991) (p. TABLE 1 Conceptual and Conceptual Response Focus Time Operational Definition Definitions in Consumer Satisfaction Literature Source Oliver 1997 the consumer's Fulfillment Product or service During consumption fulfillment response. etc). A transactionAffective response Product performance During or after and Schmidt 1994 specific affective compared to some consumption response resulting prepurchase standard from the customer¶s comparison of product performance to some prepurchase standard (e.. Mano and Oliver (Product satisfaction) Attitude . focus and timing of the satisfaction response.evaluative Product Postconsumption 1993 is an attitude . provided (or is providing) a pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfillment.11). existing definitions are inconsistent in the specifics associated with the type. 122). or the product or service itself. As expected.or overfulfillment ( judgment Varying postconsumption along the hedonic evaluative judgment continuum (Hunt 1977) varying along the hedonic continuum (Oliver 1989. Oliver 1989) (p. after choice.

Oliver and Swan 1989 No conceptual definition. 84). Westbrook and A postchoice Evaluative judgment Specific purchase Postchoice Oliver 1991 evaluative judgment selection concerning a specific purchase selection (Day 1984) (p. More and more companies are striving. 2829). but for customer delight. 242). that extra bit of added value that may lead to increased customer loyalty. The quality of aftersales service can also be a crucial factor in influencing any purchasing decision. will need to be carefully costed. Any extra added value. . however. Salesperson During purchase (with the salesperson) a function of fairness. Corporate and individual customers may have widely differing reasons for purchasing a product or service and therefore any measurement of satisfaction will need to be able to take into account such differences. Concluded coexisting with other that satisfaction is a consumption summary attribute emotions phenomenon coexisting with other consumption emotions (p. not just for customer satisfaction. and disconfirmation (pp.Oliver 1992 Examined whether Summary attribute Product attributes During consumption satisfaction was an phenomenon emotion. Definition of customer satisfaction Marketing how happy buyers are with firm's productsthe degree to which customer expectations of a product or service are met or exceeded. preference.