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While customer satisfaction (CSAT) generally improved between 2009 and 2011, it stayed flat in 2012, probably because companies are focusing less on immediate cost-cutting and more on the long-term than they did during the recession.
It’s worth noting that brokerage, banks and health providers showed a moderate upward trend, while auto insurance, retail, hotels, mobile phone/telcos, Internet, pay TV and the US Postal Service all showed a moderate downward trend, the latter probably due to a combination of price increases and rising customer expectations across all industries.
The data show that brand and service are most important to customers, followed by price and products, and that older customers are more sensitive to their experience than younger ones.
Customer satisfaction is strongly correlated with variance at the industry, company and individual level. On a scale of 1 to 10, brokerage firms and auto insurance firms did best, scoring 8.59 and 8.52 respectively while Internet and Pay TV firms ranked worst (7.66 and 7.55), sliding below their score from the previous year.
Companies that have a close and personal connection with customers relative to their competitors do better. (This may explain why credit unions rate comparatively highly in the banking industry and why small banks outperform large banks).
What came through clearly in the survey was the importance of a consistent experience. With the number of touchpoints a customer has with a brand increasing with the proliferation of technologies and channels, the need to create a consistent experience is critically important.