Arbeitspapiere der FOM. Arbeitspapier Nr. 35. An insight into Drivers of Customer Satisfaction An empirical study of a global automotive brand

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1 Arbeitspapier Nr. 35 An insight into Drivers of Customer Satisfaction An empirical study of a global automotive brand Gondek, Christian / Heinemann, Stefan Arbeitspapiere der FOM

2 Gondek, Christian / Heinemann, Stefan An insight into Drivers of Customer Satisfaction An empirical study of a global automotive brand Arbeitspapier der FOM, Nr. 35 Essen 2013 ISSN by MA Akademie Verlagsund Druck-Gesellschaft mbh Leimkugelstraße 6, Essen Tel Fax Das Werk einschließlich seiner Teile ist urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Verwertung außerhalb der engen Grenzen des Urhebergesetzes ist ohne Zustimmung der MA Akademie Verlags- und Druck- Gesellschaft mbh unzulässig und strafbar. Das gilt insbesondere für Vervielfältigungen, Übersetzungen, Mikroverfilmungen und die Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen. Die Wiedergabe von Gebrauchsnamen, Handelsnamen, Warenbezeichnungen usw. in diesem Werk berechtigt auch ohne besondere Kennzeichnung nicht zu der Annahme, dass solche Namen im Sinne der Warenzeichen- und Markenschutz-Gesetzgebung als frei zu betrachten wären und daher von jedermann benutzt werden dürfen. Oft handelt es sich um gesetzlich geschützte eingetragene Warenzeichen, auch wenn sie nicht als solche gekennzeichnet sind. ISSN

3 Foreword Due to the increasing equal distribution of Know-how and production technology within a global economic environment product innovations are imitated at ever-increasing speed; indeed it is getting more and more difficult to establish sustainable competitive advantages. This applies particularly to innovation-driven industries, such as the German automotive industry. As such, the German automotive industry keeps distinguishing itself from the competitors by providing additional services and shopping experience towards the customers and partners. Hence, entrepreneurial acting focuses more on customer satisfaction related to such service and process experience. On the one hand side, the conceptual one, several approaches such as a service level management, touchpoint management and customer experience management elaborated by academia and practice are already in place. On the other hand side, in terms of operational implementation, firms are facing challenges how to identify and derive causeeffect relations within the service and process conception. However, in order to establish an economically feasible approach of the concept the proof of a cause-effect relation as well as its realization up to the point of the determination of the ROI is essential. In the current edition of the FOM working papers the authors deal with exactly this need for research and makes a valuable contribution to the fundamental research of a systematical achievement of customer satisfaction for the German automotive industry on the one hand. Further, the present study might certainly serve as an inspiration for customer satisfaction research in other fields and industries. Prof. Dr. Lars Taimer FOM Hochschule Professor für allgemeine Betriebswirtschaftslehre, insbesondere Unternehmensführung Essen, April 2013

4 Credits The authors would like to thank P. Schulte and K. Waters for critical and important remarks. Further, the authors would like to thank the team of the FOM-Schriftleitung for its support and recommendations during the creation of the current working paper.

5 Table of Content List of Abbreviations... IV List of Figures... V List of Tables... VI 1 Introduction Objectives Methodology The empirical Study Defining the Industry Defining Customer Satisfaction The Methodology of research Testing hypotheses of Customer Satisfaction Hypothesis 1: Drivers of Customer Satisfaction Hypothesis 2: Employee Satisfaction influences Customer Satisfaction Hypothesis 3: Customer Satisfaction Strategies can be derived Conclusion and Outlook List of Appendix List of References III

6 List of Abbreviations CL CS CSI CSR FMC Customer Loyalty Customer Satisfaction Customer Satisfaction Index Customer Service Representative Ford Motor Company IV

7 List of Figures Figure 1: The methodical overview of the working paper... 2 Figure 2: The methodology of research... 5 Figure 3: Concern Resolution vs. CSI Part Figure 4: Concern Resolution vs. CSI Part Figure 5: Soft-Skills vs. CSI... 7 Figure 6: Competence vs. CSI... 7 Figure 7: Dealer Satisfaction vs. CSI Part Figure 8: Dealer Satisfaction vs. CSI Part Figure 9: Approval Rights vs. CSI... 9 Figure 10: Working Environment vs. CSI... 9 V

