Notes on customer satisfaction benchmark scores.

Background

InfoQuest is unusual in that it has a very large and comprehensive library of questions and statements that have been used in hundreds of thousands of business-to-business (B2B) customer satisfaction surveys.  Some of these questions and statements (Question Set 1 – see below) have been used in every survey since 1989.  This allows us to provide benchmarking scores, so that our clients can see how they compare with all the other B2B organisations that have asked the same question.

The Curve

The customer satisfaction benchmark scores, or comparisons, are shown for each question set in Section 3 of your report.  They show the highest and the lowest score ever achieved, the median (or the top point in a Gaussian curve), and where you appear as a percentage.  If you score 91% then you can be secure in the knowledge that you are in the top 10% in whatever process is being assessed.

Against Whom?

We are sometimes asked to provide benchmark scores for a specific industry.  This we can do.  However, we will always provide the wider, B2B scores as well.  Why?  Think about the decision-makers at your most important customers.  They are almost certainly not just buying from organisations that supply the same products and services that you provide them with.  Those decision-makers will also be working with lawyers and accountants and bankers and foreign exchange bureaux and service suppliers and logistics and supply chain companies.  So when they think about ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for example, they are not just comparing you with your competitors.  They are comparing you with all-comers.

Since 1989?

Does it matter that some of the benchmark scores are based on data that was collected 26 years ago?  Well, no, not really.  Because what is being measured is perception versus expectation.

26 years ago very few organisations had timed deliveries.  Suppliers were given a delivery date which was a month – “We need these springs delivered in March”.

Nowadays suppliers are told to deliver on March 14th at 16:45.

40 years ago people were delighted when their company car had leather seats and electric windows. Nowadays you might be disappointed if your company car couldn’t parallel-park all on its own.

So the customer’s expectation is always on the rise.  They are always expecting more and better.  You have to keep improving.  Like trying to walk up the ‘Down’ escalator, you’ve got to keep going or you’ll go backwards.

Warning

Which leads neatly on to the warning – don’t get too fixated on the benchmarks.

I have this problem in some of the post-survey workshops that I run.  Clients can get bogged down in Section 3, looking at the scores.  I have to move them forward, into the granular detail of the report.  For it is only in the detail, where we treat your customers as individuals with differing needs and wants, with different pressures, opportunities and threats, that you and your team can identify what needs to be done, based on this feedback.  Please read my very first blog, Treating Customers as Individuals to see where I’m coming from.

Invitation

It would be my pleasure to take you through the example report in a one-to-one ‘phone call.  Please get in touch and ask for me, John Coldwell.

Question Set 1

A. On an overall basis, how satisfied are you with our company?

B. How satisfied are you with the ease of doing business with our company?

C. I would purchase products or services from your company again.

D. I would recommend your company to an associate.