Benchmarking survey results

Background

Customer Champions offers visitors to its website the ability to benchmark their organisation’s performance with regards to their customer feedback programme. Upon completion they receive a summary report and a list of recommended reading of articles from the website. This report examines all of the key areas that are surveyed within the benchmarking survey and the key findings to date. The benchmarking facility is an ongoing service offered to all visitors to the site.

Who has responded?

All replies are anonymous but to provide some guidance on the types of organisations that have completed the survey the following are the key points:

  • Dominated by UK based organisations
  • Even split between international businesses and country-based
  • Equal split between organisations that are primarily B2B in nature with those that are B2C focused, and some representation from the public sector
  • Although a quarter of respondents have a job role of Market Research / Insight, there is a wide variety of representation from Sales, Customer Service and Marketing.

Completing the Customer Champions Cycle

Although we have not asked specific questions about data collection, the highest score for any question was in relation to the quality of the organisation’s customer database. This historically has been an area of concern, but there now seems to be a feeling of progress here. In terms of where customer data is collected, some two thirds of organisations have multiple data sources, of which half believe that this can be overwhelming.

In terms of what form of customer feedback was being collected the significant majority were measuring customer satisfaction, with about half collecting customer complaints and commendations. Although interestingly, less than half gathered feedback on their customers’ view of the competition, and only one in three are recording data about customer retention and willingness to repurchase or recommend.

Organisations’ assessment of their own performance in terms of utilising the feedback can be illustrated using the Customer Champions Cycle:

Maximising the value of customer feedback

As we believe the measurement or data collection is relatively straightforward (as demonstrated in the fact that 95% of organisations do it) we have focused the questions around the other areas. The performance scores are out of 10, with the highest mark going to identifying areas to focus on, with the lowest score being given to linking customer feedback to the financial performance of the organisation (4.0). When you consider it is a 10 point scale there is clearly plenty of room for improvement for the vast majority of companies.

Benchmarking respondents self evaluation

Barriers to communicating change

When respondents were asked to identify what was the largest single barrier to communicating results effectively, most of the comments revolved around the lack of perceived benefit / value to the organisation of acting upon the data. Therefore without this ongoing focus the data would be seen as “nice to know” rather than business critical. It is also interesting to note the lower score for communicating to non-key audiences. If individuals cannot relate their roles to customer feedback it is difficult for them to have any ownership of trying to improve the customers’ experience. When considering the general lack of effectiveness of internal communications, it is interesting to note that the majority of communication is done through a presentation, yet only a third of respondents indicated that workshops are utilised. Customer Champions’ experience is that workshops are by far the most effective approach to not only gaining understanding of customer feedback, but, vitally, the ownership to act upon it.

The importance of ownership of action deployment

Further analysis of the data from the survey illustrates the importance of ownership. Although almost everyone would accept that CEO / MD support for this type of programme is essential in order for it to become successful in terms of making a difference within the business, and ultimately for the customers, ownership of action deployment is also crucial. About half of the respondents indicated that there was someone responsible for deploying the actions that arise from the feedback. When you compare their scores with those organisations who don’t have someone responsible for deploying actions, they are higher on all but one occasion (the one exception being linking customer feedback data to financial data, where they are the same).
Related to ownership and the lack of success in deploying actions is the relatively small percentage of employees who are rewarded on the basis of the results of the customer measurements; perhaps this lack of a financial incentive is lowering the importance to the business of this aspect of operations.

Having either identified what actions need implementing, or having implemented them, about half of organisations claim to communicate back to their customers, with an individual letter or email being the most popular approach.

The number one issue to tackle

Finally, when looking at budgets invested for carrying out the survey and the amounts invested to implement change based upon the results, the value of the latter’s budget is on average three quarters that of the investment to collect the data. Without the link to the KPIs of the business it is always going to be difficult to obtain significant investment to improve the customers’ experience, unless the senior management can see their return on investment. In today’s markets this has to be the number one issue to tackle.

Take the next step

To benchmark your organisation’s performance in relation to your customer feedback programme and receive a personalised list of recommended reading, take the benchmarking survey now.

To discuss how to improve your customers’ experiences of your organisation, get in touch.

Share this