It’s almost time to ring in a new year. The calendar changing is a great time to get introspective about what you are or aren’t doing well and what things you’d like to change moving forward. In business, it’s also usually a time of setting financial goals and retrospecting on your performance over the past year.
Right now, 89% of companies are competing just through the excellence of their customer experience. That number is up from only 36% a decade ago. It’s a great time to be focusing on the people you’re trying to serve. One of the best ways to do this is to audit your current customer experience.
A customer experience (CX) audit is an in-depth assessment of every interaction or perspective your customer has around your product. Getting a handle on this before going into the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) planning will give you a leg up when determining new initiatives and what you’d like them to accomplish. Here’s how to do it, and why.
How to do a CX Audit
If you’ve never done a CX audit, it may seem overwhelming, but it is managable with just a few steps. The first step is to take an inventory of every touchpoint in your customer’s journey and map it. Create a customer journey map that includes and considers data like:
- How many and what type of emails you send from your marketing, product, success, and support teams.
- Google analytics data around how much time users spend on individual pages, bounce rates, and what areas of your marketing and product site are most popular.
- Interviews with your customers and the qualitative insights that they share there.
- Secret shopper reviews and insights.
- NPS, CSAT, and CES scores.
- The experience that customers have when trying to return a product or cancel their subscription.
- Your company’s conversion rates across different segments.
- Social media listening.
- Abandoned cart analytics.
Once you have all of the points of contact, document each touchpoint in extreme detail: what are the things that are working, and what are the things that aren’t working? Categorize which areas of your customer experience rank highest and lowest, and compare them with data around buying influence. For instance, if you notice that people are miserable about your social media response time and that most of your highest paying customers are the people who prefer social media for queries, it may be useful to prioritize that aspect of your journey.
Make it your mission to understand how your customers feel about each step of the journey, how it impacts your bottom line, and the level of effort it might take to rectify it.
Why should you do a CX audit?
There’s no way around it: a CX audit isn’t a quick or easy process. But, like most challenging things, it is worth it. Here are a few benefits and impacts you can expect after having done the audit:
Create brand loyalty
With excellent customer experience comes exceptional customer loyalty. Loyal customers talk about their favorite products on social media and in their day-to-day conversations. Research in a Spiegel Research Center study revealed that 95% of buyers read online reviews, like G2, before purchasing. Boost your online review numbers by cultivating loyalty.
Companies that have documented and successfully addressed poor customer experience saw five times the growth of those that haven’t. When you work to figure out what’s going wrong and then handle it, you significantly reduce customer churn, have higher retention rates, and lower your customer acquisition costs. So, not only does your customer experience improve, but all of your business metrics along with it.
Understand your baselines
You wouldn’t go into a new weight training regimen without knowing how much weight you can lift to start, would you? The same goes for setting quarterly goals for your business. Use a CX audit to understand precisely where you currently stand and where you could stand to improve.
Take a look at metrics like:
- Qualitative responses from your customers on social media or elsewhere
- Quantitative metrics from NPS, CSAT, or CES
- Wait time, response time, time to resolution, and other helpdesk metrics
- Any internal customized metrics you might have for customer experience
Have better product launches
When you know your customer better, you are more readily able to pinpoint and address their needs. Review your past product launches and how customers received them to make better, more efficient future processes.
Work to document and understand what has worked for your customers and hasn’t. Some questions to consider:
- Do they respond to email campaigns, video training, or in-app onboarding?
- Do they prefer to know about releases ahead of time?
- Are there specific demographics of customers who are more receptive to trying new products and are interested in getting involved in betas?
Having this information will allow you to custom fit your launches and development cycles to maximize your customers’ good experiences.
Uncover opportunities for your team
By going through your customer experience as it currently stands, you’ll find tons of exciting things that need to be worked on and improved. Chances are, someone on your team will be excited by that prospect.
Find the initiatives that excite them, and then get out of the way and let your employees get to work. Businesses that focus on engaging and empowering their employees outperform those that don’t by 202%. So, not only will you be getting things that need to get done, done, but you’ll be building buy-in from your employees and outperforming your past selves.
Improve on things that are hard to measure
You might know about your CSAT score, but do you know how many people were frustrated by your product, waited a few months without taking action, and eventually canceled? Do you know how many customers you might have turned off by using a specific, ill-targeted promoted tweet? A CX audit will help you uncover the hard-to-measure, hard-to-answer questions like this and allow you to start improving on them. During the process, you’ll shine a light on all the nooks and crannies of your business and come up with lots of new insights that you wouldn’t get from just a cursory glance.
Identify quick fixes
You’ll find lots of big, meaty things to work on in a CX audit, but you’ll also find some quick wins for your team. Things like small website tweaks, redesigns of contact forms, and how you pass customers between channels are great examples of little things that you don’t need to spend a ton of time seeing a huge impact.
Better alignment cross-functionally
Customers don’t care which department they are working with—they want a resolution and an answer. Similarly, many companies assume that customer experience falls only to customer support or customer success teams, but that’s not true. It’s a whole company effort.
When you do a CX audit, you learn of opportunities across all of your teams to improve customer experience. From your blog posts and social media presence to how you handle product releases, bug fixes, and customer contact, everyone can work together to make things better.
There’s no time like the present. Take stock of what you’re currently doing and how it affects your customers. Use this increase in focus to target not only your customer-facing team’s responsibilities but everything across the whole company. Having a good experience boosts brand loyalty and lowers churn. Better product launches and improving on other complicated things to measure in your day-to-day make for a more seamlessly enjoyable process for your customers.
Not everything needs to be a chore. When teams work together to understand and improve CX, many hands make for light work.
Want to learn more about customer experience audits and the best ways to delight your customers? Check out our blog!