Two years ago, Company X purchased an electronics company and moved into the printer, copier, and electronic imaging industry. This acquisition put Company X into direct competition with other members of the Personal Computer industry including Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Although these firms offer a wide array of products, they compete directly with Company X in terms of printers and electronic imaging. The acquisition of the electronics company has also resulted in an alarming increase in the number of customer complaints received. Company X must determine the significance of the complaint volume as it relates to industry standards, how those the standards of the Personal Computer industry relate to other industries, and who within the organization should address the issue.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index rates the performance of 200 companies in 45 industries on a 100 point scale. The ACSI uses customer interviews as input into an equation developed by the University of Michigan. In 2008, the ACSI score for the Personal Computer industry was 74. Only Apple and Dell received scores higher than this. Smaller companies that are not one of the 200 companies calculated are lumped together. These companies received a score of 72 for 2008. In order to compare Company X to the rest of the industry, a customer satisfaction score must be generated. The formula used by ACSI is proprietary, but the organization will produce a report for any company at the cost of $50,000 (American Customer Satisfaction Index, n.d.).
Of the 45 industries ranked in 2008 by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the Personal Computer industry ranked 31st. The good news for Company X is that, other than Apple, the Personal Computer industry as a whole is dealing with an abundance of dissatisfied customers (ACSI, n.d.). This means that Company X does not need to worry about an immediate defection of customers to its competitors, and it can therefore take the time to properly initiate the changes necessary to positively influence customer satisfaction.
In order to improve customer satisfaction, someone within the organization must be tasked with the project. The employees that interact directly with customers have the ability to make the largest impact on an individual customer experience. Unfortunately, these employees do not have the ability to company-wide change in customer handling, nor do they have the ability to measure the outcome of customer interaction on a company-wide scale. The implementation of a customer satisfaction measurement system must come either from the top of the customer service organization or even further up the operations ladder. This system must measure customer satisfaction and retention and also provide details regarding the number of customer complaints and product defects (Collier & Evans, 2009). With that information, management can work to change the processes that are creating the customer complaints.
American Customer Satisfaction Index. (n.d.). American Customer Satisfaction Index. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
Collier, D. A., & Evans, J. R. (2009). OM 2008 edition. Mason, OH: South-Western.