The discussion of Customer satisfaction and its associated metrics
本文是澳洲悉尼科技大学的一篇论文，里面要求学生对customer satisfaction进行分析和讨论，作为marketing中的核心，customer一直都需要被关注，customer服务好了，满意了，才有市场。本文从customer satisfaction入手，分析了产品的价值（product of value），客户期望（customer expectation）如何通过对产品价值的认知达到最终的客户的满意。
Marketing metrics are important for both scholars and practitioners to evaluate the marketing performance. And among the marketing metrics, customer satisfaction gained increasing attention from business studies to evaluate the customer’s attitudes towards the product. In order to have a better understanding of the customer satisfaction and its metrics, a detailed introduction was provided by making a discussion of the three metrics of customer expectations, perceived value and the recommendation intention together with a personal experience. And based on the definition of customer satisfaction, approaches of increasing the customers’ perceived value and decreasing the customer expectations can be used for marketers to improve the customer satisfaction. In the end, some recommendations of applying the psychological elements into increasing the perceived value are provided.
Table of contents
- Introduction 2
- Marketing metrics 3
- Customer satisfaction and associated metrics 4
3.1 Definition of customer satisfaction 4
3.2 Three associated metrics 4
- Why customer satisfaction and associated metrics are important 5
- Personal experience on customer satisfaction 6
5.1 Description of the personal experience 6
5.2 Further analysis 6
Customer expectations 7
Perceived value of the product 7
Customer recommendation retention 7
5.3 Implications 8
- Recommendations 8
- Conclusion 9
In recent years, both the academic scholars and business practitioners have shown an increasing interest in the study of marketing metrics with the purpose of evaluating the marketing strategy and the way it performs within a company. Among the marketing metrics, customer satisfaction has gained an increasing attention and is commonly used as a measurement for the marketing performance by the marketers in the business studies, as it is easily to communicate with the managers and clearly understood by the respondents. In the following, a focus on the customer satisfaction and its associated metrics will be discussed by providing the specifically personal experience. In addition, before the discussion of the customer satisfaction and its associated metrics, the introduction of marketing metrics and its use will be provided. In the end, some recommendations based on the discussion of customer satisfaction metrics and the specific personal experience will be given.
- Marketing metrics
Marketing metrics refer to the quantitative measurements for measuring both the internal and external marketing and marketing position with a close linkage with the short term and long term financial performance (Seggie, Cavusgil & Phelan 2007). The commonly used marketing metrics include the market share, perceived product or service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty, segment profitability and so on. From the perspective of the top managerial, the marketing metric are used to act as a role to evaluate the return on marketing investment. However, in the perspective of academics, there are five theoretical reasons of why marketing metrics got increasing attention from scholars.
First of all, the control theory suggested that a combination of unexpected events including both the good and the bad will cause both the better and worse outcomes under the function of stronger or weaker executions. Therefore, in this context, the marketing metrics were used to evaluate the past performance as well as improve the future strategy (Ambler 2002). Then, the second theory is agency theory, which referred to that with a structural contract between the principal and agent, the objectives of the principal had to be satisfied by the agent. In this context, the marketing metrics mean the objectives needed to be met and the both sides of the contract usually refer to the shareholder and corporate management (Ambler 2002). When it comes to the third theoretical perspective, it is developed with the increasing recognition of brand equity got among the scholars. Therefore, the marketing metrics were used to evaluate the various dimensions of brand equity (Ambler 2002). Then with the focus shifting to market orientation development, the marketing metrics were used to identify the market sensing. Finally, the top managerial come to realize that the necessary quantitative measurements for evaluating the financial performance are necessary. Then, at this perspective, the marketing metrics were used to evaluate the return on marketing investment in financial way (Ambler 2002).
- Customer satisfaction and associated metrics
3.1 Definition of customer satisfaction
As one of the marketing metrics, customer satisfaction gained increasing attention from the business studies in recent years. And in order to increase the consumer loyalty towards the brands, it is necessary to get customer satisfaction first. Then according to Gok (2009), customer satisfaction was defined as the gap between the customers’ expectations and the perceived values towards some specific product or service. However, customer satisfaction cannot be directly evaluated or calculated. Instead, it is influenced by some associated metrics. Therefore, for marketers and practitioners, getting a clear understanding of the associated metrics with customer satisfaction is essential for them to make the tailored measures to improve the customers’ satisfaction. In the following, three metrics associated with customer satisfaction will be given a detailed introduction.
