When it comes to customer loyalty, benchmarks provide a gauge for companies to determine how they are delivering customer experience.
Today Satmetrix released its 2010 Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks for the insurance, financial services, airlines, telecommunications, technology, retail, and online services industries based on survey responses from 19,500 U.S. consumers. John Abraham, general manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix, said that the scores serve as an indicator of how companies are performing.While there weren't any major surprises (USAA was the leader in financial services with an NPS of 81 percent and JetBlue and Southwest were the frontrunners in the airlines sector), a few companies showed room for improvement, while others recorded significant increases.
Brokerage and investment institutions saw a significant increase in NPS over the previous year, signaling a recovery in customer trust. Overall the sector achieved an average NPS of 29 percent, up more than 20 points. In that sector, Citigroup had more detractors than promoters, earning an NPS of negative 9 percent.
Abraham said yesterday that the larger brands like Citibank have had a hard time. "The real question is 'Can they turn around the situation with customer perception?'"
In addition, health insurance as an industry had the lowest NPS, and Cigna within that sector, had an NPS of negative 28 percent. "Cigna is a large national company, and it's a bit of a challenge there to foster personal relationships with providers," Abraham said.
In telecommunications, Verizon Wireless led the sector again this year with an NPS of 41 percent, while AT&T dropped to the bottom with a score of 9 percent. Abraham wonders whether AT&T's brand issues will affect Apple. "Clearly AT&T is having problems and customers are challenged with the experience," he said.
Abraham noted a couple big improvements. Symantec showed the most significant increase between 2007 and 2009, with an NPS of 36 percent. Abraham attributes the jump to the company spending three years building an anti-virus software release around the customer experience. Charles Schwab also showed a big improvement and remained at the top of its sector with an NPS of 46 percent even when the markets were down. "They did a lot of right things about reaching out and using NPS internally," Abraham said. "They have a maniacal focus on the customer."
Abraham noted that while companies have improved their customer feedback efforts over the past year, he said they still need to improve on how they act on the feedback. "There needs to be a focus on 'what can I do to differentiate?.... These companies should be asking themselves, 'Am I happy with that mix? Is that consistent with the financials of our company, and is it where we want to be three years from now?"