Can a company constantly strive to exceed customers’ expectations by providing service that “delights” or “amazes” them? Or is this just another marketing trend that really doesn’t ensure that the customer will purchase the service again? Are customers always right, or are there some who may not be profitably worth satisfying? Do customers judge service on the core offering (e.g., the plane flight) or on the supplemental “frills” (e.g., the movie and meal during the flight)? The authors point out that the concept of customer satisfaction is nothing more than good marketing, something companies should have been striving for all along. They poke holes in a number of marketing trends and suggest that, rather than embracing every new fad that comes along, managers should think creatively and choose their own paths to successful marketing.
We are especially grateful to Sidney Levy and Louis Stern for their encouraging and amused reactions to this article.