Customer Satisfaction and Its Antecedents

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Every organization strives to meet the expectations of its customers consistently and efficiently (Anonymous 2010). This has led to the transformation of marketing culture from a point where businesses focused on receiving, executing, and reviewing orders to a culture that focuses on consumer satisfaction. Companies are increasingly concentrating on devising mechanisms that aim at resolving customers’ complaints and discomforts hence promoting consumer satisfaction.

Presently, small businesses, as well as multi-billion organizations, invest a considerable amount of resources in studying, measuring, assessing, and analyzing consumer satisfaction (Anonymous 2010). This plays an important role in the organization by improving their competitive advantage through consumer satisfaction in the products and also improves efficiency by significantly reducing time and resources that are utilized during marketing.

Consumer satisfaction is determined by perceived quality judgments which stem from the cognitive theory (Zabkar 2007). Perceived quality relates to the consumer’s evaluation and appraisal of various variables regarding the product in question which in turn determines the level of satisfaction derived from that product (Zabkar 2007). Quality judgments by consumers involve the evaluation of specific cues and attributes associated with a particular product consequently affecting their conceptualization of the same.

In application of Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory, customers may attempt to eliminate any existing dissonance experiences which refer basically to situations where the customer fails to derive intended satisfaction from a product. The theory further predicts that if a customer is served below his expectations in a particular organization, upon psychological investment in product and services, the consumers would engage in mental processes intended to diminish the discrepancy (Vavra 1997). This would consequently prompt organizations to positively adjust their performance in order to attempt to change consumers’ perception of the same.

The customer perceived value refers to the difference prevalent between the total perceived benefits and the total perceived sacrifice of the consumer (Lin 2003). Customers prefer to buy from companies that offer the ideal perceived consumer value to meet their demands and solve their numerous pressures (Lin 2003). regardless of a prospectively strong affiliation existing between apparent value and customer satisfaction, the incorporation of the perceptions have been somewhat up to date and so its imperative for firms to dwell on consumer assessment progression to gain deliberate insights into consumer assessment progression in terms of preferred and obtained value (Ellen 2002 ).

Companies should not only be focused on achieving competitive success and maximizing shareholders but should also aim at building social considerations and consumer wants satisfaction based on consumer perceived value (Lin 2003). Marketing involves the process of meeting consumer needs profitably. Marketing deals with identifying and satisfying consumer needs with an aim of increasing sales. Satisfaction is derived from the performance of an organization relative to consumer expectations. Consumers are more concerned with price increases in a product, the safety of the product well as their familiarity with the product (Lin 2003).

The concept of value is of central importance in determining a consumer’s level of satisfaction. Although research has revealed a potential causal link between value and consumer dissatisfaction, complexities existing in this relationship remain blurry (Ellen 2002). The premeditated role of value is more asserted by the debate that satisfaction and value are intertwined and both impact on shopper’s eventual decision not forgetting the satisfaction level (Ellen 2002). It is important for organizations to establish the consumer perception of value and use that to their advantage in the marketing strategy.

Consumer expectations are heavily determined by past experience with a particular product which consequently shapes their attitudes towards the product. Propensity of items to fall beyond the shopper’s level of expectation weakens the level of satisfaction draw from these goods. This is further confirmed by a two step model of satisfaction derivation which stems from the hypothesis testing theory. Consumers are highly influenced by pre purchase information which creates expectations for consumers who in turn use their experience with such products to test the expectations of the same. Further, the theory suggests that consumers display elements of biasness towards positively confirming their product experiences (Vavra 1997).

The negativity theory developed by Carlsmith and Aronson proposes that any discrepancy performance from the consumer’s expectations will adversely affect the consumer consequently eliciting negative energy which negatively affects the consumer’s feeling towards the product (Vavra 1997). Companies therefore aim at achieving levels of efficiency in service delivery that exceeds the customer satisfaction levels (Anonymous n d). In order to achieve this end, companies must establish the customer’s level of expectation which often ranges from the company’s promises in the marketing strategy as will as the existing standards in the market (Anonymous n d).

While perceived quality refers to the consumer’s long term cognitive evaluation of a company’s service delivery, consumer satisfaction is a short term emotional reaction to specific service performance being rendered by an organization to consumers (Zabkar 2007). Evident from the study, consumer satisfaction is heavily dependent on consumer expectations as well as their perceived value of the product. It is therefore important for companies to promote consumer satisfaction by ensuring that they enhance these elements among the customers and will consequently achieve remarkable progress in business.

References

Anonymous. 2010. Customer focus: ISO 9001:2008 measurement of customer satisfaction, BTA plus. Web.

Anonymous, not dated. Why is exceeding customer expectation important, customer satisfaction and reputation management. Web.

Ellen, D. 2002. Role of value in consumer satisfaction, journal of consumers’ satisfaction, dissatisfaction and complaining behavior, CBS interactive. Web.

Lin, C. C. 2003. The role of customer perceived value in generating customer satisfaction; an e business perspective, journal of research in marketing and entrepreneurship. Web.

Vavra, G.T. 1997. Improving your measurement of consumer satisfaction: A guide to creating, conducting, analyzing, and reporting customer satisfaction measurement program, American society for Quality.

Zabkar, V. 2007. Understanding perceived service quality and customer satisfaction, MTC. Web.

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