Customer satisfaction measurement in a business-to-business context: a conceptual framework Jeanne Rossomme
Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration, University of Miami, Florida, USA
Keywords Customer satisfaction, Business-to-business marketing, Industrial marketing, Relationship marketing, Organizational behaviour, Market research Abstract In practice, firms measure customer satisfaction using models and theory developed for evaluating the perceptions of individual consumers rather than entire organizations. This paper develops an integrated model of customer satisfaction measurement specific to a business-to-business context and addresses the unique challenges inherent in this context by incorporating learnings from the fields of customer satisfaction, organizational buying behavior and relationship marketing. After presenting the model and its rationale, the paper illustrates practical uses of the model as a managerial tool for framing a system of customer satisfaction measurement.
Introduction Customer satisfaction measurement (CSM) is the principal tool by which marketers assess the health of their relationships with their customers. Extensive research has been dedicated to this topic in leading marketing journals over the past decade. Relatively few of these articles, however, have addressed customer satisfaction in a business-to-business context. Academic researchers have noted a predominant focus on consumer measurements with near complete disregard for customer satisfaction research between businesses (Morris and Davis, 1992; Moore and Schlegelmilch, 1994; Swan and Trawick, 1993; Swan et al., 1995; Patterson et al., 1997; Homburg and Rudolph, 2001). In addition to the psychographic complexities of measuring the satisfaction of individuals, industrial companies also need to wrestle with the added complexities of multiple respondents, complex product/service attributes and a diverse customer base. The challenges facing marketers in this area, therefore, need to be more fully understood and efficiently addressed. Knowledge base Fortunately, the context of business-to-business relationships also has a rich knowledge base. Beginning in the 1950s many researchers and practitioners saw the need to create and confirm models of organizational buying behavior as distinct from consumer purchasing behavior. This research created an overall framework to explain how organizational buying occurs, who is involved in the buying process, and what environmental, organizational, The author would like to express her gratitude to Jim Gouveia, Betsy Balderston, Dr Julie Lee, Dr Arun Sharma, the editor, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. The author also extends special thanks to Dr A. Parasuraman for his constructive guidance throughout the development of this work. The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0885-8624.htm
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interpersonal and individual influences affect the final decision outcome (Webster and Wind, 1972). Rather than limiting the view of suppliercustomer dealings as a series of discrete transactions or purchasing events, subsequent thinking in the area of relationship marketing has provided a more macro, holistic view of long-term business partnerships. This paper develops an integrated model of customer satisfaction measurement in a business-to-business context and addresses the unique challenges inherent in this context by incorporating learnings from the fields of customer satisfaction,...