Thus far our discussion on customer satisfaction has been product oriented ”satisfaction with the overall software and with specific attributes. A broader scope of the subject deals with customers' overall satisfaction with the company. This broad definition of customer satisfaction includes a spectrum of variables in addition to the quality of the products. For instance, in their study of the customers' view model with regard to IBM Rochester, Hoisington and associates (Hoisington et al., 1993; Naumann and Hoisington, 2001) found that customers' overall satisfaction and loyalty is attributed to a set of common attributes of the company (as perceived by the customers) and satisfaction levels with specific dimensions of the entire company. The common attributes include ease of doing business with, partnership, responsiveness, knowledge of customer's business, and the company's being customer driven. The key dimensions of satisfaction about the company include technical solutions, support and service, marketing, administration, delivery, and company image. The dimension of technical solutions includes product quality attributes. In the following, we list several attributes under each dimension:
It is remarkable that in Hoisington's customer view model, company image is one of the dimensions of customer satisfaction. Whether this finding holds true in other cases remains to be seen. However, this finding illustrates the importance of both a company's actual performance and how it is perceived with regard to customer satisfaction.
It is apparent that customer satisfaction at both the company level and the product level needs to be analyzed and managed. Knowledge about the former enables a company to take a comprehensive approach to total quality management; knowledge about the latter provides specific clues for product improvements.
Yet another type of analysis centers on why customers choose a company's products over other companies', and vice versa. This kind of analysis requires information that is not available from regular customer satisfaction surveys, be they product level or company level. It requires data about customers' decision making for purchases and requires responses from those who are not the company's current customers as well as those who are. This type of analysis, albeit difficult to conduct, is worthwhile because it deals directly with the issue of gaining new customers to expand the customer base.
What Is Software Quality?
Software Development Process Models
Fundamentals of Measurement Theory
Software Quality Metrics Overview
Applying the Seven Basic Quality Tools in Software Development
Defect Removal Effectiveness
The Rayleigh Model
Exponential Distribution and Reliability Growth Models
Quality Management Models
In-Process Metrics for Software Testing
Complexity Metrics and Models
Metrics and Lessons Learned for Object-Oriented Projects
Measuring and Analyzing Customer Satisfaction
Conducting In-Process Quality Assessments
Conducting Software Project Assessments
Dos and Donts of Software Process Improvement
Using Function Point Metrics to Measure Software Process Improvements
A Project Assessment Questionnaire