According to marketing theory, there is a positive relationship between customer satisfaction and the financial performance of a company (National Business Research Institute, 2016), since more satisfied consumers tend to be more loyal to the brand and acquire it more frequently compared to the competition. (Kotler & Armstrong, 2006) (Smith, 2012).
Several authors, taking as a basis recognized consumer satisfaction indexes such as the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and the STIGA Index of Costa Rica Phone Number List Spanish Consumer Satisfaction (ISSCE), seem to demonstrate the opposite of theory.
Eric Chemi (2013) stated that customer service scores are not relevant to the profitability of companies in the American stock market and that the “most hated” companies, that is, those that scored the worst in the ACSI index, perform better. financially than its competitors.
Timothy Keiningham et al (2014) showed that customer satisfaction explains only 1% of the variations in the financial performance of organizations and that the relationship between customer satisfaction and their spending behavior is very weak.
In fact, it appears that the indices are not only not good predictors, but they are highly susceptible to external factors when applied. Carlos Calderón (2012) discovered that there can be up to a 25% difference between customer satisfaction ratings depending on external factors such as the day of the week the survey is conducted or if the interviewee’s team lost or won in the league. .
Despite the above, customer satisfaction is important. A dissatisfied customer, unless the market is a monopoly, is very likely to become one less customer for the company (Kotler & Armstrong, 2006), and even worse, a detractor of the brand, thus directly and indirectly affecting the performance of it. According to José María Sainz (2013), a dissatisfied consumer will reveal his dissatisfaction to 10 to 16 people in his environment.
This contradiction between the theory and the different findings cited does not mean that customer satisfaction is not important for organizations; it means that there is a flaw in how to understand and measure what a satisfied customer is.
In an investigation carried out by Federick Reichheld (2013) with colleagues from Bain & Company, a 20-question questionnaire was designed whose objective was to measure the correlation between the different types of questions that assess customer satisfaction and the actual behavior of consumers. in terms of re-purchase and recommendations. In other words, they sought to discover which question (s) about customer satisfaction helped explain business performance.
The research was applied to more than 4,000 consumers and concluded that only one question manages to significantly correlate customer satisfaction with the performance of a company in terms of growth: “Would you recommend this product or service?”
What Reichheld was able to verify was that for a company a satisfied customer is one who manages to be enthusiastic or pleased enough to recommend or promote its products and / or brand, and that at the same time this action is crucial for the growth of the organization ( Reichheld, 2013). This indicator is measured on a scale of 1 to 10 and is known as the net-promoter score (NPS).
Now, Reichheld and his team fell short in understanding customer satisfaction as an absolute indicator. In their research they did not take into account the relative preference that customers show towards the brands they use (Keiningham, Gupta, Aksoy, & Buoye, 2014) and that is essential to understand their satisfaction. To exemplify the above, it is of little use for a company to have a consumer base that, on average, evaluate a brand A with an NPS with 9/10, if these same consumers evaluate the competition, brand B, with 10/10.
Customer satisfaction therefore depends on the perceived value delivered by the product or service compared to consumer expectations (Kotler & Armstrong, 2006) and the competition (Keiningham, Gupta, Aksoy, & Buoye, 2014). In other words, if the perceived value of a product or service does not meet the value expectations that the consumer expected, or is believed to deliver a lower value than that of a substitute product, the customer will not feel satisfied. Therefore, customer satisfaction is relative.