Customer experience analysis is crucial for enhancing communication and interactions between customers and your company. It encompasses all touchpoints, from initial inquiry to post-sale interactions. Elevating the customer experience yields numerous advantages, with improved customer retention being the primary benefit.
Additionally, customer experience and loyalty share a symbiotic relationship, as evidenced by a study showing that 89% of customers say that the level of customer service impacts their loyalty to a brand.
Without delay, let’s delve into our five expert tips for conducting a comprehensive customer experience analysis.
1. Establish Your Market
Finding out who your customers are is as important as the product itself. Most companies know how to attract customers. But, they may not take the time to gauge who these customers are.
Who is likely to buy your product? Who are the best customers to target when it comes to improving the customer experience?
This involves market segmentation.
Different segments will likely have different preferences when it comes to how they like to communicate. Automation of tasks such as this can really improve efficiency, so look into tools that can help you streamline your segmentation process.
The values of a new, young, and hesitant customer are likely to be different from those of an older customer who has used similar products from other companies in the past.
We can illustrate market segmentation via the Euler diagram below. This visual representation of customers is vital; it can act as a guide for everyone in the business. The total available market represents the entire population. Meanwhile, the served available market is anyone likely to buy the products. The target market is thus only those that you hope to align your business with.
Just because it is possible to sell to the served available market, does not mean that they should always be the target.
It’s best to target the group which will be most receptive to negative or positive customer service.
The best way to work this out is by using these segments to create customer profiles. These profiles can include detailed information. For example, how much they value customer service, and in what ways.
You can also use segmentation for other operations in the business. These include processes such as marketing, as well as a method to reduce customer churn.
The next step will detail how to map the customer journey and collect data on customer types.
2. Know Your Customer and Map Their Journey
How does your customer communicate with you? What is their emotional response to each interaction?
Use the target market(s) outlined in the previous step and you can create archetypal customer profiles to explore their probable journeys.
You can find the data via the company’s central CRM, retail CRM, and website analytics. The information may include how customers have interacted with the company in the past. Their purchase history, how often they needed help, and how much help they needed.
By mapping this, companies can make provisions for those customers who are more in need.
Different customers with different demographics will learn about the company in different ways. Younger customers are more likely to be tech-savvy and active on social media. How they find out about the company’s products is different. Their interactions with the company are more likely to be via newer communication methods.
As mentioned before, it is important to showcase how much a customer values customer service. This can help businesses to divide time and resources between each segment. Although automation is here to stay and automation productivity can support your teams, some customers would appreciate a personalized answer.
But, there will be many customers who are not affected at all, or not very much, by poor customer service. Understanding this and raising the understanding of others in the business can help target customers who are responsive to high levels of customer service.
The following graph, from Jim Kalbach’s book “Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value Through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams”, shows how one can create a generic profile for a target market. By mapping the collected data into a journey map, the customer experience becomes clearer, and this can be shared across the business.
The value of customer journey mapping is immense. Research shows that companies who use tools like the map above can cut the cost of service by 15%–20%.
3. Assess Your Customers’ Perception
Find out about customer perception. This will allow you to get to the core of the customer’s experience.
This involves collecting feedback from customers. Companies can use long-form surveys for existing customers. But, only around 33% of people complete surveys sent via email.
It is possible to improve this percentage, though. The traditional survey can become more effective if you include an incentive. This could be a voucher or a small gift in exchange for a completed survey.
Surveys could include questions related to the following issues. The reputation of the brand, the reputation of the company’s customer service, and any previous communication that the customer has had with the company.
Ask questions about the processes of the business and how they affect the customer experience as a whole. For example, what do customers think of the delivery service? Would it be better to switch to a fulfillment center method instead to improve this?
Ideally, though, collect feedback little and often, after each interaction. How did it go? Can we improve? This can be via an email or use a hosted communications system to check in by phone.
Customers are more likely to be receptive to this. This is because they have some level of interest in the situation. A recent negative experience may make a customer more likely to share. This is in the hopes of improving their situation, or so they can let off steam. If they had a good experience, then they may want to fill out the form, as the memory is still fresh in their mind.
If customer perception is positive, this can show that things are working well. Investigate negative feedback and troubleshoot as part of your customer experience analysis.
4. Find Out About Competitors
Benchmarking against other competitors is a good idea. This can aid companies to understand the industry better and improve their direction. We can use benchmarking to improve the overall customer experience.
What are others doing to improve customer experience? Are they providing a better customer experience, and how? Are they taking advantage of hybrid cloud communications solutions? Determine who your competitors are. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you improve your own operations to compete with them? These considerations will help when it comes to improving customer experience.
This is like a process of discovery but with another business instead of your own.
This may include not only direct competitors but also best-in-class for customer experience. What are the companies with the best customer service doing? You could create a benchmarking team within the organization or outsource.
It is easy to set up this kind of outsourcing if you already use business process services for some of the company’s operations.
So, how can we measure against these other companies? There are many different metrics, including Net Promoter Score (NPS). These can help companies to compare their customer experience performance objectively. It is easy to find individual NPS for the top companies via online research. It is important to keep in mind that the bottom 25% of performers have an NPS lower than zero. This illustrates how fierce the competition is, as scores run from -100 to 100.
These metrics can help as a point of comparison. Yet, NPS is not the definitive measure of the customer experience. Take it with a pinch of salt.
As well as NPS, companies could conduct more thorough research into the customer experience. They can look at the reviews for other companies. They can also incorporate questions about competitors into focus groups and surveys.
5. Create an Action Plan
Putting a plan into action is the final step. How can you improve the customer experience based on your analytical findings?
Make the findings into a guide for customer-facing employees. Delivering training on this matter is a good idea. There should be actions taken at every stage of the process. The findings can even help to improve customer-facing portals. For example, the company website. Even a site built with the best website builder requires improvements now and again.
There are many benefits to the analysis and putting a plan into action.
The above graph illustrates the likely results of an effective customer experience plan. Of 200 US respondents in 2018, 61% of people said that they expected revenue to increase. Moreover, 52% expected an increase in sales.
It’s clear then that businesses have high expectations when it comes to improving the customer journey. They’re not wrong. Harvard Business Review reported that “prompt and personal customer service does indeed pay off – customers remember good and bad customer service experiences, and they’re willing to reward companies that treat them well.”
Putting a plan into action can be as simple as changing small things. Things related to how you speak to customers. If particular customers prefer contact via telephone, you can add this to the plan. You can also think long-term about the future of communication with customers and new technologies you could adopt.
The results of the analysis may not be restricted to customer experience. Say, for example, that a customer has provided negative feedback about a recent product return. Then, it would be necessary to review the company’s returns management system.
It Doesn’t End There
Make sure to conduct customer experience analysis regularly. This is vital for the success of the business.
Without constant review and improvement, the customer experience will deteriorate over time. It may therefore be more difficult to compete.
Clear customer experience expectations can also boost employee morale and reduce the turnover rate. For the future, consider a monthly check-in with customer-facing employees. You can also conduct a short review of customer functions to assess the need for analysis.
Alwayne Powell is an experienced performance marketing leader with an extensive background in the digital space, working client and agency side to provide paid search, SEO and CRO solutions in the B2B and B2C sectors. They are the current Senior Digital Marketing Manager at leading communication platform provider 8×8. You can find them on LinkedIn.