There are many reasons why a customer may choose you over a competitor. Quality and price are contributing factors. But they’ll stick with you if you give them a great experience. That means a frictionless purchase, delivery, and after-sales process. It also means effective targeted marketing.
How do you know if you’re providing an experience that keeps customers coming back for more? How do you learn how to market that experience? By conducting a customer experience audit.
What is a customer experience audit?
A customer experience (CX) audit is an opportunity to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It’s an in-depth examination of a customer’s experience with your business.
Effective customer experience audits track every step of the customer journey. They examine every customer interaction from discovery to after sales support. Also, they take into account the fact that not every customer journey is the same.
Most modern businesses trade across many channels. Customers will come to your business in a variety of ways. Consequently, their journeys will differ. A customer experience audit identifies where friction emerges across all touch points.
Why should I conduct a customer experience audit?
You can gain insights into the customer experience through impromptu conversations with customers. You may even get feedback from time to time through your call center or via email. This can help you identify issues and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. However, a more scientific approach is necessary if you want to see the whole picture.
Conduct a customer experience audit to gain real insights to help you make decisions. You can give customers a better experience when you understand their wants and needs. It’s a chance to provide a more personalized customer experience that shows you value them. Customers who feel valued will return to you again and again. This is vital for business growth and profitability.
The benefits of a customer experience audit in summary
Below are some of the advantages a CX audit can bring to your business.
- Gain insights to improve your marketing strategy.
- Identify friction points in the customer journey.
- Attract more new customers through improvements to the marketing and sales process.
- Extend customer lifetime value (CLV) through improved loyalty.
When to conduct a customer experience audit
There’s never a bad time to make sure you’re delivering for your customers. That said, there are times when a customer experience audit is particularly useful.
- You notice an uptick in negative feedback: You have to listen to your customers. If feedback is trending in a negative direction then you know there’s a problem. It’s not always obvious how to identify the issue. A customer experience audit will help you focus on the problem and rectify it. It’ll also expose any other contributing factors.
- You launch a new campaign, product, or channel: Any time you make a major change to your business is a good time to conduct an audit. Big changes can disrupt the way you interact with customers. That’s not always a bad thing as disruption can be positive. A customer experience audit can help you make good decisions around messaging.
- You wish to continually monitor your progress: It’s a good idea to conduct CX audits on a regular basis. It’s recommended that you do so at least once per quarter. In this way, you can continually improve. Also, you can prevent minor issues from developing into big problems.
How to conduct a customer experience audit in 5 steps
Now you know what a customer experience audit is, let’s now discover how to conduct one. Use the following steps to create your own CX audit process.
1. Map out the customer lifecycle
You need to understand all the stages of your customers’ journeys. Map it from the moment the customer is made aware of your business. Follow it through to any contact with after sales support.
You could make this a hypothetical journey. That means looking at each stage of the customer lifecycle in the abstract. Alternatively, you could use mystery shoppers to give a true sense of the customer experience. You could even transact with the business yourself along with other company leaders.
The customer lifecycle map will look something like the following. This fictional example maps the journey of Zach, a customer of a sneakers retailer.
- Zach sees an advertisement on TikTok.
- Zach visits the company website to browse.
- Zach purchases new sneakers online.
- Zach receives thank you email and order confirmation.
- Zach seeks assistance from the omnichannel contact center agents to rearrange delivery.
- Zach receives new sneakers and posts about them online, tagging the company.
You’ll notice that Zach interacts with the business in many different ways. This is important. Each interaction is known as a touch point. We’ll go on to discuss that more in another step.
The purpose of this step is to get a high-level understanding of the customer experience. This will help you to determine what data you’ll need to gather. It will also begin to reveal potential points of friction in the customer lifecycle. For example, it may be easier for Zach to rearrange delivery himself online. Instead, he chose to do it through the call center.
2. Choose KPIs to establish a monitoring process
To make your CX audit a more scientific exercise you need measurable data. That’s where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. These will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses in your customer journey. That’s necessary if you’re going to correct things.
The following KPIs are ideal for a customer experience audit.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
You obtain CSAT scores by asking customers for feedback. You ask customers to rate your products and service on a five point scale. The simple question “how would you rate your service?” is so valuable.
Net promoter score (NPS)
NPS is a metric that tells you how likely a customer will recommend your company to others. Once again, you should directly seek feedback to get your NPS. A five point scale from “ very unlikely to recommend” to “very likely to recommend” works great.
Your churn rate is the rate at which customers stop buying from you. You may notice different rates depending on the channel which the customer used. A high churn rate is a good indicator that there may be a problem.
To calculate churn rate, use the following formula:
(Lost customers ÷ total customers at the beginning of a given time period) x 100.
Say your business had 500 customers at the beginning of the quarter and lost 30 customers by the end. Divide 30 by 500 and multiply by one hundred. This gives you a churn rate of 6%.
Customer lifetime value (CLV)
CLV tells you how much money you can expect to make from the average customer. This isn’t only for one transaction but the full length of their relationship with your business. Improving the customer experience should in turn increase CLV.
You’ll need to continually monitor and analyze these KPIs. There are many solutions available to help you keep track. Choose one with remote log in so you can keep an eye on your progress from anywhere.
3. Identify customer touch points
Now it’s time to identify every possible touch point in the customer journey. Find all the ways in which a customer can interact with your business. This will cover marketing, sales, and after sales interactions.
Look at each touch point and think about the communication method that’s used. Social media, email, and call centers are some common touch points. You should also consider your website. Understand all the ways your customers interact with your company. Then you can identify how to improve them.
4. Examine CX at every touch point
Upon identifying customer touch points you should now take a deep dive into each of them. Examine the customer experience at each touch point and try to understand its impact. Apply your KPIs to see where problems may need to be addressed.
Imagine your online customers give generally good CSAT scores. They’re consistently higher than those using a call center. This may be because your agents don’t have access to all the relevant information. Use a cloud integration platform to give agents access to up-to-date customer data.
5. Develop an action plan
The purpose of a customer experience audit is to identify friction points. It’s then up to you how you overcome them. You may have found many opportunities to be better. It can be overwhelming at first. Don’t worry though. Take your time to develop an action plan.
Begin by getting everyone at the company to buy into the need for improvement. Work with department heads to identify ways to improve. Focus on touch points that will have the greatest impact.
Some areas will require more investment than others. For example, your audit may have revealed a problem in your call center. Customers have told you their calls are taking too long. This could potentially be alleviated through investment in better contact center technology.
You can build better customer relationships through improved service. Conduct a customer experience audit to find out what your customers want. This process will reveal what you’re doing right and where to focus your efforts in raising your game. As a result, you can decrease customer churn and increase customer lifetime value.
A CX audit can give you a competitive advantage. You’ll learn how to provide customer service agents with the tools to better help customers. You’ll discover how to make adjustments to take into account customer preferences. The money and time investment will yield returns in business growth and profitability.