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Customer Care Benchmarking Study Released

April 21, 2009

Customer Operations Performance Center, a consultancy on customer contact centers and vendor management operations, and Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, a professional society of customer care consultants from the Fortune/Forbes 1000, have released results of what they say is the first ever multi-industry benchmarking study for customer care.

The findings, according to officials of both firms, reveal detailed customer satisfaction data for the household and personal care, food and beverage, retail and consumer goods, pharmaceutical and medical devices and the travel and hospitality industries. Since 2005, COPC (News - Alert) and SOCAP have conducted similar annual customer care benchmarking studies of the automotive industry.

Participants in the survey include over 40 companies across five verticals with combined annual revenue of over $170 billion. It looked at ten customer satisfaction and operational categories such as complaint management, quality monitoring and operational metrics.

According to the results, 98 percent of the firms provide customer service or post sales support (which were the two percent, he wondered idly), and 80 percent-plus use more than one support type.  Twenty-one percent don’t measure customer satisfaction, 24 percent measuring customer satisfaction do not consistently achieve defined performance targets and 65 percent have an external customer service center.

And while 95 percent have a quality monitoring process, 89 percent do not use offshore support sites and 33 percent use “temporary” agents to reflect the degree of seasonality in their business.

“We will supplement the SOCAP member findings with global benchmark findings and best practices from our 1,200+ audits in 50 countries,” says Cliff Moore, chairman and co-founder of COPC.

COPC officials say they will present the results of the customer care benchmarking study this week during the annual SOCAP Symposium in Chicago, and that each of the survey participants will also receive a detailed benchmarking report.

Los Angeles-based Passenger has also announced the release of research data and an accompanying white paper by Sector Intelligence analyzing how companies are currently using social media as part of their corporate marketing and product development strategies, finding that “interactive communities provide deeper insight into customers’ needs than traditional market research.”

The study's highlights include findings that 86 percent of respondents report that private online communities provide richer insight into customer needs, 33 percent report that the community input alone has actually changed product designs and marketing plans and 43 percent report they use fewer focus groups as a direct result of engaging in collaboration via the private online community while 36 percent report conducting fewer surveys.

Sixty-four percent say the community has improved the context for decision-making within the company, and fully 96 percent report that their marketing department is deriving value from collaboration with customers, with 71 percent reporting the same for market research and 66 percent reporting a positive impact on product development.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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