Are All Customers Created Equal?

Posted on December 18, 2008 | in Customer Satisfaction Research | by CRC

Are all customers created equal?

Many businesses have a “one size fits all” approach to customer service. If the service is good, then customers will be satisfied with their experience, right?

But it’s not that simple. What works for one customer may not do the trick for another. Different customers value different aspects of a service.

Anderson, Pearo and Widener discuss the concept of service-dominated logic in their recent article, Drivers of Service Satisfaction, published in The Journal of Service Research. The authors looked at different segments of airline passengers, to find out how gender, age, income and flying experience impacted their satisfaction with flying.

Here are a few of the things that they learned but looking at a database of over 20,000 airline customers:

  • While income did not have a big impact on how satisfied customers were, whether they were in first class or economy did. Those in first class had higher expectations, particularly for the comfort of their seat and the attentiveness of flight attendants.

  • Younger people were harder to satisfy than older passengers and placed a higher value on personal space in the cabin.

  • Interactional aspects of the service, such as the contact with airline staff, were more important to women than to men.

  • Experienced flyers and first class passengers were not as affected by whether the flight was timely or smooth, perhaps because they have had enough experience to know that a bumpy ride or a flight that’s a bit late is par for the course.

The lessen here is, don’t use a cookie cutter approach to improve your customer satisfaction. Think about your customer segments and find out what makes them happy. With this knowledge you can target specific customers to improve their satisfaction.