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Your Benchmarking Scores: "The Chocolate Chip Phenomenon"

To efficiently compare your company's performance against others’ (benchmarking) you need to decide against whom should you be compared. Following is what is known as “The Chocolate Chip Phenomenon” often described by Jean Mork Bredeson, President, SERVICE 800.


Bredeson recalls working with a technology services client, for whom SERVICE 800 was measuring and benchmarking its service quality.   That client was concerned that their company was consistently falling in 2nd or 3rd place, and requested that SERVICE 800 perform special interviews with key customer executives to gain insight on what they could do rate better.


Over the next few days Bredeson and her team began their interviews.  One remarkable comment quickly stood out:  “We don’t rate them higher because they don’t bring chocolate chip cookies.”


A little surprised and confused, the team pressed on.  After more digging. They found that the company that serviced the elevator in the building had a practice of brining a freshly baked batch of cookies with them whenever they came on service calls.  This personal touch and even the aroma of freshly baked cookies would induce quite the positive response.


So what’s the moral of this story?  Many benchmarking programs are focused strictly on allowing competitors to compare against each other. Many times companies refuse to participate in a benchmarking program if a specific competitor or a number of their competitors aren’t participating themselves.  However, what the chocolate chip cookie story tells us is customers don’t necessarily compare you to your competitors, they compare you to the various experiences they receive service, and compare you to the best performers or the remarkable touches they know.


While a direct competitor benchmarking program may tell you where you stack up in your immediate niche, your customers may be comparing you to someone else entirely.  Broaden your horizons and participate in an industry benchmark to see where you really stack up.


Although you think you might shine, you only stand out where you out-shine others.


SERVICE 800 can start a customer satisfaction measurement program for you in days, so you can start simply and evolve your measurements over time.  Why wait? Can you afford not to know? Start improving customer service now.


Topics: CX Blog, Customer Experience

Written by Iresha Herath

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