Standards and classical techniques in data analysis of customer satisfaction surveys

Silvia Salini and Ron S. Kenett

Customer satisfaction studies are concerned with the level of satisfaction of customers, consumers and users with a product or service. Customer satisfaction is defined as ‘The degree of satisfaction provided by the goods or services of a company as measured by the number of repeat customers’ (www.businessdictionary.com). Customer satisfaction therefore seems to be an objective and easily measured quantity. However, unlike variables such as revenues, type of product purchased or customer geographical location, customer satisfaction is not necessarily observed directly. Typically, in a social science context, analysis of such measures is done indirectly by employing proxy variables. Unobserved variables are referred to as latent variables, whilst proxy variables are known as observed variables. In many cases, the latent variables are very complex and the choice of suitable proxy variables is not immediately obvious. For example, in order to assess customer satisfaction with an airline service, it is necessary to identify attributes that characterize this type of service. A general framework for assessing airlines includes attributes such as on-board service, timeliness, responsiveness of personnel, seating and other tangible service characteristics. In general, some attributes are objective, related to the service's technical characteristics, and others are subjective, ...

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