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Measuring customer satisfaction and understanding customer effort in a B2B context

Harrington, T. and Bryan, A., (2013) Measuring customer satisfaction and understanding customer effort in a B2B context. Report. Henley Centre for Customer Management

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Our members asked us to investigate a number of aspects of Customer Satisfaction measurement in a Business-to-Business (B2B) context. Specific questions were:- What are the different metrics of customer satisfaction that are measured in a BTB relationship? Which are used the most? Which are the most effective? Do they vary by type of company? Are there new ways to measure customer satisfaction that more closely reflects their customer experience? What does customer effort mean in a B2B relationship? How do we identify where we are not easy to do business with? What do we have to do differently? Our approach to the subject was to review existing literature and previous research and then to conduct an exploratory qualitative review into the subject by conducting interviews with a range of B2B companies and a sample of their customers. The purpose behind the interviews was to try to answer the above questions and to identify if there were opportunities for more in-depth research in the future. The project demonstrates that the B2B companies compile and use a customer satisfaction rating for their business-to-business relationships but that there is little commonality between companies in both the full range of questions asked and the scales used for the individual questions. All of the companies use a mixture of global and dimensional measures (see literature review in section 2). There is some scope for manipulation of the customer satisfaction process in most companies so the results have to be treated with a degree of caution. However, the companies believe that they are getting good positive and negative feedback from the process so they see significant value from it. Where the customer satisfaction rating falls below an acceptable level, which differs by company, responses are shared with the customer as part of the regular relationship meeting and a monitored action plan is the normal result. In addition, in most cases, common issues are identified at company level and considered for improvement programs. The questions about customer effort showed that companies in general consider themselves more difficult to do business with than their customers do. Analysis of both company and customer views of what was ‘easy’ and what was ‘difficult’ about the relationship identified a number of interactions that could potentially be the subject of process improvement initiatives. It appears from this research that the inclusion of customer effort questions would benefit the customer satisfaction process for B2B companies and a number of best practise approaches were identified from this and previous research.

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:82306
Publisher:Henley Centre for Customer Management


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