Marketing Is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering values to customers and for managing customer relationships In ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. These values are related to an economic dimension and the psychological dimension of the said marketing definition. The same dimensions speak about perceived price through transaction values and cognitive and affective influences on brand choice and affective influences.
This definition of marketing leads to the importance and critical roles of customers perception of corporate Images and reputation leading to customer satisfaction as an Intermediary to customer loyalty. This Is done In relevance with the belief and fact that customers are the primary ‘assets’ of a market and not the product itself. With customers being satisfied, or if customers show a high level of satisfaction then only can the market for the particular product grow. This in turn can lead to customer loyalty and loyalty intention. What is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer Satisfaction Is said to be able to Increase product sales and bring about fulfillment response. It is a Judgment that a product or service feature, or the reduce itself, provided or is providing a pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfillment including levels of under or over-fulfillment. ” It is the degree of experience that a customer receives from a good or service provided by a market. Thus ‘Customer Satisfaction’ is the measure of this degree of experience or pleasure of customers measured by the number of repeated customers who repeatedly use the goods or service.
It is also seen that customer satisfaction leads to the customers being loyal to the product or service thus in return be loyal to the particular brand of the product. It can also be used as a measure of loyalty intention. Oliver(1997) defined customer’s loyalty as “a deep held commitment to rebury or re-patronize a preferred product or service consistently in the future, thereby causing repetitive same brand or same brand-set purchasing, despite situational influences and marketing efforts that have the potential to cause switching behavior. Loyalty then is the intent or the customer’s behavior to rebury the same product or service from a particular source (thus linking to a brand) because of the satisfaction that he or she achieved from using the product/service repeatedly. Why is Customer Satisfaction Important? Talking about customer satisfaction, one must understand why customer satisfaction is important. In asking that question the following reasons come up based on research. The main point is because customer satisfaction as a measure of loyalty intention and customer retention is a leading indicator and a point differentiator.
Studying customer satisfaction or performing customer satisfaction surveys yields a better understanding of customer lifetime value and reduces customer churn. In saying so, keeping and making old customers satisfied is a lot cheaper than acquiring new ones. Making customers happy reduces negative word of mouth for the product or service and thus doesn’t affect the product or service negatively. On the other hand, with satisfied and happy customers word of mouth would enable an acquisition of many more other customers who can then be transformed to satisfied customers and then into totally satisfied customers.
Retaining customers who are satisfied isn’t much of a problem, it is those customers who often have problems with the products or services offered that needs to be looked into. Suppose if a ‘satisfaction’ survey is carried out on a particular product, and the result gives a list if any customers who are not satisfied with the product or who gives a low rating for the product; then one must look into how and why they are unsatisfied with the product. One can keep a watch list on these customers and follow up with different queries so as to determine why they are not satisfied.
In knowing this, the brand can know the actual number of people who have intent of repurchase and of those who are actually loyal to the brand. The main difference between competitors in a market is their ability to retain and satisfy those customers who continue to be with them. Bringing customer satisfaction as a main strategy or a core point of action for a brand can be a detrimental factor for two or more competitors offering the same service or product. Take for example Competitor A and Competitor B both offering Product X.
A customer C would go for either of the competitor’s Product X if C would have received feedback from another customer (say D) if D would have given a positive feedback to given a positive word of mouth feedback to C of the Product X from Competitor A if the competitor A had offered or given a high level of satisfaction to the customer D. Thus the main differentiating factor for C for choosing product X from A and B would highly depend on the recommendation from D. This is what is meant by acquiring new customers and retaining old ones based on customer satisfaction.
Studies have shown that totally satisfied customers are more loyal to a brand than Just satisfied customers. The Customer Lifetime Value (CLC) which can yield profit from a customer based on prediction of spending of the customer on a particular product or service is different for totally and Just satisfied customers. Just satisfied customers can and eight defect to other products or services and have a lower CLC. This is because with just satisfied customers, chances of new products from competitors who offer better services and benefits might make them shift from their regular brand and products.
This can be attributed to the effect of the new product attributes that wooed them to shift or because of the lack of retention capability of the current brand. In the case of totally satisfied customers however, a new product or service with better offers and benefits than the current brand isn’t enough to deter them to take a shift. This might be due to the high loyalty they have towards their current brand because of their high levels of satisfaction they achieved from using the product or service or because of the brand’s capability to retain them by incorporating customer satisfaction strategies in their business plans.
Thus we can see that Just satisfied customers are willing to shift to other products more readily than totally satisfied customers. Markets should be able to distinguish between these two and formulate strategies to convert Just satisfied to totally satisfied customers which can raise the Customer Lifetime Value and thus increase profit. Consistency as a Customer Satisfaction Tool For a brand to be able to retain customers and to make them satisfied and happy, consistency is one of the major routes in achieving total customer satisfaction.
The consistency that the paper talks about is the consistent satisfaction of a customer and its measure of relation to the overall sum of customer satisfaction over a period of time. This is in contrast to the measure of a five point scale satisfaction survey of individual customers. In measuring this satisfaction consistency, we measure the attestation levels of an individual customer for a particular product or service provided by a certain brand over their continued use and repurchase of the product or brand. This gives us a better understanding of the customer’s response to the product or service though out the customer lifetime value.
