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How To Audit and Measure Your Brand's Customer Experience


How To Audit And Measure Your Brand's Customer Experience

Delivering a great Customer Experience (CX) is fundamental to achieving a competitive advantage. To ensure brands are meeting customer expectations, marketers’ attention needs to turn towards data analysis and benchmarking their CX.

As established in the white paper Experience Is Everything and succinctly defined by Forrester, CX is “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

How To Create A Customer Journey Map

Auditing the customer experience and building a full customer journey map can be a complex task. Brands have dozens or even hundreds of consumer touchpoints within the path to purchase.

But it’s important to have a starting point for your map, which our editable customer journey map can help you with.

It will help to create a fuller picture of what your current customer journey looks like and outline areas you may wish to review further. Then you can identify the right mix of marketing channels and relevant content to generate positive interactions with current and new customers.

We suggest dividing the customer journey into several stages. These cover the path to conversion of Awareness, Consideration, Order/Book/Buy and Welcome and the retention stages of Renewal/Repeat Use, Upsell, Cross-Sell and Advocacy.

Our map encourages marketers to assign each of these customer experiences a rating of 1-5. Then apply suggested questions to each of these stages to prompt you to think of improvements.

With the stages rated, you can focus on those with a low score and consider how they can be improved to optimise CX. Of course, this isn’t a one-off exercise but one to repeat regularly.

Mind The Gap Between Customer Expectations and Delivery

Marketers need to be mindful of the gap between customer expectation and reality in Customer Experience delivery. If there’s a widening gap it can mean a slide into negative sentiment.

Marketers often think they are providing an excellent experience when research shows this is not the case. Two thirds of customers quizzed in a recent study said they could not remember when a brand exceeded expectations. But the same study reports 87% of marketers saying they are delivering an engaging CX.

There’s a definite disconnect.

Measuring The Customer Experience

To prove return on investment, marketers need to provide data that shows shifts in customer satisfaction and relate these to sales.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used by many brands as a simple way of generating an easy-to-understand metric.
However, there are 2 main concerns of using NPS.

1. Some critics, including Professor Byron Sharp say NPS lacks nuance to measure a complex set of variables, including emotional associations, and it has no relationship with future business growth.

2. NPS leads marketers to focus too much on the already engaged customer.

It’s commonly advised to combine NPS with other metrics with a direct relevance to the sector in which you operate. Then develop a feedback mechanism that digs into why customers have negative or positive perceptions of the brand.

Gartner suggests other important metrics to consider alongside Customer Satisfaction and Advocacy.

1. Loyalty: This includes customer retention and churn. Churn is the percentage of customers that stop using your product or service over a specified time and the aim is to reduce churn.

2. Product and service quality and operations: At the most granular level, the product or service must meet user requirements.

3. Employee Engagement: Employees need to buy into goals and get excited about delivering a great experience.

You’ll get a fuller picture of customer attitudes to your brand by combining qualitative with quantitative research. Surveys and other tools can show where customers are having negative experiences.

Quantitative research will quickly help to identify problems and new business opportunities.

As Cindy Blackstock of Sivo Insights puts it: “Quantitative helps identify what to fix, and qualitative helps identify how to fix it.”

A quantitative research programme can also provide metrics to help marketers target the right customers at a time when they're more receptive to brand communications.

Why You Need A Customer Feedback Loop

Brands should be on the lookout for opportunities to enhance their customer experience by inviting feedback from customers. Customers should be encouraged to let you know about their experience and satisfaction with your brand’s product or service at various times throughout the customer journey.

Call centres, chat bots, online reviews, website surveys, social media monitoring and customer questionnaires are all tools for monitoring feedback.

The feedback loop needs to be allied to an agile mindset within the business. Data that accumulates and isn't checked for insight is wasted resource, while a deterioration in brand perception needs to be tackled quickly.

A company needs to be able to refine or re-imagine its products, services and marketing strategy at speed in the light of feedback.

Lastly a Customer-friendly tip: Let customers know that changes to the experience are due to their feedback. This shows them you're listening.

To start auditing your Customer Experience, download your free editable customer journey map, the map is available in our Experience is Everything’ guide.

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