To benchmark or not to benchmark

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After a number of months’ radio silence, the time has come: the fieldwork is done! In the end, 6 companies from 4 different branches participated in my research, and I’ve completed the analyses for the 6 individual companies. That’s a pretty good source of a benchmark, you’d imagine….
A benchmark. I’ve yet to encounter a company which doesn’t sit up and take notice as soon as the term benchmark enters the conversation. “So we can compare ourselves with market colleagues and competitors. Check how we’re performing.” Yes indeed, I’ll always be an advocate of stimulating companies to come together and learn from each other. However….. no doubt you know what’s coming next: there are very few companies who really want to do so. To truly improve themselves, and actually be open to what other people do well and what they themselves can learn.

Poor score excuses

In my experience, here’s what happens 9 times out of 10. If the company in question scores well versus the benchmark, they tend to rest on their laurels. After all, they’re already the top performer, so why invest in even further improvement? They make the most of it for some positive PR, and that’s that. If the same company scores poorly versus the benchmark, well …

  • “…of course company X has a totally different organization to us. ”
  • “…but company X also has a much less complex service organization than we do”
  • “…let’s not forget that company X has a completely different clientèle to us”

Suddenly the results are not comparable, so to speak. And once again, they manage to find a reason to rest on their laurels…

As inspiration

So what to do in such a case, when you’re sitting on a fantastic set of data for contact centers to benchmark themselves in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty, employee satisfaction and loyalty, their learning capacity and the added value which they have for the total organization…. Of course you simply explain the insights gained from the benchmark in order to inspire one or more readers to boost their organization to great heights…

Quantum leap

The main conclusion of the research is that the time has come for a Quantum Leap in the contact center world. In recent years, most of the focus has been on operational aspects (waiting times, accessibility, IVR, etc.). And the fruits of that labor are now being plucked: none of the 6 organizations scored particularly poorly for such aspects. What you then see is that customers begin to attach importance to other aspects. The waiting times or the opening hours are no longer significant, as all the organizations have them under control. They simply need to monitor these operations and ensure they stay up to par, but this should no longer be the primary focus of the contact center. If this part of the service process work to deteriorate however, it would once again gain significance. It’s a so-called dissatisfier: customers are not overjoyed when it works effectively, but become extremely dissatisfied when it does not. Keep monitoring it therefore, but remove it from your primary focus list.

Trust in problem-solving

It therefore no longer has any real (direct) impact on customer satisfaction. So what does? Much more important are aspects such as trust in the problem-solving capacity, the feeling that the organization knows me as a customer and is there for me. That they do something with my signals, that they listen to me. This requires a whole new way of managing the contact center and also a different role to be claimed by the contact center in the organization. After all, such customer experiences can no longer be considered separately from the total service package offered by an organization. As the contact center, if we promise a customer that he will receive a form within five days, the customer experience does not end upon the contact center employee concluding the conversation and making this promise.

End-to-end customer experience journey

The wearer of the current, operational glasses would say: great, another First time fix, as the customer experience is now complete for the contact center and can no longer be influenced. For the customer however, this experience is only satisfactorily completed once he has actually received the requested form within the promised 5 days. So you actually want to be able to manage this end-to-end customer experience journey. You need to manage this end-to-end customer experience journey. And that’s exactly why the time is ripe for “The Contact Center Quantum Leap”…

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