Sony Leading the Charge to Promote Service Performance Benchmarking in Europe
The last 15 years unleashed a global flood of communication and international commerce avenues with the Web. But with so much market saturation of goods, how does one company stand out from the next? Many would say by providing outstanding service and support.
While some companies have been measuring service satisfaction for more than a decade, global service performance measurement is relatively new, and international companies are eagerly jumping on board. One such company is Sony ITE, a division of Sony Europe. For the past three years, Sony ITE has actively participated in the CompTIA’s European ServiceMetric Benchmark, similar to the ServiceMetric Benchmark in the United States. “The CompTIA ServiceMetric Benchmark has three very significant dimensions,” said Stephane Lissillour, General Manager of Customer Support for Sony Information Technology Europe. “Foremost, it is an ongoing measurement tool that gives us a clear picture of customer expectations. It also allows us to compare our service performance against similar providers and monitor changes in our service delivery, which ultimately leads to a higher level of service quality.”
The CompTIA European ServiceMetric Benchmark is based on feedback obtained from telephone interviews with customers who just experienced a service event. Customer satisfaction data is gathered, compiled and reported privately to each participant. Customer comments and ratings of service characteristics, such as ease of requesting service, spare parts availability, response time, repair time, professionalism, technical ability, and loyalty are confidentially reported back to individual clients, and consolidated on a monthly basis for the industry benchmark. (Only aggregate data is released publicly.) In addition, participants can break down data by type of service, product, customer, and so on.
“Leading the market in product sales does not mean much if our service satisfaction is not high, because unsatisfied customers usually don’t become repeat customers,” added Lissillour. “One negative customer experience can damage our reputation and threaten the brand. That one person talks to another and another, so positive brand recognition and reputation are paramount in our quest to increase our market share.”
“When we began to search for an outside company to capture customer feedback, we found that it was very expensive and there was still no way for us to compare our service delivery to that of our competitors. Then we discovered that CompTIA has a cost-effective solution that also provides us with benchmark data on a monthly basis. And, the third-party telephone interview approach brings us a higher quality of feedback.” The benchmark gives Sony ITE a decided advantage over non-participating companies in that they better understand service strengths and weaknesses, have the ability to determine the organization’s general health as compared to the competition and can allocate resources to where they make the biggest impact.
“It is imperative for us to understand how our customers view our service compared to other manufacturers,” said Lissillour. “This is a definite advantage for all benchmark participants. The more benchmark participants, the more feedback gathered, the higher the levels of service, the more satisfied the customers, the greater the impact to the bottom line. It’s as simple as that.”
Sony ITE currently gathers customer satisfaction feedback in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. “The fact that the European ServiceMetric Benchmark is a country by country benchmark is major benefit for us,” said Lissillour. “Due to cultural differences from one country to the next, it is important for us to understand customer expectations in each country. A service characteristic such as response time might be more important to customers in one country than professionalism is to those same customers. There’s just no way of knowing without these specific measurement capabilities.”