A Benchmark Story of my Own

Benchmarking is often a difficult task both within your own organisation and across industries. Differing brand and industry rankings only go so far in giving us a true outlook on customer service performance across verticals, and often for the companies involved, give little insight into why they received the scores they did, and more importantly how to improve them.

But how does this come back to me and my benchmark story you may ask. Well as my friends and family know, I am currently in the process of moving house and with this comes the somewhat laborious task of contacting numerous companies to arrange everything from removal services to changing the address with your bank. While calling around I realised, that I myself was getting a first-hand benchmark of my providers, and companies of who I am the customer. So here are my thoughts on the little study I undertook:

  • Let’s start off simple, only one of the companies (and there were many) asked for any feedback after the interaction – and this was with a paper survey posted to me a number of days after the event. I might be biased but I would like to feel my opinion is valued a little bit more than it appears.
  • When closing accounts due to moving, the process was not customer centric – requiring me to call back on the day of the move instead of cancelling in advance. Needless to say contacting call centres is not top of my list for the move day. 
  • The range of waiting music was undeniably varied, but some was truly awful, while others were constantly and annoyingly broken up with comments on how I could find a solution to my problem online – not ideal when I knew it wasn’t to be found anywhere on their site. 
  • A number of the places offered truly great service, I had little to no wait, and my requests were dealt with quickly and efficiently both through excellent processes but also friendly and knowledgeable staff.
In all I am perhaps exaggerating the length of time I ultimately spent calling around but something it did clearly demonstrate was if I picked out so much in a short space of time, how powerful it would be to engage every customer after an interaction and ask them about the service they received. If certain issues were causing enough dissatisfaction then these could be easily identified (like I did above) and resolved while good service and process can be praised internally.

The story also highlights the value of benchmarking – by taking a rounded look at each company or organisation (albeit from different sectors and verticals) I was able to quickly see who was better and why. Although my benchmark was of an extremely limited scope, a broader and more in depth piece of work would undoubtedly reap rewards.

Tom Lynam

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