When it comes to benchmarking customer service teams, operational traits can prove to be a more accurate and relevant point of comparison than common industry classifications.
That’s the overriding finding of the latest Zendesk Benchmark report, which claims New Zealand was pushed out of its number one position as the world’s leader in customer satisfaction by Belgium, which took the lead with the narrowest of margins, with a customer satisfaction score of 97.1% versus the Kiwi’s 97.0%.
Using machine learning techniques to group similar customer service operations, the research also found that support teams fall into four main types that can serve as an alternative to industry benchmarking: relationship builders, masters of complexity, late bloomers and captains of scale.
In country news, Asia led the way with greatest improvement in customer satisfaction with China, Singapore and Vietnam posting the largest gains in the fourth quarter.
Despite the progress, all three countries are still in the bottom half when compared globally. Belgium, New Zealand and Ireland posted the highest customer satisfaction scores for the second quarter in a row, while Belgium barely nudged out the Kiwis for the top spot.
According to findings, overall global customer satisfaction declined slightly in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 94.7 percent and that the travel and retail industries once again experienced the biggest fourth quarter drops in satisfaction during the hectic holiday season.
“Just because teams or businesses are in the same industry does not mean that the way they deliver customer service are always comparable,” says Jason Maynard, senior manager of data and analytics, Zendesk.
“There are many types of customer service operations within the same industry—ranging from small, loosely structured teams that manage a low volume of requests to large, sophisticated support operations that serve millions of customers.
“We wanted to help customer service organisations benchmark themselves against a more relevant set of peers.”
The industries of government and non-profit, IT services, and healthcare took the top three spots for the second quarter in a row, while entertainment and gaming, retail, and travel saw the biggest slump.
The fourth quarter dip in retail and travel was no surprise as the Zendesk Q4 2013 Benchmark Report found that customer satisfaction decrease in retail and travel industries can largely be attributed to increased customer service demands on those industries during their busiest, and most critical, time of the year.