A new market research study of over 3600 consumers has confirmed that there are some key things that will quickly erode any trust a customer has in a company: unethical behavior, bad customer service, and outdated products and services. The bad news is that the study was conducted in Europe, which makes us wonder if U.S. companies will pay any attention.
Business Week sent a couple of its own “secret shoppers” to some Wal-Mart stores to see how their new customer service initiative was faring, and found that the employees they spoke with not only didn’t care, but really wanted customers to know this. Said one employee, “If Wal-Mart doesn’t care for me, why should I care? There was this horrible smell in the store the last two days from some overnight spill. They did nothing about it. It got so bad that on the second day the fire department came by and we all had to wear masks.”
Does higher customer satisfaction lead to better stock performance?
Have you heard of Matthieu Laurette? From 1993 to 2001, he fed and cleaned himself by buying almost only products with “Satisfied or your money back” or “Money back on first purchase” items, then filing the rebates or writing to the companies and saying he wasn’t satisfied.
Based on your suggestions, we redid The Consumerist ACSI fund mock portfolio. We changed it from 100 shares to $1000 worth of each company, rounded down to whole shares. This way the highest stocks won’t have an undue influence on the portfolio’s performance.
Indian call centers live and die by the responses to customer satisfaction surveys. Customers selected at random are called by an outside agency and asked fifteen questions. Of those, the only one that matters is “Overall how would you rate the agent you spoke with?” Based on the answers to that question, the call center receives a weekly score on a 1-5 scale. The call center aims for 50% of respondents to rate them a 5, the highest, and for 85% to rate them a 4 or higher. From our experience, that seems like an unattainably optimistic goal.
According to a recent survey, chain restaurants are failing to satisfy their customers. The survey of over 3,000 people showed across the board performance drops from last year; customer satisfaction for McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King all fell by more than 5%. KFC fell by 8.5%.
We made a mock portfolio buying 100 shares of companies scoring high on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
According to JD Power and associates survey of pharmacies, that blight on New York City, Duane Reade, placed last in the rankings of chain pharmacies. From the WSJ Health Blog:The results are based on an online survey of 6,543 U.S. consumers conducted last fall.
(Corporate hotels have little to worry about because if they foul up, Marriott will just send in a glut of extra labor to fix the problem.) So how to keep labor costs way down and keep the scores way up? Easy.
University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) increased to an overall 74.9 score out of 100 in the fourth quarter of 2006, its highest level since the survey first started in 1994. That’s a gain of almost 2 percent from the previous year and a 0.7 increase from the previous quarter.
So who is winning and who is losing?