Home > Articles > Business & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

2.8 Customer Satisfaction and Willingness to Recommend

Figure 2.3

Figure 2.3 Ratings

Within organizations, customer satisfaction ratings can have powerful effects. They focus employees on the importance of fulfilling customers’ expectations. Furthermore, when these ratings dip, they warn of problems that can affect sales and profitability.

A second important metric related to satisfaction is willingness to recommend. When a customer is satisfied with a product, he or she might recommend it to friends, relatives, and colleagues. This can be a powerful marketing advantage.

Purpose: Customer satisfaction provides a leading indicator of consumer purchase intentions and loyalty.

Customer satisfaction data are among the most frequently collected indicators of market perceptions. Their principal use is twofold.

  1. Within organizations, the collection, analysis, and dissemination of these data send a message about the importance of tending to customers and ensuring that they have a positive experience with the company's goods and services.
  2. Although sales or market share can indicate how well a firm is performing currently, satisfaction is perhaps the best indicator of how likely it is that the firm's customers will make further purchases in the future. Much research has focused on the relationship between customer satisfaction and retention. Studies indicate that the ramifications of satisfaction are most strongly realized at the extremes. On the scale in Figure 2.3, individuals who rate their satisfaction level as "5" are likely to become return customers and might even evangelize for the firm. Individuals who rate their satisfaction level as "1," by contrast, are unlikely to return. Further, they can hurt the firm by making negative comments about it to prospective customers. Willingness to recommend is a key metric relating to customer satisfaction.

Construction

    Customer Satisfaction: The number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its services (ratings) exceeds specified satisfaction goals.

    Willingness to Recommend: The percentage of surveyed customers who indicate that they would recommend a brand to friends.

These metrics quantify an important dynamic. When a brand has loyal customers, it gains positive word-of-mouth marketing, which is both free and highly effective.

Customer satisfaction is measured at the individual level, but it is almost always reported at an aggregate level. It can be, and often is, measured along various dimensions. A hotel, for example, might ask customers to rate their experience with its front desk and check-in service, with the room, with the amenities in the room, with the restaurants, and so on. Additionally, in a holistic sense, the hotel might ask about overall satisfaction "with your stay."

Customer satisfaction is generally measured on a five-point scale (see Figure 2.4).

Figure 2.4

Figure 2.4 A Typical Five-Point Scale

Satisfaction levels are usually reported as either "top box" or, more likely, "top two boxes." Marketers convert these expressions into single numbers that show the percentage of respondents who checked either a "4" or a "5." (This term is the same as that commonly used in projections of trial volumes; see Section 4.1.)

Example: The general manager of a hotel in Quebec institutes a new system of customer satisfaction monitoring (see Figure 2.5). She leaves satisfaction surveys at checkout. As an incentive to respond, all respondents are entered into a drawing for a pair of free airline tickets.

Figure 2.5

Figure 2.5 Hotel Customer Survey Response

The manager collects 220 responses, of which 20 are unclear or otherwise unusable. Among the remaining 200, 3 people rate their overall experience at the hotel as very unsatisfactory, 7 deem it somewhat unsatisfactory, and 40 respond that they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Of the remainder, 50 customers say they are very satisfied, while the rest are somewhat satisfied.

The top box, comprising customers who rate their experience a "5," includes 50 people or, as a percentage, 50/200 5 25%. The top two boxes comprise customers who are "somewhat" or "very" satisfied, rating their experience a "4" or "5." In this example, the "somewhat satisfied" population must be calculated as the total usable response pool, less customers accounted for elsewhere, that is, 200 2 3 2 7 2 40 2 50 = 100. The sum of the top two boxes is thus 50 1 100 5 150 customers, or 75% of the total.

Customer satisfaction data can also be collected on a 10-point scale. Regardless of the scale used, the objective is to measure customers' perceived satisfaction with their experience of a firm's offerings. Marketers then aggregate these data into a percentage of top-box responses.

In researching satisfaction, firms generally ask customers whether their product or service has met or exceeded expectations. Thus, expectations are a key factor behind satisfaction. When customers have high expectations and the reality falls short, they will be disappointed and will likely rate their experience as less than satisfying. For this reason, a luxury resort, for example, might receive a lower satisfaction rating than a budget motel––even though its facilities and service would be deemed superior in "absolute" terms.

Data Sources, Complications, and Cautions

Surveys constitute the most frequently used means of collecting satisfaction data. As a result, a key risk of distortion in measures of satisfaction can be summarized in a single question: Who responds to surveys?

"Response bias" is endemic in satisfaction data. Disappointed or angry customers often welcome a means to vent their opinions. Contented customers often do not. Consequently, although many customers might be happy with a product and feel no need to complete a survey, the few who had a bad experience might be disproportionately represented among respondents. Most hotels, for example, place response cards in their rooms, asking guests, "How was your stay?' Only a small percentage of guests ever bother to complete those cards. Not surprisingly, those who do respond probably had a bad experience. For this reason, marketers can find it difficult to judge the true level of customer satisfaction. By reviewing survey data over time, however, they may discover important trends or changes. If complaints suddenly rise, for example, that may constitute early warning of a decline in quality or service. (See number of complaints in the following section.)

Sample selection may distort satisfaction ratings in other ways as well. Because only customers are surveyed for customer satisfaction, a firm's ratings may rise artificially as deeply dissatisfied customers take their business elsewhere. Also, some populations may be more frank than others, or more prone to complain. These normative differences can affect perceived satisfaction levels. In analyzing satisfaction data, a firm might interpret rating differences as a sign that one market is receiving better service than another, when the true difference lies only in the standards that customers apply. To correct for this issue, marketers are advised to review satisfaction measures over time within the same market.

A final caution: Because many firms define customer satisfaction as "meeting or exceeding expectations," this metric may fall simply because expectations have risen. Thus, in interpreting ratings data, managers may come to believe that the quality of their offering has declined when that is not the case. Of course, the reverse is also true. A firm might boost satisfaction by lowering expectations. In so doing, however, it might suffer a decline in sales as its product or service comes to appear unattractive.

Related Metrics and Concepts

    Trade Satisfaction: Founded upon the same principles as consumer satisfaction, trade satisfaction measures the attitudes of trade customers.

    Number of Complaints: The number of complaints lodged by customers in a given time period.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020