What does Mercedes-Benz have in common with H.J. Heinz and Coca-Cola?
The obvious response is an enormously strong brand. But the more significant issue is what creates the strength. The answer carries a powerful lesson for all managers. The potent trio are among the Top Ten US companies for customer satisfaction – and that score is a critical indicator, not only of market strength, but financial success.
The gurus have been preaching the importance of the 'satisfied customer' percentage for even longer than the best-advised companies have been tracking the number. But only in recent years has the issue been narrowed down to truly hard relationships and one hard question. Will the customers buy from you again? Here Fortune reports an astonishing correlation. In Sweden, where the 'Customer Satisfaction Barometer' hinges round that vital question, 'Companies capable of increasing [on the CSB] by one point every year for five years improved the average return on assets during the period by 11.33%'.