On Nov. 13 the University of Michigan released its 3rd quarter report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). After a period of continual growth, the ACSI contracted for the first time since early 2005. At a score of 75.2, ACSI is down 0.1% compared with the previous quarter. This is a very small drop with the overall score still 1% above where it was a year ago, explains Professor Claes Fornell, Director, National Quality Research Center, Stephen M. Ross School of Business
The report finds that customer satisfaction is up for most industries, including athletic shoes (+3.9%), apparel (+2.5%), pet food (+1.2%), beer (+1.2%), and personal care products (+1.2%). Apparel, pet food, beer, and personal care products either attain or equal all-time highs.
Looking specifically at food manufacturing customer satisfaction falls for the first time since 2005, down 2.4% to 81. Because of the relative size of the sector (compared to other industries measured in Q3), the drop made a big impact in the overall ACSI score, even though it was the only industry to decline. Higher prices are mostly to blame, explains the report. Heinz moves up 3% to 90, the highest score of any company in any industry in all ACSI. The big gainer is Campbell Soup, up 4% to 83. They capitalized on "wellness" food and the strategy is working for them.