Benchmarking is a useful tool for tracking survey results. It allows credit unions to measure their performance against their own history, their competitors, and even other industries.
Two of the more common standard survey types that credit unions use are Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and customer effort scores (CES). We’ve already covered NPS scores in a couple of other blogs, so we’ll switch gears for this one.
Read on to learn how to perform customer effort score benchmarking at your credit union.
What Is a Customer Effort Score, Briefly?
The customer effort score is a way of measuring how much effort it takes for customers to complete a transaction, purchase, request, or interaction. Higher CES scores indicate easier, more convenient services, which have been linked to significantly increased customer loyalty.
CES questions usually look something like this:
“How easy did we make it to apply for your credit card?” or “How easy was it to open your new share draft account?”
Responders answer on a 7-point scale (usually), with 1 meaning “very difficult,” and 7 meaning “very easy.”
Generally speaking, higher scores correlate to an increased likelihood of customer or member retention. On the other hand, lower scores are good predictors of customer or member attrition.
Caveats in Benchmarking Customer Effort Scores
CES scores are more difficult to benchmark than NPS scores. For starters, they’re not as common a metric. Overall, fewer businesses worldwide rely on CES scores, which makes cross-industry benchmarking more difficult.
The other caveat to CES scores is that there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. Generally, CES scores don’t translate between industries. You wouldn’t measure the ease of opening a share draft account in a marketing automation provider, for instance.
Even within an industry, CES scores can be difficult to compare. Especially in the credit union industry, different credit unions offer different experiences to different memberships. Their location, their goals, and their mission may differ so much that benchmarking might give misleading results.
These differences make benchmarking difficult, but not impossible.
There are two relatively easy ways to benchmark your credit union using CES surveys. Fortunately, they are not mutually exclusive, and using both methods may yield better results.
First, benchmark specific services against competitors. You may want to measure how easy your account opening process is. Or you could measure how easy it is to set up automatic bill pay. Or how easy it is to manage accounts online or through mobile.
The idea is that you should see if you’re making specific services easier or more difficult for your members. If you’re making things more difficult than the financial institution down the street, then it might be time to revamp your approach or search for a new provider.
The second way to benchmark CES scores is to measure it historically. Continue tracking your CES for various services over time to see what effect any changes have on your convenience overall.
Benchmarking CES against yourself is particularly useful after new conversion projects. New online banking provider? Benchmark! New loan origination system? Benchmark. New ATM fleet? Benchmark! You might find that your improvements made things worse. Or you might see that one of your beloved systems is creating friction for your members.
Make It Easy on Yourself
The whole idea behind CES surveys is that you want to make things easy for others. But don’t forget to make things easy on yourself, too:
Remember the limitations of CES surveys. They can measure only so much. They work best when used in conjunction with other survey types as well. (And also they work better when you measure a particular CES over time so you can build up historical data for benchmarking.)
Finally, just remember that benchmarking itself is useful only if you use your survey information! It’s no use at all if you administer the survey, get the results, and then just sit on the information without doing anything.
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