Customer satisfaction and loyalty

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					Business Corner
 STRATEGIES & ANALYSIS
 BY PHIL PHILLIPS
 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
 PHILLIPS@CHEMARKCONSULTING.NET




                        Customer satisfaction and loyalty
                                ver the years we have developed              If you believe that CS is absolutely relat-

                        O       experience and opinions about cus-
                                tomer satisfaction research (CSR)
                        which may be of value to you as your com-
                                                                          ed to loyalty, w h i ch in turn leads to
                                                                          increased profitability, market share, and
                                                                          growth, the value of developing an effective
                        pany deals with maintaining and growing in        program is, t h e r e f o r e, critical. Too many
                        existing as well as target customers.             times CS programs are simply “off-the-
                          We would describe customer satisfaction         shelf ” s u r v e y s, or one from another company
                        (CS) as being the degree to which there is a      the marketing department provides in order
                        match between a customer’s expectations of        to probe their attitudes about CS. This
 Delivering             a product and service combination, and the        a p p r o a ch requires little effort and is rela-
                        actual performance of that product and            tively inexpensive; the results are normally
 customer
                        service combination. With the rate of             less than satisfactory.
 satisfaction is a      change in all aspects of the coatings, paint,        E a ch company has its own set of needs
                        adhesives and sealants industries that we         and, t h e r e f o r e, should develop its own meas-
 major key to
                        are experiencing today and, in combination        urable program based on those needs and
 success in             with the competitive intensity and cus-           the needs of the customer. Only then will the
                        tomer pressures to commoditize, it is most        CS survey be useful to management and
 today’s global
                        important that companies routinely and            lead to future improvements and potential
 economy.               properly measure the level of their cus-          “expectation match e s ” between you and the
                        tomers’ satisfaction.                             customers you seek to capture, grow and
                          Despite the fact that the management of         nurture over the years.
                        our industries have discussed CS for many            Here are eight steps which should provide
                        years prior to this decade, on balance, little    a good measuring technique for the CSR
                        but “lip service” h ave been paid to the          process:
                        results primarily due to the fact that the        • Establish a process to tap into manage-
                        exact formula for creating an effective CS        ment, e m p l o y e e s, outside consultants and
                        program remains nebulous.                         industry sources for input on the dimen-
                          Companies now participate in more CSR           sions critical to your CS.
                        than ever before, in keeping with the customer    • Use this feedback to develop an ongoing
                        focus theme which is currently in “ v o g u e.”   program to identify critical CS dimensions.
                          Companies that are prospering in the new        • Work with a professional staff and develop
                        global economy recognize that measuring           phone, e-mail and mail survey instruments.
                        CS is the keystone to their success. Only by      • It’s imperative to understand the theo-
                        doing so can they retain the customers they       retical instruments of the CSS. Keep in
                        have and understand how to better attract         mind that CS survey results that simply
                        new customers. Those that will be successful      describe what was found provide no guid-
                        recognize that CS is a critical strategic         ance for developing an action plan to
                        weapon that can bring increased market            improve satisfaction.
                        share and increased profits.                      • Regularly conduct surveys and re-evaluate


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22    SEPTEMBER 2006   WWW.COATINGS WORLD.COM
                                                                                               Business Corner
                                                                             STRATEGIES & ANALYSIS


their reliability and validity.                 We may want to re-visit this topic   CHEMARK to address. C W
• From the data, develop a CS metric          in more detail later. Let us know
that combines the current level of            what topics you would like             See Chemark’s ad this month on page 65.




    “Each company has its
    own set of needs and,
       therefore, should
        develop its own
     measurable program
     based on those needs
      and the needs of the
           customer.”


satisfaction and also analyzes the
importance of the various dimen-
sions of that satisfaction.
• Employ the dimensional informa-
tion and develop an action plan for
improving each dimension and com-
municating these improvements to
c u s t o m e r s.
    IMPORTANT: Delivery of CS is not a
reality if the customer does not notice it.
• Tie the performance evaluation
and compensation of each employee
involved in the action plan to its
accomplishment. This tactic insures
that the customer’s goals match the
employees’ goals. What gets meas-
ured gets rewarded and what gets
r e warded gets done.
    Customer satisfaction understand-
ing and the ability to develop a viable
action plan to constantly improve
C S, is a direct result of how much
t i m e, effort and management priority
is placed on the process from the out-
set as well as the continued applica-
tion of these elements between for-
mal CS surveys.


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