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Customer Satisfaction and Demand - Essay Example

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Introduction: The original reason for nationalization of monopoly industries like coal, rail, shipbuilding, steel and public utilities was that it was too easy to earn profits in them. However when the state took over, the opposite happened and the industries plunged into huge losses…
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Customer Satisfaction and Demand
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Customer Satisfaction and Demand

(Macrae 1991)
Although there is a strong case for privatization of industry, in many countries the political forces of welfarism were far too strong to turn such public monopolies into private enterprises. Many governments found a via media approach, in deregulation of industries. This is the process by which governments removed restrictions on businesses in order to encourage competition that would not only improve efficiency and lower prices but also protect the rights of the consumers.
For instance, the board for public utilities of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada states its mission as: "ensuring the state's public are well served in a changing environment, achieving an equitable balance between the interests of consumers and service providers in the electric utility, automobile insurance, petroleum products and motor carrier industries." ("Newfoundland & Labrador Board " 2005). Similarly, in its 2006 Handbook, the department of Consumer Affairs - Industry, Canada has given useful tips not only to save money on their utility bills, usage of natural resources responsibly and protecting the environment but also contacts and mechanisms for redressal of grievances in case of problems with public utilities. ("Canadian Consumer Handbook" 2006)
The argument for total deregulation was that the regulated industries often influenced the government regulatory bodies tilting the scales in their interests. Although the regulatory bodies might have started functioning independently, many of them have fallen prey to the industries they sought to regulate and were in many cases influenced by them. Ironically the same pattern could be discerned even in the process of deregulation. Some of the perceived failures of deregulation have found favor with the proponents of re-regulation for a calibrated approach for each case separately and in consonance with the winds of change that are sweeping across businesses such as liberalization and globalization of markets.
According to the 1989-1992 Electricity Act, British consumers can choose their electricity supplier. Regional electricity companies not only have to meet the standards specified in the act but also face fierce completion from others. It is no different for water companies. They face enhanced pressure for improved customer service, reduced wastage and environmental damage. The standards of service are driven not by the regulator but by the industry and customer expectations. The challenge would be to achieve high levels standards to meet heightened consumer expectations without increasing costs. Public utilities long considered slow and unresponsive to the market are forced into making investments to remedy their shortcomings. (Mansell-Lewis 1994).
Customer satisfaction: It is well known that customer satisfaction largely leads to customer loyalty. Loyal customers bring in a higher share of their expenditure, repeat business, referrals and word-of-mouth publicity. As deregulation and liberalization increases the number of players competing in an industry, the net effect for the service providers is heightened customer expectations. According to a national opinion polls (NOP) survey commissioned by Olista, a 'service experience assurance' company, users who encounter problems while using mobile data services would simply give up rather than seek assistance. The report is headlined "impatient mobile data users aren't prepared to give operators a ... Read More
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