The ideal customer

Date of publication: June 15, 1993

Author: Richard Brookes

Abstract:

This paper attempts to answer these two questions, with special reference to the automobile market. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part examines the nature of the satisfaction construct from a theoretical perspective, and then proposes the compex building blocks of customer satisfaction that might characterise the motor vehicle purchase and “consumption” experience. The second part describes the research design and the results from a syndicated study of new car buyers which show that while new car build quality has steadily improved over the past several years, customer satisfaction with this quality has not increased at the same pace. The third part of this paper examines the characteristics of those key 33% of buyers who have the highest satisfaction levels, on the grounds that they are likely to form an important target group in their own right. The evidence from the syndicated studies show them to be similar to other new car buyers in terms of demographics and buying processes. However, with respect to their attitudinal characteristics they appear to be different, particularly in terms of their greater certainty as to what make and model they are likely to buy, and their higher emotional involvement with their car and driving. While this paper concentrates on new car buyers, the fourth section will conclude with a brief discussion not just of the implications for automobile manufacturers, but for other product and service industries as well, and the marketing implications for firms seeking new ways to meet the expectations of their buyers.

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