- Written by Ronald van Haaften
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1 Research formulation
1.1 Introduction and reason for research.
Among B2B organisation there is often a disproportion between the quantity of customers and their revenue impact. As a result 80% sales frequently stem from 20% customers, so called Pareto effect. Customer loyalty of top customers (20%) is therefore the utmost important factor to create and maintain a sustainable business / market share. Creating customer loyalty means creating customer value. Value discipline is based on customer intimacy, especially for customer service orientated organisations. Hence Pareto driven organisations emphasize and leverage structural empowerment of their sales force close to their top customers. Customer intimacy and outstanding customer satisfaction for day to day business will lead to an even healthier future state of their organisation.
Any organisation has to listen to their customers (and stakeholders). A number of studies have shown that the long-term success of a corporation is closely related to its ability to create and maintain loyal and satisfied customers, adapt to customer needs and changing preferences. Customer satisfaction is a crucial goal for most organizations. In order to monitor customer satisfaction, and to take action for improving it, a number of different methods have been developed and tested. However, for the purpose of developing tangible applications for results a number of criteria have to be fulfilled in any such measurement system, not least if the ambition is to compare and benchmark.
This is the spirit in which my research initiative of customer satisfaction for B2B organisation was initiated.
1.2 Conceptual design
1.2.1 Research justification
Customer satisfaction is about the relationship between the firm and its customers, to create, build and maintain the right set of brand associations as an enabler for future business. Obviously customer satisfaction is often one of the strategic objectives of a marketing communication strategy plan.
Motivation to develop a survey tool to measure the extent of customer satisfaction is based on the EFQM Excellence Model shown in figure 1. From this model it can be seen that “Customer Results” is one of the most important drivers to obtain good performance of companies and institutions. Thus a good knowledge of the level of customer satisfaction is vital for good performance. Accurate and relevant information of customer behaviour can only be accomplished by using scientifically sound principles for measuring customer behaviour. The focus customer satisfaction research is on the “customer results” section of the model.
The practicality and applicability of the research adds knowledge for B2B organization. The research certainly will contribute in a positive manner any business development plan and quality improvement of B2B organisations and therefore will represent a considerable benefit for ambitious organizations.
Customer satisfaction is a subject that personally intrigues me as a researcher and marketer, due to its scientific deepening and pragmatic character. It is currently and relevant of the management triangulation with angles from organizational strategy, business development and marketing strategy. Obviously customer satisfaction is one of the strategic objectives of the marketing strategy plan of many international corporations.
Figure 1 Quality improvement communication model – derived from EFQM.