8 List of Tables Table 1: Drivers of Customer Satisfaction... 8 Table 2: Drivers of Customer Satisfaction including significance value... 8 Table 3: Employee and Customer Satisfaction Table 4: Employee and Customer Satisfaction including significance value Table 5: Customer Satisfaction Strategies Table 6: Customer Satisfaction Strategies including significance value VI

9 1 Introduction In business classes and corporate management, it is often asserted that CS (Customer Satisfaction) and CL (Customer loyalty) influence a company s development and growth. 1 Especially since 1990, companies have increasingly recognized the value of their customers and integrated the focus towards CS into their strategic management whereas the concentration on their competitors has been the main topic of strategic corporate management beforehand. 2 This paradigm shift was fostering a fresh view regarding CS, CL and the relationship between CS and CL. Problem: loyalty programs might be everywhere, but not loyalty, and even less so, satisfaction. Because satisfaction in itself might not be enough, it has to be a kind of "super satisfaction", a "loyalty-based and - fostering" satisfaction. 3 The focus on CS and CL leads to the question of which factors influence CS and CL and whether those factors can be managed by company leaders directly or indirectly. 4 Loyalty and satisfaction and their relationship are a fundamental question for marketing theory and practice, especially when it comes down to numbers: Profitability and shareholder value. 5 It would be reasonable to assume, that even the most effective executives need to understand the correlation between internal and external factors on the one hand and CS on the other hand to effectively manage their companies in order to develop effective action plans. 6 Moreover, according to Heskett et al., a correlation between the satisfaction of the employees performing the service and CS exists. 7 Therefore, the current working paper has applied empirical research in order to understand internal and external drivers of CS and to prove the hypotheses outlined in the objectives. This research has been undertaken for the FMC (Ford Motor Company) and the automotive market of Germany for 2011 based on the size and importance of this market for the economic development of Germany and consequently the European Union. 8 Due to the constraints of this working paper, the assumption has been made by the authors, that CS and CL own equivalent abilities. Thus, the research has been concentrated on drivers of CS rather than CL. In addition to that, the authors have drawn the indirect conclusion that if a correlation between single factors and CS exists, changing those factors consequently changes CS based on the condition of ceteris paribus - assuming all other factors remain unchanged See Reichheld, F. (2006), p. 55. See Hinterhuber, H. H. / Matzler, K. (2009), p. 36. See Bowen, J. T. / Chen, S. L. (2001), passim. Of course it is not possible to address all theoretical aspects and remaining problems in this working paper. See Hallowell, R. (1996), p. 27. See Anderson, E. W. / Fornell, C. / Mazvancheryl, S. K. (2004), Gupta, S. / Zeithaml, V. (2006), passim. See Drucker, P. F. (2006) p See Heskett, J. L. / Sasser, W. E. / Schlesinger, L. A. (1997), p. 99. See Gottschalk, B. / Kalmbach, R. (2007), p. 4. See Earman, J. / Glymour, C. / Mitchell, S. (2002), p

10 1.1 Objectives The objectives of the current working paper are the evaluation and analysis of three hypotheses created by the authors of this working paper: Drivers of CS exist: By analyzing the correlation of specific factors and CS, the finding of valid correlation confirms existing drivers 10 Employee Satisfaction influences CS: By analyzing the correlation of specific factors of employee satisfaction and CS, the finding of valid correlation points towards causality positing that satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers 11,12 CS Strategies can be derived: Based on the recognized factors of the research of hypotheses 1 and 2 in Chapter 3, the ability of those factors being managed by company leaders can be used to derive CS strategies and avoids that managers follow myths of CS and CL, consequently resulting in inefficient management Methodology The broad overview of the scope of work of this working paper is demonstrated in Figure 1. After the preface, the empirical study will be defined based on the industry, the definition of CS and the methodology of research. Consequently, each of the following Chapters 3.1 to 3.3 analyzes the three hypotheses created by the authors. Ultimately, the conclusion and outlook have been drawn based on the findings of the research. Figure 1: The methodical overview of the working paper See Hartung, J. / Elpelt, B. / Hösener, K.-H. (2005), p See Heskett, J. L. / Sasser, W. E. / Schlesinger, L. A. (1997), p. 11. See Hartung, J. / Elpelt, B. / Hösener, K.-H. (2005), p See Keiningham, T. L. / Vavra, T. G. / Aksoy, L. et al. (2005), p. 64. The main body of this research is based on previous research on the first named author focussing on a loyalty-based adjustment-approach for the marketing mix of the Product Ford Fiesta. 2

