Customer Satisfaction Declines

Customer Satisfaction Declines

An annual economy-wide rating of customer satisfaction confirms a continuation of a three-year decline in how satisfied people are with the goods and services they buy. The data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) helps explain why consumers don`t feel better off even though the nation`s economy is strong, according to Claes Fornell, University of Michigan Business School economist.

Although the latest data show the Index to be stabilizing, the ACSI is at its second-lowest level since measuring customer satisfaction on a national scale, down nearly 5 percent since November 1994 when customer satisfaction was at 74.5 percent. This year`s decline was limited to 1.5 percent by a significant improvement in satisfaction with government services. Utilities, though, show the greatest decline of the sectors studied (see table).

“Low customer satisfaction does not bode well for corporate earnings in the long term,” Jack West, American Society for Quality (ASQ) director-at-large, said. “We may have reached a point where further increases in earnings will have to come from more revenue–not from more cost cutting. If customer satisfaction does not improve, the revenue from repeat business will be hard to come by.”

The ACSI is co-sponsored by ASQ and the University of Michigan Business School and is partially supported by corporate sponsors.

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