Effective Voice of the Customer programs drive sales and improve retention. Measuring your performance against relevant Voice of the Customer benchmarks will be crucial if you want to understand the ROI of your strategy, identify blind spots, and ultimately boost your bottom line.
When Abbie Griffin coined the term Voice of the Customer (VoC) in this 1993 MIT paper, she gave us the language for the systematic approach a company takes for integrating consumer opinion into their business strategy. It mattered then. It matters even more now.
Research from the Aberdeen group showed that VoC programs increase customer retention by up to 55%. And considering that it costs between 6 and 7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, an effective VoC strategy is non-negotiable.
In a world where collation and analytical tools are built into the digital ecosystem of VoC design, ranking your efforts to ensure that you measure up to the expectations of the landscape has never been easier—or more important.
The 411 on Measuring and Tracking your VoC Program
Voice of the Customer (VoC) is your system for collating, analyzing, and actioning customer feedback. Through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social media engagement, you gather data about how your customer thinks and feels about your business. The aim then is to use this information to improve your customer experience (CX) or, in the B2B space, Account Experience (AX).
So with that in mind, Voice of the Customer benchmarks are subtly different from CX and AX benchmarks.
Here, you’re not only judging how well you’re doing at offering a superb experience. Rather, you’re assessing how well your feedback systems are working, how easy they make it for you to close the loop, and most importantly, how all of this feeds into your bottom line.
Monetizing your Voice of Customer Metrics
According to research for our The State of B2B Account Experience report, in the B2B arena only 62% of companies link their experience program to revenue and ROI.
Not all customer accounts are of equal value to your business. It’s likely that 20% are driving 80% of your revenue.
Therefore, if you don’t add a layer of revenue insights into your voice of customer program you’re not getting the full picture. An aggregate 90 NPS score is great, but what if all your detractors are your largest accounts?
Furthermore, your program offers insights that should be used to generate revenue growth. Your customer account experience data shows you where to stop churn, where to get referrals, and where your upsell opportunities might be.
For those reasons, we suggest that your success metrics also focus on peripheral metrics. For example, revenue coverage—are you getting feedback from 80% of your revenue base? 90%? If you don’t work towards 100% of revenue coverage then you’re at-risk of losing revenue.
In the Account Experience Awards, we highlight companies doing extraordinarily well in the voice of customer metrics that matter: response rates, revenue coverage, employee engagement, and closing the loop.
The tools to perform this checkup are the VoC benchmarks that count. We’ll take you through them.
6 Most Important Voice of the Customer Benchmarks
Here, we’re going to cover the Big Five metrics to benchmark against:
Response rate benchmarks
Closing the loop rate benchmarks
1. NPS (Net Promoter Score) Benchmarks
In a single survey question, NPS asks how likely your customer is to recommend your company to a friend or colleague.
Because NPS is about the overall impressions of your company, it’s a particularly important benchmark when it comes to VoC. So that brings us to the all important question:
Well, that all depends who you ask.
NPS is measured by subtracting “detractors” (those unlikely to recommend your business) from promoters (those likely to recommend your business). From this, you get a score, somewhere between -100 and +100.
If we look at global NPS standards, anything above 0 is good, and anything over 50, excellent. (If you’re heading over the 70 mark, you’re in exceptional territory.)
To give you a gauge, here are some of how some of the top companies are faring:
If you want to look up a specific company, we’ve made it easy for you with the largest database of NPS benchmarks on the planet. Head here.
Interpreting Your NPS Score
But there are a few different ways you can interpret this score. One is to see this score as universally “good” or “bad.”
Another is to look at your results in comparison to your competitors. To understand that, here’s a sneak peak into the average score for key industries:
Consumer electronics - 52
Software - 36
Fashion - 40
Financial services - 44
Utilities - 58
Yet another is to judge yourself only according to your own previous performance. This can be particularly useful if you’re looking to track growth. (We take you through this in more detail here.)
So yes, your NPS (and CSAT and CES) scores can be important indicators when it comes to how well your VoC system is performing.
But “NPS,” as our VP Cary Self explains, “is not a research tool, it’s an action tool.” On its own, it’s but a number. It’s what you do with that number that counts. That means that unless you monetize this metric and act on it, it’s not really the valuable tool it could be.
But here’s the clincher: our research showed that 70% of B2B companies don’t tie their experience data to revenue. Without this tie, you run the risk of spending a lot of time and money engaging with vanity metrics where the goal is simply to get a good score rather than to grow your business. When this happens, your tools become cut off from your business, and you may as well abandon them altogether.
