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Although aggregate satisfaction measures continue to proliferate, their value in making broad-based comparisons remains unclear. This study uses arguments from the economics, psychology, sociology and marketing domains to predict systematic differences in aggregate customer satisfaction across both industries and countries. These predictions are tested using a database created from three broad-based national satisfaction surveys in Sweden, Germany and the United States. The results reveal that, across countries, satisfaction is highest for competitive products, lower for competitive services and retailers, and lower still for government and public agencies. However, the differences vary by country. Satisfaction is also predictably lower in Sweden and Germany compared to the US, and shown to change systematically in Sweden over time. Methodological differences do not appear to limit the comparability of the aggregate satisfaction measures. Overall the study supports the use of national indices for making meaningful comparisons of satisfaction on a broad scale.


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© Elsevier. Final version published as: Johnson, M. D., Hermann, A., & Gustafsson, A. (2002). Comparing customer satisfaction across industries and countries. Journal of Economic Psychology, 23(6), 749-769. doi:10.1016/S0167-4870(02)00137-X
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.