3.2 Three associated metrics
The first metric associated with customer satisfaction is customer expectations. As is illustrated above, the customer satisfaction refers to the gap between the customer expectations and his perceived product value, customer expectation plays a critical role in determining the outcome of whether the customer is satisfied or not towards the product (Ivanov, Joseph & Wintoki 2013). This metric may be influenced by some external factors, like the advertisements. Besides, the internal physiological factor also has an effect on the customer’s expectation towards the product. For example, when the customer learned a product from his friends or some other information source, his imagination imposed onto the actual performance will raise the customer’s expectations. The second metric is the perceived value of the product. In other words, it refers to how the customer assesses the utility or value of the product when he or she has utilized it personally. This metrics will be influenced by many factors such as the consumers’ preference, the price of the product, the monetary cost and the characteristics of the customer (Keiningham et al. 2007). The third one is customer recommendation intention. This metric plays a critical role in evaluating whether the customer is satisfied with the product after he has purchased it. In other words, if the customers would like to recommend the product to others, then it implies he is satisfied with the product at least (Keiningham et al. 2007).
- Why customer satisfaction and associated metrics are important
As is illustrated above, customer satisfaction plays a critical role in evaluating customers’ attitudes towards the product’s performance. Moreover, customer attitudes will have a significant effect on the customers’ behaviors. Therefore, in order to improve customer’s loyalty towards the product and increase the frequency of the retention for some specific products, it is essential to make customers satisfied first. Accordingly it becomes increasingly important for marketers to put an emphasis on how to improve the customer satisfaction (Ling-Yee 2011). In the following, some reasons will be given for why the three metrics of customer expectation, perceived product value and recommendation intention are chosen in this report.
First of all, as is indicated from the above definition of the customer satisfaction, the final outcome of customer satisfaction relies on the two determining elements, which are the customer expectation and the customer perceived value. Therefore, among the metrics associated with customer satisfaction, customer expectation and customer perceived value are the two metrics which need marketers to pay more attention on. Moreover, if marketers get to know that customer satisfaction was determined by the customer expectation and customer perceived product value, then, the tailored measures of raising the perceived product value in customer’s mind and decreasing the customer’s expectations can be taken to improve the customer satisfaction (Ling-Yee 2011). For example, when marketers got to know that customers showed a low score of satisfaction towards its products from the marketing research, it is essential for him to conduct a further research of which factor exactly drags the final satisfaction level for customers.
In addition, as the metric of evaluating the final outcome of customer satisfaction toward the product and assessing the extent of loyalty of customers to the products, the recommendation intention also helps marketers to get a better understanding of the customer attitudes (Barwise & Farley 2004). Therefore, the question like whether or not the customers will recommend the product to others can be used to get an understanding of the overall attitude of customers towards the product. And once the consumers are satisfied with the product, he or she is more likely to conduct the repurchase behavior. After the several strengthening of the purchase and satisfaction towards the product, the behavior of recommending to other relatives or friends may be achieved.
- Personal experience on customer satisfaction
5.1 Description of the personal experience
In the following, a personal experience of my own related to the development of customer satisfaction towards Apple will be provided. Before the release of the Apple product, the public advertisements for its products make me trigger a high expectation naturally in my mind. Then after the iPhone was officially released by Apple, under the motivation of strong desire to own one, the final purchase behavior of mine for iphone was conducted. During the period of the utilization of iphone, I experienced the excellent functional performance and its customized service, the perceived value of iPhone in my perception was raised. Finally, the perceived value of iPhone exceeded my initial expectation towards it. Accordingly, the product of iPhone made me satisfied. With the attitude of satisfaction towards the Apple brand, the purchase for its other products like the iPad was achieved by mine. Every time, the purchase made me satisfied, I gradually developed the brand loyalty towards Apple, which made me upgrade my products once whey released the latest version of the product. In addition, the satisfaction and loyalty towards Apple brand makes me conduct a word of mouth for it. Naturally, I recommend to my friends and relatives many times.