Tying important CX metrics to revenue is the most valuable way to find out the real-world impact of the programs you have instituted. How is each project affecting your bottom line? Without this knowledge, your efforts can become largely theoretical.
So how do you do this? To address this issue in the B2B arena, our Account Experience methodology uses our proprietary Monetized Net Promoter Score, where revenue is built into this valuable metric.
By integrating retention, referrals and up-sales and cross-sales into your NPS strategy, this metric is not only about measuring VoC or even acting on your findings—but about how you use all of this to grow your bottom line.
By the way, you can find 40 more NPS benchmarks here.
2. CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) Benchmarks
This metric measures how satisfied your customers are with a specific point somewhere on the customer journey.
Customers use either a 1 to 5, or 1 to 10 scale to answer the question:
“How satisfied are you with [blank]?”
This can be with regards to a specific touchpoint or the company as a whole. It’s then worked out according to this equation:
(Total number Top 2 responses) / (Total responses) * 100 = % of satisfied customers)
The answer should be a measurement of retention, with the higher your company doing, the better.
So how do you know if you’re measuring up?
80% and above is a top score
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), the average score for American companies sits at around 74%.
To compare your results within your industries, here are the current averages:
Wireless Phone Services
Internet Service Providers
3. CES (Customer Effort Score) Benchmarks
CES is a measurement of how hassle-free it is for your customers to interact with your business. It’s based on survey questions like:
How easy was it for you to solve your problem today?
The customer has the choice to rate on the Likert scale (strong disagree to strongly agree) or on a numbered scale. Then, it’s worked out as follows:
(Total sum of responses) / (Number of responses) = your CES score
This one’s a tough one to find an average for because different companies work it
out in different ways (numbered vs. Likert). But the idea is the higher the score, the
And this is important because customer effort is an important driver of customer
loyalty. Low customer effort reduces churn and improves loyalty, both of which
drive down costs.
4 and 5. Response Rate and Coverage Benchmarks
Response rates help you measure customer engagement with your company—as well as how likely they are to recommend your company to others. (Response rates and NPS scores have a significant link. Higher response rates tend to mean higher NPS scores.)
An easy metric can be implemented here:
As things currently stand in the B2B sphere, average response rates are sitting at around 12.4%—4.5% on the low end and 39.3% on the high end. But you may, like us, find this unacceptable.
We think this is a great result—but we can go even further. That’s why we’ve implemented what we call our 100 / 100 goals — 100% account response, with 100% rate of closing the loop.
Why this focus on response rates? Because they affect all other metrics. Improve them, and you improve the health of your overall VoC system. (For tips on how to do that, head here.)
Here is the top voice of customer response rate benchmark from our own customers (they won the 2022 Account Experience Award for response rates—so are top of their game):
Engro Corporation in 2021
But now the plot thickens.
If you only survey a small percentage of your customer base, it’s easier to get higher response rates. But are these significant? Well, not as significant as they could be. Again, the goal here is to steer away from vanity metrics.
Our research showed that when coverage grows, so do the sales of existing customers as well as those generated by referrals. Coverage can also impact your NPS score by 8.5 points per year.
Higher coverage helps you identify more promoters and leverage them for cross-sales, up-sales, and referrals. It also helps you identify churn risks before churn happens and get a more complete understanding of your VoC strategy as a whole.
Here is the top voice of customer coverage benchmark from our own customers (they won the 2022 Account Experience Award for revenue coverage—so are top of their game):
Unilode in 2021
6. Closing the loop rate
As we show evidence for in our article on closing the loop, companies that close the loop see a 3x increase in the number of promoters when they survey them again.
Showing your customers you’re listening and acting really matters to them.
Here is the top voice of customer close the loop rate benchmark from our own customers (they won the 2022 Account Experience Award for closing the loop—so are top of their game):
Briggs Equipment in 2021
We suggest closing the loop within 24-48 hours with NPS detractors, especially from your largest accounts.
Voice of Customer Benchmarks: The Bottom Line
Your VoC program is integral to your growth—but without the right Voice of the Customer benchmarks, you can find yourself flying blind.
If you’re in the B2B arena and would like to discuss how our proprietary platform Account Experience can transform your VoC and CX strategies, get in touch today. We’re not the Number One ranked B2B Experience platform for nothing.