11 2 The empirical Study 2.1 Defining the Industry The subject of the empirical study is the German automotive market. On the one hand, the German automotive market is characterized by a high local economic impact and a focus on exports leading to international influence. 14 Moreover, the German automotive market is characterized by its maturity concluding into an increase of the importance of CS. 15 Within this market, all FMC customers interacting with the customer service department for the business year 2011 have been invited to complete a post-experience CS survey. In total, the amount of 3,548 surveys can be classified as an adequate and statistically valid sample space representing the total CS of FMC s customer base for Defining Customer Satisfaction In general, CS is defined by customers evaluation of a specific product or service provided by a manufacturer or service provider. It is interesting to consider that CS is mainly created by meeting customers expectation. 17 In the applied research, CS is defined by the evaluation of the customer within the survey after the interaction with the customer service department. In this survey, CS is measured by applying an interval scale from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied). 18 The outcome of the measurement is classified as CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index). 2.3 The Methodology of research As for the theory of correlation, if applying the product-moment correlation formula of Pearson shown below for two interval scaled continuous values x and y, the result will be a so called correlation coefficient r between -1 and Whereas r = -1 can be defined as a perfect negative linear relation and r = 1 can be defined as a perfect positive relation, r = 0 can be defined as no correlation at all. 20 To determine the probability that a calculated correlation coefficient is a systematic one and not a chance occurrence, a significance test has to be conducted: The probability value p is calculated for each correlation coefficient r and is then compared to a predefined critical alpha level See Gottschalk, B. / Kalmbach, R. (2007), p. 11. See Gottschalk, B. / Kalmbach, R. (2007), p See Bamberg, G. / Baur, F. / Krapp, M. (2008), p See Grigoroudis, E. / Siskos, Y. (2009), p. 4. See Grigoroudis, E. / Siskos, Y. (2009), p. 23. See Bamberg, G. / Baur, F. / Krapp, M. (2008), p. 36. See Bamberg, G. / Baur, F. / Krapp, M. (2008), p

12 If the calculated p is below the critical alpha level, it is assumed that the found correlation is a systematic one. In all reported tests of significance, a one-tailed relationship (based on theoretical assumptions about the direction of the relationships) has been assumed, and a significance level of alpha = Ultimately, correlation analyzes and measures the relationship between the two variables x and y and no causality. 21 In order to fulfill the authors requirement of an empirical research, the correlation between the CS evaluated by the 3,548 different customers analyzed and selected other evaluations of the customers within those surveys have been analyzed as demonstrated in Figure 2. Another way of looking at the question of CS is the ability to manage factors that influence CS. As current research has proven, CS and CL consist of a so called loyalty pie based on different factors. 22 Therefore, the authors have separated internal and external factors within the survey and analyzed each of those factors and its single correlation with CS. Due to the restraints of this working paper, no adjustment for seasonal variations has been applied, e.g. the launch of new products or services. 23 Moreover, a high correlation has been defined for r In addition to that, the internal factors have been separated into process and service related on the one hand and employee satisfaction on the other hand. First of all, resolving the concern has been analyzed based on current researches proving a high correlation between meeting customers expectations and CS. 25 Moreover, value orientated factors like courtesy, competence and speed of response have been selected to analyze their value from the customer perspective regarding the quality of the service. 26 Then, the external factor has been added by analyzing the CS about the service provided of the dealer assuming that partly, factors that influence CS are out of the manufacturers or service providers control. 27 All factors except resolving the customers concern have been measured within the 3,548 surveys on the same interval scale as CS from 1 to 10 whereas resolving the concern has been measured on a ratio scale in percentages. 28 However, all values have been collected and reported on a monthly basis to demonstrate the development throughout Ultimately, based on Heskett et al., the internal factor of employee satisfaction has been added analyzing the correlation between satisfied employees and customers. 30 Due to the fact that employee satisfaction is an internal research and not part of the 3,548 surveys returned by customers of FMC, an additional interview has been applied measuring the employee satisfaction by closed questions about the satisfaction in total, the satisfaction of the employees towards their approval See Hartung, J. / Elpelt, B. / Hösener, K.-H. (2005), p See Dixon, M. / Freeman, K. / Torman, N. (2010), p See Hartung, J. / Elpelt, B. / Hösener, K.-H. (2005), p See De Vaus, D. (2002), p. 258; See Cohen, J. (1988), p. 77 ff. for the idea that r >.5 shows a massiv effect. See Dixon, M. / Freeman, K. / Torman, N. (2010), p See Grigoroudis / Siskos (2009), p. 69. See Gondek, C. (2011), p. 10. See Grigoroudis, E. / Siskos, Y. (2009), p. 23. See Probst, H.-J. (2008), p See Heskett, J. L. / Sasser, W. E. / Schlesinger, L. A. (1997), p

