To obtain great customer experience and benchmark the right way, avoid these four common mistakes to ensure the effort you put in is worthwhile.
Comparing Apples to Oranges
Just because another company has a higher net promoter score (NPS) than you doesn't mean that they have happier customers or are doing better. How one company measures NPS, CSAT or CES won't be exactly the same as how another does, so ultimately, it is bad practice to compare metrics that were obtained by different data collection methods. You need to understand the context, purpose, strategy and measurement tools to do a really accurate, successful comparison. When you are comparing these metrics, take care to maintain a healthy level of objectivity rather than examining statistics at face value. With internal benchmarking, the same rule applies. For example, don't strictly compare the progress of a team of 5 to that of a team of 50 - their working habits and goals will likely be really different. You need to ensure that you are comparing things like-for-like or the conclusions you draw from the exercise could be inaccurate.
Looking at Yesterday's Scores
Another all too common mistake is forgetting that the customer journey is a moving, living, ever-evolving process. What was good for customers yesterday may not be great tomorrow. This holds especially true when comparing your performance to your competitors. No good company has a stagnant CX strategy, so even the industry leader or top performer is doing things to get better every day. Customer expectations are always improving, and high performers in each industry want to stay on top. If you're trying to catch up with your competitors to become as good or better, you're going to be left behind if you set your performance goals based on what they did to be the best yesterday. You need to move your CX strategy with the benchmark in real-time, thinking strategically ahead, so that you don't end up aiming for mediocrity.
Only Focussing on the Top Performers
Whether you are benchmarking internally or externally (you can read more about that distinction here) you need to be careful of where you set the bar. If benchmarking internally, your top performers should be rewarded for their hard work and great service, but setting their scores as a barometer of how others should be doing with have a negative effect on employee experience generally. For your lowest performers, the group who will need the most help and encouragement, you're not setting an attainable or achievable goal. They will be entirely discouraged to have so far to climb. You should set a more attainable goal of getting into a top tier of the top quartile of performers. This will encourage healthy competition amongst those within the top tier to get to the number one spot, while also giving lesser performers the motivation to do well.
Not Taking Action
The reason you should be benchmarking is to improve CX not to create competition or to report metrics to your c-suite. There is so much to be learned from benchmarking your customers' experiences, but without using the actionable insights gained to improve your performance, the entire exercise will not be worthwhile. The goal of benchmarking as a business strategy should be to ensure you are a step ahead of the competition and the experience that you offer is of a standard where you are always, delivering on your brand promise. Benchmarking customer experience should form part of the overall CX strategy. The additional context from customer experience benchmarking should highlight your strengths, weaknesses and provide clarity on where you need to allocate resources. With these goals driving your strategy you will surely see improvements, but if pushing the agenda to have improved scores or metrics via competition, you won't see genuine results.