Benchmarking Surveys for Competitor Comparison

Many firms use some form of benchmarking to determine their relative market position. These surveys can typically rate suppliers and may cover the following areas:

• Brand - the importance in selecting supplier and what proportion mention it without prompting.

• Corporate responsibility - how important is it and is this evident?

• International reach - cross-border working.

• Loyalty - would you provide a reference to another organisation?

• Reputation - the importance in selecting supplier; the importance of supplier achieving awards.

• Sector experience - how important in selection and how well was this demonstrated?

• Social media - whether the Client has commented on the supplier on social media.

- Interview questions on Client satisfaction typically focus on the following areas:

• Client experience - how did the Client feel in dealing with the firm?

• Commerciality - how well was this demonstrated?

• Communications - how well was this demonstrated?

• Costs and value for money - what level was achieved?

• Deliverables vs proposal - how well did the supplier meet promises made at their pitch?

• Friendliness of the team - how well did the firm's people get on with the Client?

• International focus - how was this demonstrated and used?

• Loyalty - would you provide a reference to another organisation?

• Market reputation - how well-known is the firm perceived to be?

• Partner I expert accessibility - importance and execution.

• Responsiveness - speed of response to queries, changes to requirements.

• Service delivery - the processes used.

• Service quality - the way that the service was delivered; was it smoothly executed or disruptive?

• Team members - how did they perform together and individually?

• Timeliness of responses and output - how well were timings met?

Qualitative Aspects of Client Satisfaction Interviews

In addition to the scored questions, face-to-face interviews in particular are a very useful source of verbatim comments about the firm. These can be reported back to the appropriate people for action as needed. Such qualitative comments can be used, with the Client's permission, in case studies and articles. Comments will vary considerably between Clients being reviewed.

Positive comments

Here are some examples of positive comments taken from the author's research:

'The relationship partner is clearly one of the best in her field.'

'The partner takes an interest in our business and knows the sector well.'

'The partner is very bright and has tremendous insights into our operations.'

'Their international footprint matched well with our own operations and provided a seamless service.'

'They put an incredible amount of time into developing their relationships with us.'

'The team is always challenging us to review our processes for improvements.'

"Their technical knowledge is second to none.'

We have had the same team for several years and that stability has paid off

'They give excellent value for money.'

'They give me the best legal option rather than lots of reports.'

'Their team built an excellent rapport with my people within a very short time from being instructed.'

Negative comments

Here are some comments suggesting that improvements are needed:

We felt that our previous supplier was more proactive and curious about our business.'

'The firm seemed to find our international project a bit difficult to manage.'

'They need someone who oversees all the different work we require, not just a team of partners.'

'When the lead partner changed we noticed a drop in the level of contact.'

'Their technical people are ok but they don't seem to understand the realities we face.'

'They need to be more joined up in their communications.'

'They don't seem to understand where our business is heading.'

'They sometimes take ages to resolve my invoice queries.'

'Once they had merged we hardly saw anyone from the enlarged firm.'

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