Why did Apple benchmark with the Ritz-Carlton? Are computers the same thing as hotels?
Why did Southwest Airlines benchmark with NASCAR pit crews? Are airplanes the same things as cars?
Benchmarking is usually more about how you do something than what you do. In the article How the Ritz-Carlton Inspired the Apple Store, the author notes how Apple Stores went to the Ritz-Carlton to learn lessons on customer service. Similarly, many years ago Southwest Airlines went to work with NASCAR pit crews to learn how to turn planes at the gate more quickly.
Continuous improvement in any organization involves thinking beyond your world, growing your organization’s collective knowledge by learning from others. What’s more, it can be lots of fun learning, particularly from those in other industries.
To most effectively benchmark, think about how you deliver a service, interact with customers, communicate, process, produce. Try not to think of this in industry terms; instead, think of this in functional terms. For example, as a bank, don’t think “What bank does a great job of increasing the number of accounts with current customers?” Think more broadly such as “What organizations are great at retaining and selling more services to existing account holders?” Instead of benchmarking with another bank, they might consider benchmarking with a pro sports team.
Instead of a local municipality asking “What City/County governments do a great job with their website?”, they should ask “What organizations effectively engage their customers online and leverage those sites to drive interest and traffic to their programs and facilities?”
Benchmarking is a fun way to get creative ideas, to continuously learn, grow, and improve.
So what industry (other than yours) is interesting to you? Go and learn from them.
Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/
Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/
Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/