HDI Community Blog

Southern-Fried Benchmarking
Written by Joh Stoessel Mar 06, 2013

Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, rights, and obligations. In my position, I’m very fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of some great HDI leaders; it’s given me great opportunities to realize success. One inherited item in particular is the HDI Forums benchmarking project. Unless you’re an HDI Forum member, you might not be aware of this project. As this project has evolved and matured, it has provided some great information and value, both of which were very obvious during our recent meeting in Savannah.

First, a little background: In 2006, the HDI Healthcare Providers Forum (HPF) expressed a desire to go deeper into specific metrics as they applied to the healthcare vertical. There were benchmarking and metric resources available from HDI, but they wanted more specific definitions, more level benchmarks, and more data points. The HPF defined specific processes for measuring their metrics and created a profile document with more than 150 specific items about each HPF member’s business. These items make up what we now call the HPF Profile.

The profile contains company-specific data points, including staff size, support tools, and SLA goals. This level of detail really helps individual HPF members understand whether other members are the same level as their companies. The profile also assists the members in knowing who to call about a specific new initiative or reorganization proposal. It’s a priceless reference.

So how are the HPF members using the benchmarking tool to manage their businesses? One member used the report in a meeting with senior leadership where they discussed taking on a new customer base. Variations of this same type of comment echoed around the room several times during the Savannah meeting.

Here is a snapshot of one of the companies we reviewed in Savannah.


It’s easy to see how consistent the service was during the first three quarters of 2012. When I asked what happened during Q4 to cause such a dramatic change in ASA and customer satisfaction, the member just grinned, proof positive that this company’s efforts in the area of support services are paying off.

This same member is about to launch a formal BYOD program and acquire a new hospital. We had a great conversation about what might happen to this chart and what success might look like going forward. Other members shared stories about what happened to their benchmarks when they went through similar situations. In some organizations, ASA is the most important thing, while in other organizations FCR is priority one. But the ability to have data-driven discussions about their businesses adds so much value.

We also looked at SLA goals compared to actual, and discussed how the members’ businesses might adjust their support models to help them reach their goals. Here is an example of that chart.

The HDI Practices & Salary Reports (support center and desktop support) and the HDI Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking Study Report are great tools that focus on key data points. Those who take the time to understand the business by using data, regardless of industry or HDI membership level, will be better off for the effort.

For many years, I worked at a company that managed by feel. While I knew the number of contacts versus the number of tickets created, there wasn’t really any formal reporting or desire on the part of the management team to look at that data. Then the early 2000s hit our business like it hit everyone. I had to figure out a way to develop some key data-driven stories. I leaned heavily on the HDI Practices & Salary Reports to help me understand where our business was compared to others. For me, justification started with a look at our metrics. Having that baseline proved to be incredibly valuable, in ways I never thought it would.

The return on that effort was amazing! (If everything I’d ever done in my career had that great of an ROI and VOI, I could’ve retired at 35!) Even if your company doesn’t look at metrics, I cannot overstress the value you will gain by the effort.

I understand that not every company can join the HDI Forums or engage in their metrics to the level described here. But I challenge you to move your benchmarking program up a notch or two in priority this year. In my experience, it will positively affect your organization is ways you may not expect.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with the HDI Forum members on the benchmarking project and find additional ways to use this tool to make them more successful in their positions. While I can’t share specific data with non-HDI Forum members, I would love to chat with you about how benchmarking could become an integral part of your tool belt! Connect with me on LinkedIn or by email.

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