How do you match up?
So is this score good or bad?
One of the reasons a standardized metric can be interesting to an organization is the ability to benchmark the results. Benchmarking adds context to your understanding of how you are doing and where you want to go.
At the same time, your business is unique and benchmarking is one element to help you organize around your performance. Benchmarking will tell you where you fit in a range of scores, and this is useful to know if you should panic or break out the champagne. But each organization has its own business model and growth strategy. Each has different number of competitors, different market advantages, positioned themselves to compete on a certain dimension, or within a certain price segment.
Where do you want to be?
Benchmarking is part of establish goals – where do you want to fit, 50th percentile, top site... You may be a company determined to compete on customer experience, or you may want to maintain a reasonable level of customer service while you compete on other dimensions such as price or choice. Other components like how key perceptual metrics drive ROI from outcomes like conversion, loyalty, word of mouth will also factor in to your decisions around investment as well and goal setting. When tracking the success of your strategy and tactics, your distance from the benchmark (reaching it or exceeding it by a certain percentage) will be one KPI among others to evaluate.
While providing valuable benchmarking our solution must also provide flexibility so that you can explore what you need to explore and not be hampered by constraints that do not help you go beyond establishing where you fit.. Benchmarking may provide additional context, but it does not provide the recommendations. You will need flexibility and additional methodologies in your platform to get to root cause.
The right balance...
How do you provide relevant benchmarking while keeping the research active and providing the flexibility for an organization to shape their engagement tools for their business model and their strategies? By creating simple standardized metrics and making them widely available to everybody. iPerceptions has built the largest data base of websites measuring Task Completion and Overall Experience ratings in the online VoC space. This provides the broadest breadth of sites to compare yourself to, while allowing companies to use the rest of their survey real estate to focus on the specifics of their individual business.
Breadth is the best way to look provide the market context. We believe that determining where you sit in the broadest possible context is the right starting point to understand what kind of experience you are delivering to your visitors. To drill down, you should then compare against sites that share objectives – is it a marketing site, a transactional site, an audience building site? Or compare how you are doing against similar user intent, such as researching, looking for support, etc. Or within multiple industries, how am I looking (more on that later). Be careful on the industry – once companies start narrowing to the select clients that make up a direct comparison, the relevance can dwindle, mainly because no two companies have exactly the same strategy (price, locations, distribution, product select, target audience, etc) and your strategy is the true differentiator that you want to measure.
iPerceptions owns the greatest database of sites giving you the flexibility to compare yourself, set targets, and monitor what the overall landscape is doing. We believe this is the most relevant use of benchmarking data and are building our service accordingly. We will pursue growing the base, building new segments (please, feel free to suggest!) and adding new standardized metrics to make sure you have an active and ongoing pulse of the landscape from which to add context to your results.
Comparative vs. Competitive benchmarking
At iPerceptions we provide the largest comparative database for the industry to use. We do not expose individual client names – our goal is to encourage broad participation to provide the best representation out there. A direct client to client comparison may be needed in some situations and this is where panel providers will specialize. By leveraging panels they can provide rigorous methodological standardization, expose individual results, and make sure they have appropriate coverage of the market. It must be understood that by using panel they tend to measure the results of strategy after the fact and not measure situations where visitor interactions are occurring and perceptions are being formulated. They do give a longer term perspective that is interesting to look across broad intervals (yearly, bi-yearly). Beware benchmarks that mix methods from both panel and intercept methods, as these methods do not generate the same results and the blending of sampling methodologies negates the structure but still constrains flexibility.