Businesswoman analyzing data from her customer experience programs
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The first step in determining if you have some problems with your customer experience programs is admitting you may have a problem. According to Dimension Data’s 2017 Global Customer Experience (CX) Benchmarking Report (Registration required), 71 percent of organizations cited customer experience as a competitive differentiator but only 13 percent of brands rated their CX delivery a 9 out of 10 or better.

With those facts in mind, we’ve enlisted some experts who offered their best tips to help determine if your customer experience delivery has problems. Whether you're looking to get ahead of potential problems or a full customer experience audit these tips can help.

Compare Technology and Business Functions

Timothy Burke, executive vice president and GM at Ness Digital Engineering, said organizations naturally should look at customer churn. That’s typically what gets people’s attention, according to Burke. From there, separate the problem functionally from a technology standpoint as well as from a business standpoint. Does your technology enable the business to transform itself, either to address its existing customer base in a new and enhanced manner and/or to expand it into a new area or demographic?

You must understand if your technology platforms support business enablement functions for your customers and adapt and expand to meet the demands of the market, according to Burke. Know what you are trying to achieve on the business side. Are you trying to improve customer engagement? Are you trying to improve customer experience? Are you trying to cross sell and upsell? “It all starts with the business and behind the business there are a number of functional things that have to occur, both technologically as well as processes" Burke said. 

Related Article: Mastering the Art of Emotional Customer Experience?

Does Your Technology Sit in Silos?

If you have signs that, for instance, your ecommerce programs aren’t syncing with your storefront programs through viable integrations, you know you have a problem. Customers, naturally, expect seamless integrations between digital and physical worlds, and it doesn’t always happen. Customer calls aren’t tracked or synced with brick-and-mortar visits. Stores and the internal functions must be tied together effectively and encompass all channels of communication and historical data, Burke said.

Marry Net Promoter Score to Operational Metrics

Another step that warrants repeating in determining if you’ve got some customer experience problems is keeping on top of your Net Promoter Score (NPS). And it should integrate with your internal-systems data. Connie Moore, senior vice president of research for Digital Clarity Group, said organizations should have one foot in information management and the other in business processes. “I firmly believe that the customer-facing functions or processes are intricately linked with the back office functions. They are not a separate thing. There is a continuous line,” Moore said. 

Even though analytics from an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or business practice management software provides operational metrics, they still have a direct impact on the customer. Marry your Net Promoter Score coming from the customer and your internal operational metrics from processing systems and see if there is a disconnect.

Related Article: When Organizational Strategy Ruins Customer Experience

Survey Your Employee-Data Goldmine

Too many companies don't look within their own organization to see what is it like to be a customer, Moore said. What is it like to work with the order processing department or the servicing department? What do those departments hear from customers? “There are places where you can go and look and listen and learn more about how you're really treating your customers,” Moore said.

Your employees are a “treasure trove of customer experience” data, Moore added. This includes both positive and negative experiences. “Do internal surveys on a regular basis because they will pick up on things that you don't have any other way of picking up on," she said.

Audit Your C-Suite

What do you want the outcome of customer experience to be? Is it growth? Retention? Differentiating yourself or disrupting? “Those types of decisions really come from the top,” said Banafsheh Ghassemi, CEO & Cofounder, Tangerine Lab. To know if you’ve got a customer experience problem, your first stop should be your C-Suite, Ghassemi said. Everyone should have the same definition of the customer and what customer experiences are. Although they may have different input, they need to be aligned on the values of the customer experience program.

“Your first audit is your C-Suite,” Ghassemi said. “A lot of times they think they are aligned but when you actually sit there and actually extract it from them through interviews and group discussions it becomes very, very clear to all of them that there is always some sort of misalignment. That needs to be ironed out before we start to talk about the next steps.” 

Get Your Customers Involved

How well do you really know your customer journey? Can you know if you have a problem if you aren't tapping your customers? Oftentimes, Ghassemi finds that an organization’s customers are never involved in developing the customer journey. That, she said, is mistake No. 1. Stop guessing. Interact with customers on a personal level. Have a presence at the shopping mall to gain insights on customer needs and desires.

“You’ll have a group of people sitting in a room in a conference room and they say, 'based on what we know about our processes, this is what we think the customer goes through,'” Ghassemi said. 

Related Article: How to Build an Employee Experience That Rivals Your Customer Experience

Make Sure The Right Parties Are Involved

How can you know if you have a customer experience issue if you don’t have all the relevant parties at the table? Some organizations wrongfully presume departments like IT, regulatory and HR don’t need to be involved in customer experience programs because they do not directly interact with customers. “All these people are absent when you're talking about customer experience because the assumption is these people don't interact with the customers but the fact is they know what capabilities can be produced by the company to deliver an experience or deliver on that journey.”

Marketers: Get More Human

Ghassemi believes in designing concepts by putting yourself in the perspective of your customer/user or human-centered design. Companies should take a look at their marketing department to ensure it considers campaigns and programs from the customer perspective. Are they really walking in the shoes of the customer and seeing how they can provide them real value? “To this day marketing is the least human-centered of all the touchpoints. Marketing is really about, ‘this is a message I want to push out.’ These are the people I want to get to and this is what I want to do. ...It’s the mindset of I'm going to throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall and hope some of it sticks because there is this fear if I target my customers in a very surgical, molecular way, I might lose opportunities, other people that I could be selling to,” Ghassemi said.