13 rights and the working environment. 31 Then, the individual CSI scores of the employees have been analyzed according to their own satisfaction for the period of October to December 2011 resulting into an amount of 193 surveys with individual CSI scores. The result has been recapped into three areas of employee satisfaction for the fourth quarter of 2011, the related individual CSI score and the amount of surveys demonstrating the sample size. 32 Figure 2: The methodology of research See McBurney, D. H. / White, T. L. (2010), p See Bamberg, G. / Baur, F. / Krapp, M. (2008), p

14 3 Testing hypotheses of Customer Satisfaction 3.1 Hypothesis 1: Drivers of Customer Satisfaction As described, the empirical research of the current working paper analyzes the CS according to the service provided by the customer service department of the FMC. According to Kotler et al., services can be classified by differences in the quality of service and a strong relation to the CSR (Customer Service Representative) performing the service. 33 Other current research has analyzed the correlation between meeting customers expectations and recognized a correlation between fulfilling customers requirement on the basis that the service quality remains unchanged. 34 To recap, the quality of the service provided can be evaluated partly on the outcome and partly on the interaction between customers and CSRs. 35 From the authors viewpoint, it would be reasonable to assume that those two criteria need to be analyzed from both an internal and external point of view. According to the FMC s two-level distribution channel, the degree of CS might be influenced by previous contacts with FMC s retailers, especially if the first contact with the retailer has not been successful and consequently led to the contact with the customer service department. 36 Therefore, the following analysis has been applied on the service provided by the customer service department as well as on the service provided by FMC s retailers. The outcome of the research has been demonstrated in Figure 3 until Figure 8. 9,0 90% 9,0 8,0 80% 70% 8,0 7,0 6,0 60% 50% 40% 30% CSI Concern Resolution CSI 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 Jan. 11 Feb. 11 Mar. 11 Apr. 11 May 11 Jun. 11 Jul. 11 Aug. 11 Sep. 11 Oct. 11 Nov. 11 Dec % 10% 0% 5,0 4,0 50% 70% 90% Concern Resolution Figure 3: Concern Resolution vs. CSI Part 1 Figure 4: Concern Resolution vs. CSI Part 2 According to Figure 3, Concern Resolution and CSI seem to have taken a parallel linear development in As demonstrated in Figure 4, a positive linear correlation of both values seems to be obvious. According to Figure 5, performance in all analyzed soft skills exemplified by courtesy, competence and speed of response closely mirror the performance trend of the CSI in 2011 for the customer service department of the FMC based on the amount of 3,548 surveys researched. In Figure 6, the soft-skill of See Kotler, P. / Armstrong, G. / Wong, V. et al. (2011), p See Dixon, M. / Freeman, K. / Torman, N. (2010), p See Chen, Y.-C. / Shen, Y.-C. / Liao, S. (2009), p See Levens, M. (2011), p