In the following, a further analysis will be conducted on the aspects of the three associated metrics, respectively.
First of all, it is natural that before the behavior of purchase for customers, the expectation for the product which is to be bought will be formed in the consumer’s mind. For this personal experience of my own, my expectation for the iphone was formed through the stimulation of the advertisements in different communication channels. Accordingly, I will think that the function and design of the iphone will be like what I was told by the communication campaign. Undoubtedly, with the stimulation of the communication channels for many times, the expected value for the iphone will be relatively high in my mind. At least, I will think that it has more absolute advantages on some aspects than other similar cell phones.
Perceived value of the product
Finally, with the stimulation of the communication campaigns for iphone, I carried out the purchase behavior of iphone. Then with the utilization of the iphone for a long time, I gradually got familiar with its functions. Admittedly, the functions of the iphone is consistent with what is has introduced in its communication campaign and release meeting. On the basis of the functions and design being consistent with what it has been introduced by Apple, I formed a relative high value for the product, which is called the perceived value of the product. Moreover, the iphone usually brought me some unexpected surprise when comparing with my friends’ cell phones. Gradually, the perceived value of the iphone was higher than my initial expectation for it.
Customer recommendation retention
On the basis of the perceived value for iphone being higher than my initial expectations for it, I am satisfied with it. Naturally, I want to share my pleasure got from the utilization of iphone to my friends and relatives. And the final outcome of the share process is to recommend the product of iphone to my friends and relatives, as I want to make them get pleasure from the utilization of the high performance product as well. Actually, this recommendation behavior is due to the customer satisfaction for the iphone. If I am not satisfied with the iphone, the recommendation will not happen. On another aspect, only the higher satisfaction got from the utilization of iphone will I recommend it to my friends.
According to the above illustration of the personal experience of purchasing Apple product by making use of the three metrics associated with customer satisfaction, some implications can be got. First of all, if marketers want to raise the customer satisfaction towards its product, undoubtedly the principle is to increase the perceived value and decrease he customer expectation at the same time. Then it requires that in the former marketing campaign before the release of the product, the rational approaches which met the actual products conditions will be needed. As customers are easy to be influenced by the external stimulus, the marketing campaign like advertisement exaggerating its performance will increase customers’ expectation towards the products. The ideal way is that the campaign for introducing the product performance is a bit lower than the actual value of the products. If the introduction of the product performance in the former campaign was deliberately lowered by the marketers, it will be difficult to attract the enough attention from the customers.
On the basis of the above analysis of the three metrics associated with customer satisfaction together with the personal experience, some recommendations for marketers to improve the customer satisfaction will be provided. For example, some physiological approaches can be used by the marketers to influence the perceived value in the consumer’s mind. In addition, the former marketing campaign of the product needs to be rational in terms of the actual performance of the product. Moreover, as is indicated from the above analysis, the perceived value is also influenced by some other factors like the price, consumer’s characteristic and monetary cost. Then some approaches like providing the customized service for free delivery can be made. This approach aimed at decreasing the monetary cost of customers and increasing the perceived value of the product accordingly in the consumers’ mind. On the price aspect, some tactics can be made for marketers to win the perceived value from customers. For example, if the price of the product was planned to set as 100 dollars, then it is better for marketers to change the price as 99.9 dollars. This approach will make customers consider that the price is desirable in the physiological way.
As is discussed above, the three metrics associated with customer expectations, perceived value and recommendation intention are essential for determining and evaluating the customer satisfaction and its final outcome. After the further analysis and discussion, if marketers want to improve the customer satisfaction, then, the approaches like decreasing the customer expectation and increasing the perceived value can be used. For the approach of decreasing the customer expectations, the rational marketing campaigns are needed for before the release of the products. For the approach of increasing the perceived value of in consumer’s mind, some recommendations are provided by applying psychological elements into the pricing strategy and customized service.
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