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Consumer Satisfaction Holds Steady in Second Quarter

Published: Monday, September 13, 2004 - 22:00

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index held steady for the second quarter of 2004, remaining at its highest level in 10 years.

The index stands at 74.4, unchanged from last quarter. Economists report that the sunny news indicates high customer satisfaction, which generally contributes to increased consumer spending and a healthier economy. While satisfaction cannot completely offset recent price and interest rate hikes, the economy’s ability to deliver strong satisfaction levels should help bring spending back from its recent dip.

The report, which is produced by a partnership of the University of Michigan Business School, the American Society for Quality and CFI Group, suggests that the U.S. auto industry will have to fight to keep from losing customers to foreign carmakers, and that some domestic PC brands are gaining market shares. Industry-level satisfaction scores provide strong cues concerning which lines of business are most vulnerable to competition.

“High levels of satisfaction with shopping and consumption usually mean that people are more willing to spend, which also gives a boost to the economy,” says Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI at the University of Michigan. “But there are now considerable forces pulling in the other direction. Price-adjusted satisfaction is actually dropping. Add weak employment, debatable wage growth and higher interest rates to the picture, and enthusiasm for buying weakens. Nevertheless, third quarter spending is almost certain to be higher than the dismal second quarter spending.”

For more information, visit www.theacsi.org.

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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.