Often, companies rely on opinions and guesswork to identify customer pain points. This subjective data can be misleading, outdated, or anecdotal. Businesses should gather data from different sources to determine their CX. The collection of this data should be formalised in a CX audit. In this feature, Barabara Stewart, Propolis Hive expert for CX, outlines the steps you should take.
Regular audits will help you improve your customer experience delivery and improve your CX rating. You will be able to see all aspects of your customer experience in a holistic and impartial way. The audit will help your business:
- Better understand customer needs.
- Gain actionable steps to improve your CX.
- Increase customer satisfaction.
- Build customer trust.
- Increase profit and revenue.
Questions to ask yourself while carrying out
Some questions you should ask while doing a CX audit include the following:
- Do we demonstrate that we have the best interests of our customers in mind?
- Do we listen to our customers and understand their needs?
- How is our communication within our company?
- Are you proud to work for the company?
- In a given day, is it easy to meet customer expectations?
- Do you have the freedom you need to fix customer issues and make them happy?
- Are you capturing continuous customer feedback and opinions over multiple channels?
- Do you have the tools necessary to meet customer expectations?
- Can you provide quick responses across all your digital and physical platforms?
- Does your tech give you a complete view of your customers?
The audit process:
1. Formerly document the customer lifecycle
No customer experience audit is worth its weight in the paper it’s printed on without first knowing the stages of your business’ customer lifecycle.
While there are common sets of lifecycle stages, which can be loosely broken down into two groups: pre-sale (awareness – nurturing – Decision) and post-sale (satisfaction – loyalty – advocacy), each business will experience different stages based on their unique product, geography, competition, etc.
2. Identify customer touchpoints across the lifecycle
Further to the stages that a customer passes through from initial brand awareness to becoming a customer advocate, there are hundreds of potential customer brand-customer touchpoints that influence how (if) the customer moves from one stage to the next.
The next steps require a very detailed documentation of all the touchpoints your business has with clients. This includes social media, email, direct mail, trade shows, trial offers or products, etc at the start of the customer experience lifecycle, to invoicing, post-sales teams, product use, and online engagement at the end of the lifecycle.
3. Gauge the influence of each touchpoint on the customer experience
With each touchpoint, your business’ prospect or customer is influenced to continue to the next stage of the customer lifecycle, stay where they are, or drop out of it entirely.
Each experience results in a determination of the value of doing business with you, and a perception of the difficulty or worth of maintaining that relationship.
4. Cross reference customer satisfaction ratings with customer value ratings
A customer may love the engagement they have with your sales team in person or online, but what influence does that engagement have on their decision to buy or not buy?
A customer may be satisfied with product support and warranty, but is that satisfaction enough to keep him or her a customer if a competitive product becomes available for less?
A proper audit will cross-reference customer satisfaction of each touchpoint with the influence that that touchpoint has on a decision to spend the same, less, or more money with your business, or advocate for your business beyond merely continuing to buy it.
5. Benchmark score and audit regularly
Again, we’re focused on long-term strategy. A proper customer experience audit can unveil a plethora of breakdowns or opportunities. However, without a formal scoring and benchmarking mechanism, judging improvement becomes a fuzzy-science, which is fraught with future risk.
Your audit should benchmark experiences at each stage by customer and customer group that indicates satisfaction, as well as the effect on the customer lifecycle.
When aggregated, these scores become a benchmark that your business can measure customer experience management success.
Further, the components provide insight into the mechanics that can take advantage of opportunities identified or fix roadblocks found in moving customers along their journey from prospect to customer, and from customer to advocate.
Remember, an audit isn’t just a checklist, but a living, breathing engagement and tracking mechanism that should provide ongoing analysis of the influence each touchpoint has on moving customers along their customer journey.
When customers step along this journey efficiently, advocates will emerge that will result in more organically generated qualified leads that convert faster and drive even more significant lifetime value.
Throughout your audit, ask yourself what the next steps should be. Each phase of the audit should identify different areas of improvement. It should also bring to light where you are succeeding. The strategies that work in one area of your business may be able to be placed in other departments.
Constantly monitoring your CX and completing regular audits will drastically improve your customer experience. Frame the audits and the strategies for improvement around the customer lifecycle. This will lead to improved sales and customer retention.