The American Customer Satisfaction Index (or ACSI) is one way by which goods and services are gauged based on quality indicators that help make the ACSI a valuable economic indicator. The ACSI applies to goods and services bought within the United States and which were made by companies which are of both domestic and international origin but maintain US shares anyway.
The ACSI was the brainchild of the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Business School through its National Quality Research Center. Before the ACSI was developed, economic performance was usually measured based on how much economic output could be produced (or the quantity.) With the advent of the ACSI, it became possible and feasible to create a quality assessment of goods and services as well.
The ACSI has revealed (after twelve years of being implemented and data gathered) that the financial performance of each company evaluated can be determined based predominantly on customer satisfaction. It has been observed that a high ACSI rating by a specific company will eventually reflect in higher company stock performance for that company afterwards.
The ACSI further showed that quality is deemed more valuable than price in the realm of customer satisfaction. In fact, there is evidence that focusing on better quality helps companies perform better overall compared to those companies which only emphasized adjusting their prices.
One surprising feedback from the ACSI statistics indicated that massive acquisitions like mergers (which is very common nowadays particularly in the banking industry) will generally result in a period when quality of service will suffer because the acquisition will divert organizational attention to consolidation issues.