In general, satisfaction is a person’s feelings of pleasure or disappointment that result from comparing a product’s perceived performance (or outcome) to expectations. If the performance falls short of expectations, the customer is dissatisfied. If it matches expectations, the customer is satisfied. If it exceeds expectations, the customer is highly satisfied or delighted.Customer assessments of product performance depend on many factors, especially the type of loyalty relationship the customer has with the brand. Consumers often form more favorable perceptions of a product with a brand they already feel positive about.
Although the customer-centered firm seeks to create high customer satisfaction, that is not its ultimate goal. Increasing customer satisfaction by lowering price or increasing services may result in lower profits. The company might be able to increase its profitability by means other than increased satisfaction (for example, by improving manufacturing processes or investing more in R&D). Also, the company has many stakeholders, including employees, dealers, suppliers, and stockholders. Spending more to increase customer satisfaction might divert funds from increasing the satisfaction of other “partners.” Ultimately, the company must try to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction subject to also delivering acceptable levels to other stakeholders, given its total resources.
How do buyers form their expectations? Expectations result from past buying experience, friends’ and associates’ advice, and marketers’ and competitors’ information and promises. If marketer raise expectations too high, the buyer is likely to be disappointed. If it sets expectations too low, it won’t attract enough buyers (although it will satisfy those who do buy). Some of today’s most successful companies are raising expectations and delivering performances to match. Korean automaker Kia found success in the United States by launching low-cost, high-quality cars with enough reliability to offer 10-year, 100,000 mile warranties.
KOTLER, P. & KELLER, K. 2011. Marketing Management 14th Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall.
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