Customer Satisfaction Dips Slightly Amid a Weak Economy

NEW YORK — Dips in consumer satisfaction of the athletic shoe market were minimal in the third quarter despite a shaky Wall Street and a worsening economic climate, according to a new report.

Customer satisfaction has been steadily worsening since 2007, but a report released today by the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows satisfaction of major athletic shoe manufacturers in the third quarter only declined 0.1 percent to a score of 75 on the organization’s 100-point scale.

“The good news is that there has not been a collapse in customer satisfaction, but rather that the slide in ACSI might be flattening,” said ACSI founder Claes Fornell in a statement. “The bad news is that customer satisfaction will not contribute to aggregate consumer spending as much as it used to. Households are strapped for cash, have little savings and credit is tight.”

The third quarter also marked the first dip in household spending in 17 years, according to the report, though many companies seem to be improving customer relationships.

Athletic shoe companies fared well, with Nike customer satisfaction surging 4 percent to 78. Overall, the athletic shoe industry’s ACSI score of 79 remained unchanged over 2007.

Other brands, including New Balance, Puma and Skechers, collectively saw a 1 percent drop in customer satisfaction to a score of 82.

Customer satisfaction in the apparel sector, meanwhile, fell 2 percent with nearly all the major firms declining or failing to improve. Jones Apparel Group was the exception, leading the industry with a 4 percent jump over 2007, to 84.

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