Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Index Takes the Measure of Consumer Satisfaction

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Index Takes the Measure of Consumer Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Americans are least pleased with the IRS and most satisfied with the quality of their cigarettes, beer and other non-durable products, a new customer satisfaction index has found.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index tracks satisfaction with a range of goods and services

from 200 companies and government agencies and 40 industries. Its creators hope the quarterly index will become a widely followed measure of consumer perceptions, much like the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation.

"Our economic road map is outdated. The economy is changing, but measurement of it has not kept pace with the changes," said Claes Fornell, director of the index's creator: the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan.

The index is based on random telephone interviews nationwide with 46,000 consumers who recently bought or used a product or service tracked by the index.

In the initial index, measured on a 100-point scale, the overall score was 74.5. Fornell said that compares with mid-60s scores in Germany and his native Sweden, the only other nations with similar indexes.

The non-durable manufacturing sector got the highest score - 81.6. That sector includes products such as clothing, beer, cigarettes, gasoline, food and newspapers.

The lowest score went to the public administration and government sector, at 64.3. The Internal Revenue Service had the lowest score in that group, 55.

The American Society for Quality Control, a non-profit group based in Milwaukee, is co-sponsoring the index. …

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