Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Customer Satisfaction Grid

This is a follow on blog to my previous blog. The source of the information for these two blogs is an article written by Earl Newmann and Donald W. Jackson, Jr. and published in Business Horizons. The previous blog discussed what they describe as the two-factor theory of customer satisfaction. In that previous blog I also discussed their logic and description of the two factors; namely hygiene and satisfiers.

In this blog I will discuss how the authors combine these factors into what they describe as a customer satisfaction grid. They further discuss how the grid can be used in the pre-sale, transaction and post-sale aspects of business.

The customer satisfaction grid shows the satisfiers on the x-axis and the hygiene attributes on the y-axis. The four segments of the grid are:

1. The lower left segment identifies company performance that doesn't meet the performance requirements of hygiene and also ignores the performance of those attributes that contribute to customer satisfaction. When customers are exposed to this level of performance in this segment of the grid these customers are strong candidates to seek a new vendor.

2. Firms that operate in the upper left segment of the grid have a much greater chance of holding onto their customers than those in the lower left. Unfortunately they are not performing well with the satisfiers. A restaurant which serves good food but has poor service and little atmosphere is definitely vulnerable to competition that provides some of the satisfiers for good service or an inviting atmosphere.

3. There are companies that operate in the lower right segment of the grid. These companies see the satisfiers as the way to build satisfied and loyal customers. These companies chose to focus their resources on the satisfiers while ignoring the hygiene factors. Their problem is they are ignoring the hygiene factors that significantly add to the value of the products and/or services. A movie theater that always brings in the latest and greatest films into a posh viewing area but does not clean their restrooms would be an excellent example of a company with a focus on the satisfiers but not the hygiene factor.

4. The upper right segment is where companies should be heading. This is where the industry leaders are located. These companies have figured out how to effectively meet the requirements for the hygiene factors and simultaneously provide a high level of performance for the satisfiers.

These two concepts (hygiene and satisfiers) are at play throughout the customer life cycle. The hygiene factors and satisfiers will change as customers go through the pre-sale phase, enter the acquisition phase and move into the post-sale phase. The companies who strive to get into the upper right segment and stay there will identify the hygiene and satisfiers in each of the life-cycle phases knowing that they change during the life cycle.

The bottom line is that this model is comparable to a number of others on the market. One of its values is that it offers a simple way of separating satisfiers and dissatisfiers by using the term hygiene components to explain the dissatisfiers. The key value of this paper is that it clearly points out that hygiene factors must be present before satisfiers have a significant effect on the customers.


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