RELATED maximise satisfaction. Sometimes the term customer and


to Jenet MAnyi Agbor on her
study:”The Relationship between Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality: a
study of three Service sectors in Umeå.” Those who buy the goods or services
provided by companies are customers. In other words, a customer is a
stakeholder of an organization who provides payment in exchange for the offer
provided to him by the organization with the aim of fulfilling a need and to
maximise satisfaction. Sometimes the term customer and consumer are confusing.
A customer can be a consumer, but a consumer may not necessarily be a customer.
Another author explained this difference. I.e. a customer is the person who
does the buying of the products and the consumer is the person who ultimately
consumes the product (Solomon, 2009, p. 34.)

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 When a consumer/customer is contented with
either the product or services it is termed satisfaction. Satisfaction can also
be a person’s feelings of pleasure or disappointment that results from
comparing a product’s perceived performance or outcome with their expectations
(Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 789). As a matter of fact, satisfaction could be
the pleasure derived by someone from the consumption of goods or services
offered by another person or group of people; or it can be the state of being
happy with a situation. Satisfaction varies from one person to another because
it is utility. “One man’s meal is another man’s poison,” an old adage stated
describing utility; thus highlighting the fact that it is sometimes very
difficult to satisfy everybody or to determine satisfaction among group of
individuals. Client happiness, which is a sign of customer satisfaction, is and
has always been the most essential thing for any organization.

Customer satisfaction is defined by one
author as “the consumer’s response to the evaluation of the perceived
discrepancy between prior expectations and the actual performance of the
product or service as perceived after its consumption” (Tse & Wilton, 1988,
p. 204) hence considering satisfaction as an overall post-purchase evaluation
by the consumer” (Fornell, 1992, p. 11). Some authors stated that there is no
specific definition of customer satisfaction, and after their studies of
several definitions they defined customer satisfaction as “customer
satisfaction is identified by a response (cognitive or affective) that pertains
to a particular focus (i.e. a purchase experience and/or the associated
product) and occurs at a certain time (i.e. post-purchase, post-consumption)”.
(Giese & Cote, 2000, p. 15) This definition is supported by some other
authors, who think that consumer’s level of satisfaction is determined by his
or her cumulative experience at the point of contact with the supplier
(Sureshchander et al., 2002, p. 364). It is factual that, there is no specific
definition of customer satisfaction since as the years passes, different
authors come up with different definitions. Customer satisfaction has also been
defined by another author as the extent to which a product’s perceived
performance matches a buyer’s expectations (Kotler et al., 2002, p. 8).
According to Schiffman & Karun (2004) Customer satisfaction is 7 defined as
“the individual’s perception of the performance of the products or services in
relation to his or her expectations” (Schiffman & Karun 2004, p. 14). In a
nutshell, customer satisfaction could be the pleasure obtained from consuming an
offer. Measuring customer satisfaction could be very difficult at times because
it is an attempt to measure human feelings. It was for this reason that some
existing researcher presented that “the simplest way to know how customers
feel, and what they want is to ask them” this applied to the informal measures
(Levy, 2009, p. 6; NBRI, 2009). Levy (2009, p. 6) in his studies, suggested
three ways of measuring customer satisfaction: • A survey where customer
feedback can be transformed into measurable quantitative data: • Focus group or
informal where discussions orchestrated by a trained moderator reveal what
customers think. • Informal measures like reading blocs, talking directly to
customers. Asking each and every customer is advantageous in as much as the company
will know everyone’s feelings, and disadvantageous because the company will
have to collect this information from each customer (NBRI, 2009).

The National Business Research Institute
(NBRI) suggested possible dimensions that one can use in measuring customer
satisfaction, e.g.: • quality of service • Innocently • speed of service •
pricing • complaints or problems • trust in your employees • the closeness of
the relationship with contacts in your firm • other types of services needed •
your positioning in clients’ minds There exist two conceptualizations of
customer satisfaction; transaction-specific and cumulative (Boulding, et al.,
1993; Andreassen, 2000). Following the transactionspecific, customer
satisfaction is viewed as a post-choice evaluation judgement of a specific
purchase occasion (Oliver, 1980 ) until present date, researchers have
developed a rich body of literature focusing on this antecedents and
consequences of this type of customer satisfaction at the individual level (Yi,

 Cumulative customer satisfaction is an overall
evaluation based on the total purchase and consumption experiences with a
product or service over time. (Fornell, 1992, Johnson & Fornell 1991) This
is more fundamental and useful than transaction specificity customer
satisfaction in predicting customer subsequent behaviour and firm’s past,
present and future performances. It is the cumulative customer satisfaction
that motivates a firm’s investment in customer satisfaction.


Another study by Javan Okumu,”Impotance
of Customers Satisfaction in Wasia Restaurant”, customers’ satisfaction is
measured often by determining the experiences and expectations of customers.
However, it is difficult because the products, customers’ feelings as well as
perceptions of equity have effects on satisfaction. Products and services
include some intangible features such as ambience of a store. In addition,
peoples’ moods and their feelings play a big role on how satisfied they are:
when an individual is very happy, he or she reacts positively to a product or
service (Ftizsimmons 1994: 191).

 Customers are likely to take a partial
responsibility for the outcome e.g. buying shirts online with the assumption
that it would have the same size as another model of the same brand of the
shirt. However, if the size is not the same, the consumers feel at fault. This
is as a result of equity perception or fairness effects on satisfaction:
consumers always compare themselves with other consumers in order to know if
they get what they pay for ( Zeithaml, Bitner, 2000:76, 77,). When conducting a
survey, a researcher should always be careful as the outcome might be positive
even if the customers are dissatisfied. This usually happens when some factors
are missing in the survey, example if customers are well 13 satisfied with a
hotel services, but they could not fall asleep because the hotel is located in
a noisy traffic. Since there was not any questions that was related to noisy
traffic, the customers would not mention it (Bergman, Klefsjo, 2003: 318, 319).

There are quite different methods about
measuring customer satisfaction such as: servqual, quality function deployment,
customer satisfaction index and benchmarking. According to “Zari, 2000” We so
much depend on customers because they are very vital in what we do. Customers
should not be seen as problematic. Enterprises should try to retain customers
so that the future and security of the enterprise will not be jeopardized.
Customer satisfaction is an overall attitude towards a product or an
organization that provides services or customer’s reaction towards the
difference between customer’s expectation and what is received concerning the
satisfaction of needs, desires or goal.(Hansemark, Albinson, 2004) In addition,
customer loyalty is achieved when an organization satisfy the needs of the
customers so that they would continue to patronize or increase their purchases
from the organization (Anderson, Jacob, 2000).

According to Oliver (1997), Customer
loyalty is defined as the deeply held commitment a customer is involved in that
makes him come back to purchase goods and services continuously even if there
are situational influence in the future date. (Oliver 1997) Customer
satisfaction can be associated with the feelings of acceptance, excitement,
happiness, relief and delight (Hoyer, Maclnnis, 2001). According to Hokanson
(1995), the factors that affect customer satisfaction are courteous employees,
friendly employees, billing timeliness, helpful employees, knowledgeable
employees, billing clarity and service quality, good value, service 18 quality,
accuracy in billing, competitive pricing, good value, quick service and billing
clarity Hokanson (1995).










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