With increasing use of the product the customer can either be satisfied, totally satisfied or be frustrated with the product. This study based on consistency can then be translated into strategies or plans to enable the brand to retain the dissatisfied customer, convert the Just testified and improve the totally satisfied customer. Throughout the customers’ lifetime with the product the brands consistent work to provide them with excellent and effortless service and a consistent support mechanism can ensure maximum customer satisfaction. However not all brands can offer and deliver the same.
Having a positive customer-experience emotions- encompassed in a feeling of trust-were the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty in a majority of industries. Consistency with customers in relationships, services and relations is important to forge trust brands’ customer pool. A company’s brand is driven by more than the combination of promises made and kept. It is also critical to ensure customers recognize the delivery of those promises. This requires communicating and key messages that consistently highlight delivery and themes.
In this case customer’s perceptions and views of the brand are reinforced. This in turn generates goodwill in the minds of the customers thus leading into a satisfaction level though the communication of these fulfilling promises and on time market communications to reinforce experiences. Relationship between Price and Satisfaction Say a customer A was traveling and had to stop to stay for a night. The hotel that he stayed charged him an exorbitant amount as the room rent and other charges and this caused A to be upset and thus dissatisfied with the hotel.
But because of the urgent requirement he had to put up with it. But in staying at the hotel he found out that the overall service of the hotel, the staffs and the facilities provided were much more than he anticipated. When asked to rate the hotel he gave it a ten out of ten. This is an example of how price can be related to satisfaction. But this is not the case with most products and services. Customers often expect good sales and services when they pay a hefty price for a product. If the product performs they are more likely to continue the use of the same product and recommend the same to others.
The opposite is the case if the product doesn’t meet the necessary requirements the customer had in mind while paying for it. If that’s the case, a sure negative response from the customer via word of mouth would go to others, thus making the brand lose out on a potential customer while not retaining a customer. Thus customer satisfaction and price has a direct negative relationship and impact on customer attention. This is regardless of satisfaction with the service experience or reward programmer membership status.
This also shows the price sensitivity of customers in relation to being satisfied with a product or service. Achieving Customer Satisfaction As customer satisfaction is an important factor for brands, companies and the market, plans and strategies must be included to achieve the same. This part of the paper will give a simple layout on how to achieve customer satisfaction. Since the business or the market continues to exist because of the customer, the customer should be made the first priority. This is in accordance to what was said at the beginning of the paper where customers where declared as assets of a market.
If customers are unhappy and uncaring for a product or service; chances are they have already made up their minds to shift to another. They also are highly capable to spread negativity about the same product or service via word of mouth. A “Can-Do” attitude by sales executives and the staffs in general can go a long way to making customers happy and satisfied. Inconvenience caused by the staffs and personnel at a retail shop or outlet can cause a very long lasting negative impression on the minds f the customers. The lesser the complaints received, the more highly the customer is satisfied with the service.
Communication with customers also offers a great platform in creating relationships with them and building trust in them. Also communication about the services and products provided by the brand to increase the knowledge of the customer is an ideal way to retain customers. If the full quality and service of a product and the extent to which the product or service can be used is made known to customer gets about the product or service, the more highly it can affect his/her purchase decision again and again. This can then lead to customer retention and satisfaction.
Timing is also one of the basic factors that can lead to customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. On time deliveries, sales and services, and deadlines are real time factors influencing customer satisfaction. Uncertainty and lack of confidence with customers are negative points on the customer’s mind. Your customer expects prompt, courteous service. When asking for service help, your customer should never have to make a second call. Establish clearly defined and attainable service standards using the input of customers and employees. Ensure hat those standards are thoroughly understood by employees and promoted to customers.
Put the standards into practice through employee reward programs that establish and recognize excellence in service. Research into competitors actions to improve your own goals and improve your own techniques and services. Remember that the customer is the markets’ everything. Complains must be listened and taken into account. Positive solutions must be encouraged along with politeness, compliments and enthusiasm. You are the company that the customer sees. The customer is always evaluating you, so offer a better service than your competitors ND always show interest in the customer.
Conclusion In concluding we can see that although there are customers who will always buy and purchase a product or service because of needs and requirements; totally satisfied customers are hard to find. Retaining Just satisfied customers also is a hard process since it entails a lot of work and research into why there can be a shift even when they are satisfied. Customer satisfaction is thus seen as not Just a unit of measure for brands and markets to calculate their profits and revenues but is seen as an important factor for marketing strategies and plans.
This is because the more satisfied the customers are, the more loyal they can become and the more loyal they become the more benefit the brand and the market can achieve from them in terms of profit and revenue. The results of the study shows that the markets offering different products and services should concentrate on customer satisfaction as it plays an important role in retaining customers which are the “Assets” of any market. References 1. Enhance Plus; “Why is Customer Satisfaction Important? ” 2. “The effect of price on return intentions: Do satisfaction and reward programmer membership matter?
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