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Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.11, November 2009, Posted On: 11/25/2009

Candy Registers Gain In Latest American Customer Satisfaction Index

by Staff Reporter
Candy, candy popularity, American Customer Satisfaction Index, Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, vending machines, vending, vending business, snack machines, confections, Hershey, Mars, Nestlé, Claes Fornell, American Society for Quality, bulk vending, candy machines, confectionery

ANN ARBOR, MI -- Candy is still dandy with consumers, according to the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index. ACSI is a cooperative program conducted by the American Society for Quality (Milwaukee), Claes Fornell International's CFI Group (Ann Arbor, MI) and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

While customer satisfaction with food companies overall remained largely unchanged, chocolate-makers saw substantial increases, the index found. Hershey jumped 2%, Mars gained 1% and both earned a rating of 87. Nestlé also enjoyed an improved rating, registering a 2% gain for a score of 85. Taken together, the increased scores pushed customer satisfaction with manufacturers of sweets to an all-time high of 86 on the index.

"The same thing happened in 2001 in the midst of the previous recession, and also in 2004 when concern over the Iraq war and rising fuel prices appeared to be reflected in higher satisfaction with comfort foods," said Claes Fornell, originator of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer.

Overall, after a surge through the second quarter, aggregate customer satisfaction as measured across industries by the ACSI stalled, losing 0.1% for the third quarter, which brings the index to a score of 76 on a 100-point scale. As the researchers pointed out, the index has improved since the depths of the recession and stands 1.3% higher than it was a year ago. Despite the slight drop in ACSI, many companies are improving their customer relationships: gainers lead decliners 45% to 39% with 16% unchanged.

Developed at the University of Michigan, the ACSI is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to consumers in the U.S. Based on econometric modeling of data obtained through interviews with consumers, it is updated each quarter, with new measures for different sectors of the economy replacing data from the prior year. The overall ACSI score for a given quarter factors in the scores attained by about 200 companies in 44 industries and from government agencies over the previous four quarters.

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