Benchmark Intelligence: Making Customer Feedback Actionable
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Benchmark Intelligence: Making Customer Feedback Actionable

Eris Santos, CEO, Benchmark IntelligenceEris Santos, CEO
The move away from paper to tech-based products makes the average consumer consider the standardized way of paper-based or phone-conducted feedback surveys as mundane as it can be. A very low percentage of dissatisfied customers actually come forward, largely due to how businesses currently collect data, with methods ranging from slow phone surveys to old-fashioned comment cards. Several years of experience with customer-oriented startups and insights from the market research industry is what prompted the foundation of Benchmark Intelligence. “A lot of retailers have very little voice of customer data,” asserts Eric Santos, CEO, Benchmark Intelligence. “Our customer feedback tools help businesses have from 5 to 10 times more data each month.”

The inability to provide customer satisfaction due to outdated survey methods and inadequate data is a pain point businesses are often looking to alleviate. Originally aimed at the automotive niche, Fresno-based Benchmark measures customer experience in the restaurant and fashion retail industry. By using artificial intelligence, Benchmark collects data through various mediums including SMS, field visits, social media and more to analyze and identify the variables that affect the customer experience at any given location in a chain.

The distinction between these factors is achieved through the utilization of IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology, with Benchmark being one of the first companies to ever use it. “We might have a restaurant which is bad in service, but product quality might be good. With IBM Watson, we are able to distinguish those variables and provide analytics down to the location level, whether it be the region, state or brand level as a whole,” explains Santos.

We try to grab as much data as we can so that the retail chains can truly know what the customer experience is like at their locations


Benchmark’s offerings are marked by a unique customer experience. “Our SMS customer feedback tool allows customers to text in their feedback about their experience at a brick & mortar location and have a real-time conversation with a human or received automated text based off artificial intelligence,” explains Santos.

The Benchmark Intelligence field auditing product allows the team to conduct secret internal shopping visits, with Benchmark’s dashboard instantly summarizing and importing data into the platform. Moreover, Benchmark aggregates ratings and reviews from social platforms for a specific location through their social media listening product. Santos adds that “third-party social media information is important for analyzing customer feedback, but if you are using that data alone, it’s not enough. We provide a holistic view that defines a Benchmark Score for each location, along with analytics that shows the top and bottom performing locations.”

In one client instance, where they had realized they could not collect enough data from their paper-based surveys, Benchmark came in and was able to raise their Net Promoter Score (NPS) by over 15 points. Another example includes a client that kept getting negative reviews. With the simplicity of Benchmark’s SMS tool, they were able to reduce negative reviews by almost 50 percent across six months, which is impressive. “We try to grab as much data as we can so that the retail chains can truly know what the customer experience is like at their locations,” explains Santos.

Moving to the future, Benchmark is looking to carve automation into their software even more. “There is going to be a heavy pour into artificial intelligence,” says Santos. “Innovation is a big part of where we are today and we want to make sure our offerings get smarter and solve real pain points in regards to customer feedback before rolling them out as a product or feature,” he concludes.

Benchmark Intelligence News

Sparkcentral Named as Finalist in 2019 Stevie® Awards for Sales and Customer Service

San Francisco - Sparkcentral, the leading enterprise messaging customer service platform company, today announced that it was named a Finalist in the contact center solution category in the 13th annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, and will ultimately be a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie Award winner in the program.

The awards are presented by the Stevie Awards, which organizes several of the world's leading business awards shows including the prestigious International Business Awards® and the Stevie Awards for Great Employers.

The Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie placements from among the Finalists will be revealed during a gala banquet on Friday, February 22 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. More than 600 professionals from across the globe are expected to attend.

More than 2,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry, in 45 nations, were evaluated in this year's competition. Finalists were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide, working in seven specialized judging committees. Entries were considered in 93 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year.

Founded in 2012, Sparkcentral was one of the first vendors to offer an enterprise-grade tool for managing customer care conversations on social media as well as live chat and messaging channels. Sparkcentral helps customer support teams manage large volumes of digital messaging inquiries in a streamlined and efficient manner. Sparkcentral's premier blend of traditional social channels with more modern messaging apps, in-web/in-app live messaging as well as SMS not only increases customer satisfaction (CSAT) but also cuts contact center costs by 30 percent.

"The 2019 judges were very impressed by the caliber of this year's nominations, which set another record for this competition. The quality of the accomplishments outlined in every Finalist nomination was remarkable," said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. "We look forward to announcing the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award placements in Las Vegas next month."

"We are honored to be recognized as one of the top contact center solutions by the Stevie® Awards," says Joe Gagnon, CEO of Sparkcentral. "Sparkcentral exists to open a digital channel of communication between customers and businesses through whatever messaging approach they prefer. Our goal is to help empower businesses with the tools they need to communicate with their audience in a technology-driven world, on the consumer's terms."

Companies like JetBlue, Nordstrom, Zappos, Netflix and Western Union are already reaping the rewards of being able to address consumers' concerns in a fast, secure, scalable manner. Sparkcentral has also won the 2016 and 2017 CODiE awards for social care as well as the "High Performer" badge by software review portal G2 Crowd four times in a row in 2018.