If you’ve instituted surveys as part of your customer satisfaction program, the next step is to understand the how and why of maximizing the data you have collected from your customers.
That’s where benchmarking comes in. For the IT services industry, surveys give you an opportunity to measure your customer satisfaction levels and a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs) against an industry baseline (created by aggregating similar ratings across an anonymous population of MSPs, VARs and other technology solution providers).
Together, benchmarking and surveys will equip you with data you can use to make short- and long-term impacts on your customer satisfaction and retention rates, and ultimately your bottom-line.
What is Benchmarking and Why Is It Important?
By definition, benchmarking relies on the collection and comparison of a standard set of data points over a period of time. This apples-to-apples approach not only makes it possible for you to compare your own performance from quarter to quarter and year to year, it makes it possible to compare your organization to your peers.
According to ITIL, benchmarking is the process whereby “organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practices”. Further, ITIL asserts that maintaining self-assessment reports alone is not enough to fuel an effective continual improvement program; you need to have a clear view into where your results position you relevant to the best performing businesses in your market segment. In the context of customer satisfaction, that means ranking your performance against data aggregated from similar IT services organizations.
Providers who commit to benchmarking will quickly recognize the intrinsic value and improve the performance of both their employees and their overall business – and significantly improve customer retention.
Using Benchmarking and Surveys Together
Soliciting and collecting feedback from your customers lets you react to issues at a client or staff level, and it’s the first step in creating a continual service improvement program. But, the ability to aggregate that data and analyze it relative to your peers can help you adjust and shape your business processes and maximize the impact of the data you collect.
For benchmarking purposes, and to elevate the overall value of your surveys, you’ll want to use a standard set of questions, common to all benchmarking participants, to ensure the relevance and proper reporting of the results.
With those results in hand, you’ll quickly identify opportunities for improvements. For example, if you find that your technicians’ response times are below the industry average you can make a decision as simple as hiring additional staff or as complex as overhauling your dispatch process. Whatever the need, benchmarking gives you a baseline to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your major service delivery processes.
Simply put, when paired with a regular customer survey program, benchmarking will give you three critical pieces of information you can use to increase overall customer satisfaction:
- A baseline of industry service delivery metrics
- Your company’s current service delivery metrics
- The difference between the two – so you can easily see where and how you can adjust processes to improve your business and build customer retention