STRATEGIES & ANALYSIS
BY PHIL PHILLIPS
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
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
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
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,
develop its own
based on those needs
and the needs of the
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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