Although researchers have concentrated on various measures of customer satisfaction (CS) and the relationship of CS to firm performance, they have done little to determine what constitutes the best practices of firms focusing on CS as a corporate strategy. These authors report the results of their investigation into the best practices of four manufacturing firms with reputations for delivering high levels of customer satisfaction. They found that, although the firms developed a CS strategy for different reasons, each had similar characteristics that enabled them to concentrate on satisfying the customer. While the firms generally outperformed the average firm in their industry in profits and asset utilization after adopting a customer satisfaction strategy, they were not as successful in increasing market share; nor has the market valued them as highly as it has valued others in their industry. Finally, the authors suggest ways companies can improve their customer satisfaction measures and practices.
The authors wish to thank Arthur Andersen & Co. for financial support in gathering the data. Abbie Griffin also gratefully acknowledges support from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.