TOTAL CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Whether the buyer is satisfied after purchase depends on the offerâ€™s performance in relation to the buyerâ€™s expectations. In general, satisfaction is a personâ€™s feelings of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a productâ€™s perceived performance (or outcome) in relation to his or her expectations. If the performance falls short of expectation, the customer is dissatisfied. If the performance matches the expectations the customer is satisfied. If the performance exceeds expectations, the customer is highly satisfied or delighted.
Although the customer-centered firm seeks to create high customer satisfaction, that is not its ultimate goal. If the company increases customer satisfaction by lowering its price or increasing its services, the result may be lower profits. The company might be able to increase its profitability by means other than increased satisfaction (for example by improving the manufacturing processes or investing more in R&D). Also, the company has many stake holders, including employees, dealers, suppliers, and stockholders. Spending more to increase the customer satisfaction might divert funds from increasing the satisfaction of the other â€œpartnersâ€?. Ultimately, the company must operate on the philosophy that it is trying to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction subject to delivering acceptable levels of satisfaction to the other stakeholders, given its total resources.
How do Buyers form their expectations?
Buyers form their expectations from past buying experience, friendsâ€™ and associatesâ€™ advice and marketersâ€™ information and promises.
If the marketers raise the expectations too high, the buyer is likely to be disappointed. If the company sets up the expectations too low, it wonâ€™t attract enough buyers but it will satisfy those who do buy. Some of the todayâ€™s most successful companies are raising expectation and delivering performances to match.
We are giving below some actual case incidents where customers derived total satisfaction due to ingenious methods adopted by the marketers.
When General Motors launched the Saturn car division, it changed the whole buyer-seller relationship with a New Deal for the car buyers. There would be fixed price (none of the traditional haggling); a 30-day guarantee or money back; and salespeople on salary, not on commission (none of the traditional hard sell) Look at what high satisfaction can do.
Jet Blue Airways, founded in New York in 1999, significantly raised customer expectations of low-fare carriers. With its brand new Airbus jets, comfy leather seats, live satellite TV, free wireless Internet access, and a consumer-friendly policy of never bumping a passenger, it has inspired lots of low-fare / high â€“service copycats. Like pioneer South west, where Jet Blueâ€™s CEO David Neeleman tried out his wings, Jet blue finds employees know how to keep customers coming back. He asks each person he hires to follow a few corporate commandments known as the Values, including safety, caring, integrity, fun, and passion. Even the CEO and the pilots get on their hands and knees to pick trash out from between seats and scrub the restrooms to prepare planes for the next trip. The pitch-in preparing keeps turnaround time down and more and more customers come to Jet Blue. The proof is in the numbers: While almost every other airline is drowning in red ink, Jet Blue is in the black. In 2003 the airline pulled in a $104 million profit on revenues of $998 million. It now carries more people from New York to Fort Lauderdale than any other airline
A customerâ€™s decision to be loyal or to defect is the sum of many small encounters with the company. Consulting firm Forum Corporation says that in order for all these small encounters to add up to customer loyalty, companies need to create a â€œbranded customer experienceâ€? Here is how San Franciscoâ€™s Joie de Vivre chain does this.
Joie de Vivre Hospitality Inc., operates a chain of boutique hotels, restaurants, and resorts in the San Francisco area. Each propertyâ€™s unique dÃ©cor, quirky amenities, and thematic style are often loosely based on popular magazines. For examples, the Hotel del Solâ€”a converted motel bearing a yellow exterior and surrounded by palm trees wrapped with festive lightsâ€”is described as â€œkind of Martha Stewart Living meets Islands magazineâ€?.
Two Silicon Valley hotels offer guests high-speed Internet connections in their rooms and by the pool. The boutique concept enables the hotels to offer personal touches such as vitamins in place of chocolates on pillows. Joie de Vivre now owns the largest number of independent hotel properties in the Bay Area.
The above marketersâ€™ innovative methods clearly indicate how the customers can be totally satisfied to come again and again back to the product manufacturers or service providers.