15 competence has been selected and again, a positive linear correlation of both values seems to be obvious. 9,0 9,0 8,0 8,0 7,0 6,0 5,0 Courtesy Competence Speed of Response CSI CSI 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 Jan. 11 Feb. 11 Mar. 11 Apr. 11 May 11 Jun. 11 Jul. 11 Aug. 11 Sep. 11 Oct. 11 Nov. 11 Dec. 11 4,0 6,8 7,0 7,2 7,4 7,6 7,8 8,0 8,2 8,4 Competence Figure 5: Soft-Skills vs. CSI Figure 6: Competence vs. CSI There is a marked contrast between this and the external factor of dealer s service intention which does not seem to have a high correlation with CSI. Therefore, the analysis has been extended to the factor of dealer satisfaction demonstrated in Figure 7 and 8. However, it would appear that there is still no evidence of a relationship between the analyzed external factors and CS whereas the satisfaction with the dealer seems to correlate even less than the dealer s service intention with CS. 9,0 9,0 8,0 7,0 8,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 3,0 Dealer Satisfaction CSI CSI 7,0 6,0 2,0 1,0 0,0 Jan. 11 Feb. 11 Mar. 11 Apr. 11 May 11 Jun. 11 Jul. 11 Aug. 11 Sep. 11 Oct. 11 Nov. 11 Dec. 11 5,0 4,0 5,2 5,4 5,6 5,8 6,0 6,2 6,4 Dealer Satisfaction Figure 7: Dealer Satisfaction vs. CSI Part 1 Figure 8: Dealer Satisfaction vs. CSI Part 2 To recap, the specific correlations have been demonstrated in Table 1 by applying the formula of Pearson. 37 By this outcome, hypothesis 1 can be confirmed as drivers of CS exist. However, contrary to previous assumptions by the first named author, those seem to be rather internal factors and therefore within FMC s control. 38 However, it is interesting to consider that competence and speed of response of the CSR providing the service have got the highest correlation to CS for the German automotive market exemplified by customers of the FMC. In Table 1 and 2, potential drivers of CS have been analyzed by applying the formula of Pearson and including significance value p of each factor analyzed See Bamberg, G. / Baur, F. / Krapp, M. (2008), p. 37. See Gondek, C. (2011), p

16 Table 1: Drivers of Customer Satisfaction Criteria Correlation value r Driver of Customer Satisfaction Concern Resolution 0.90 Yes Soft-Skill: Courtesy 0.87 Yes Soft-Skill: Competence 0.94 Yes Soft-Skill: Speed of Response 0.91 Yes External Dealer Service Intention 0.50 No External Dealer Satisfaction 0.10 No Table 2: Drivers of Customer Satisfaction including significance value Criteria Correlation value r Significance (one-sided) value p Driver of Customer Satisfaction Concern Resolution Yes Soft-Skill: Courtesy Yes Soft-Skill: Competence Yes Soft-Skill: Speed of Response External Dealer Service Intention External Dealer Satisfaction Yes No No 8

17 3.2 Hypothesis 2: Employee Satisfaction influences Customer Satisfaction According to Maslow, all human beings seek basic needs to fulfill their need satisfaction. 39 Moreover, according to Herzberg those basic needs can be separated into two areas, hygiene factors transforming dissatisfaction into non-dissatisfaction and motivators transforming non-satisfaction into satisfaction. 40 From a corporate point of view, the relation between specific factors and the satisfaction of employees needs a detailed analysis due to the fact that current researches have proven satisfied employees lead to higher productivity and sales. 41 Already in 2003, Heskett et al. advised companies to treat their employees similar to their customers including an adequate amount of training and development opportunities in order to deliver the fulfillment of basis employees needs. 42 Moreover, an analysis has shown that often even an increase of 100 % of profit can be achieved by increasing employee satisfaction. 43 According to the authors and based on the two dimensions researched by Herzberg, employee satisfaction has been researched selecting one hygiene factor, the working environment, and one motivation factor, the approval-rights each CSR has been offered by FMC. 44 Moreover, general information about the overall satisfaction of employees has been asked in order to research factors that are out of the employer s control, e.g. private dissatisfaction of the employees. The relation between the employees satisfaction on the one hand and CS on the other hand has been demonstrated in Figure 9 and 10, whereas no obvious correlation can be recognized. Individual CSI 9,0 8,0 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 3,0 1,0 2,0 3,0 4,0 5,0 6,0 7,0 8,0 9,0 Satisfaction about approval rights Individual CSI 9,0 8,0 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 3,0 1,0 2,0 3,0 4,0 5,0 6,0 7,0 8,0 9,0 Satisfaction about working environment Figure 9: Approval Rights vs. CSI Figure 10: Working Environment vs. CSI To recap, the specific correlations of different areas of employee satisfaction and CS have been demonstrated in Table 2 by applying the formula of Pearson. 45 Ultimately, no correlation between employee satisfaction and CS has been recognized and therefore, hypothesis 2 cannot be confirmed by the empirical research. However, for the authors part, one reason for not having found a correlation could be due to ceteris paribus being See Jung, H. (2011), p See Jung, H. (2011), p See Achor, S. (2011), p See Heskett, J. L. / Sasser, W. E. / Schlesinger, L. A. (2003), p See Heskett, J. L. / Sasser, W. E. / Schlesinger, L. A. (2003), p. 75. See Jung, H. (2011), p See Bamberg, G. / Baur, F. / Krapp, M. (2008), p

18 not the right approach for measuring individually. Especially due to the fact that individual scores can be influenced by different working areas or maturity status of single employees, an overall approach might be more useful. In Table 3 and 4, the impact of employee satisfaction on CS has been analyzed by applying the formula of Pearson and including significance value p of each factor analyzed. Due to the restraints of this working paper, this approach has not been analyzed further. Table 3: Employee and Customer Satisfaction Criteria Correlation value r Driver of Customer Satisfaction Employee Satisfaction about approval rights 0.32 No Employee Satisfaction about working environment No Overall Employee Satisfaction 0.07 No Table 4: Employee and Customer Satisfaction including significance value Criteria Employee Satisfaction about approval rights Employee Satisfaction about working environment Overall Employee Satisfaction Correlation value r Significance (one-sided) value p Driver of Customer Satisfaction No No No 10

19 3.3 Hypothesis 3: Customer Satisfaction Strategies can be derived It is often said that efficient mouth-to-mouth propaganda results into reduction of marketing budgets. 46 Other research has outlined that growing specific variables of CS or CL, consequently profitability and growth of companies increase. 47 The ultimate focus of all research is the common requirement of focusing a company s strategy and activity on selected criteria in order to efficiently manage the corporate development. 48 For the authors part, it would be reasonable to assume that internal factors can be managed directly and external factors are partly out of a company s control. Therefore, external factors can only be influenced indirectly. Due to the fact that the empirical research has proven that internal drivers of CS exist (and those are factors that can be managed), the third hypothesis can be confirmed. The derived strategies, actions and the results of the correlation analysis leading to those conclusions have been outlined in Table 5 whereas Table 6 includes the significance value of each factor analyzed. On the basis of the recognized drivers, CS strategies are demonstrated in Table 3 based on the assumption that if those factors are drivers of CS, increasing the factors leads to increased service quality, which can be defined as one differentiation strategy of companies. 49 Finally, although the strategies described are partly long-term orientated, current researches have recognized long-term focus of companies as a valid differentiation advantage. 50 Table 5: Customer Satisfaction Strategies Strategy Action Background Efficient Customer Focus all customer service Concern Resolution: Service activities on resolving the r = 0.90 customer concern Efficient Customer Service Increase speed of response by minimizing process barriers Speed of Response: r = 0.91 Develop employees Support training of Employees Courtesy: r = 0.87 Competence: r = 0.94 Research & Development Focus on dealers No data yet Research & Development Focus on employees No data yet See Reinartz, W. / Kumar, V. (2002), p. 93. See Reichheld, F. (2003), p. 53. See Drucker, P. F. (2006), p See Grant, R. M. (2008), p See Kanter, R. M. (2011), p

20 Table 6: Customer Satisfaction Strategies including significance value Criteria Efficient Customer Service Efficient Customer Service Develop employees Action Focus all customer service activities on resolving the customer concern Increase speed of response by minimizing process barriers Support training of employees Correlation value r Concern resolution: 0.90 Significance (onesided) value p.001 Speed of response: Courtesy: 0.87 Competence: 0.94 Research & Development Focus on dealers No data yet Research & Development Focus on employees No data yet Regarding the current CS strategies, the following background can be recommended to FMC as part of their corporate management: Efficient Customer Service: Based on the correlation of concern resolution and speed of response, efficient process management needs to be in place in order to resolve the initial customer concern under maximum speed of response; this includes detailed definition of the nature of the customer concern during the first customer 51, 52 contact by the CSR. Develop employees: Due to the fact that soft-skills have the highest correlation to CS amongst the analyzed criteria, individual training and development need to be the basis for customer relation, including communication training and the johari window approach allowing CSRs to reduce their potential blind spots. 53 The basic principle of the johari window is to use perception of others and by that process reducing the individual blind spot of individuals. 54 Research and Development: Still, the empirical research has not found any correlation between dealer or employee satisfaction and CS. However, dealers are the basis of FMC s retailer structure and employees are the predominant factor performing the service. 55 Therefore, a further empirical research is recommended due to its high potential from the authors point of view. However, before implementing those strategies, they needed further strategic testing. 56 Due to the restraints of this working paper, no further analysis will be undertaken See Olfert, K. (2006), p See Dixon, M. / Freeman, K. / Torman, N. (2010), p See West, R. / Turner, L. H. (2011), p See Jung, H. (2011), p See Levens, M. (2011), p See Kaplan, R. S. / Norton, D. P. (2008), p

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