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PHOTO: nrd

Some companies invest what they feel is a considerable amount of human financial capital in their customer experience (CX) programs, yet they don’t receive the expected return. There can be many potential points of failure, but how do you diagnose the issue?

Start With the Obvious: Ask Your Customers

“If you want to diagnose your customer's experience, ask your customers," recommended Phil Strazzulla, CEO and founder of Select Software Reviews. "The more you ask your customers for feedback, the better the data you'll get. Ask right after a sale is complete. Email them after they've had some time with your product or service. You can even attempt to get feedback before they leave to determine what's driven them away or why they're abandoning the process."

Even if you only get a small percentage of responses, the data you receive will be invaluable for not only diagnosing issues but also correcting them, Strazulla added. “Understanding our customer's experience allows us to make changes to improve it. When the experience is lacking, it can cause major problems. When the experience is good, customers will not only come back but be willing to spend more than they would otherwise.”

Related Article: Customer Feedback: A Goldmine in Your Midst

Obtain Multi-Channel Feedback

Your customers speak to you in all manner of ways beyond a direct Q&A format, said Muhammad Mateen Khan, digital marketing strategist for PureVPN. “Every action a customer takes within your product, such as usage frequency, creating a support ticket, and feature adoption, reflect their experience of value.”

While direct feedback is helpful, it’s also important to be ready to capture indirect feedback. Some indirect feedback channels are community forum-style comments; support tickets and call center information; product metrics and social media messaging, Khan added, recommending that marketers value information from different types of customers. End users and frontline workers can provide valuable detail on their daily workflow, while management-level contacts can better describe the overall effectiveness of the company’s service.

Share any feedback across the organization, Khan said. "This allows your customer success team to benefit from the data gathered by the sales team; the support team to access a comprehensive history populated by the CS team; and you and your team to personalize upsell and renewal campaigns based on a record of customer behavior."

Feedback is the most valuable if obtained at the right times, Khan added. Good times to seek feedback include:

  • Shortly after onboarding is completed.
  • In response to changes in customer behavior.
  • In follow up to the introduction of new product features.
  • After the completion of pre-defined customer goals.

Related Article: Aligning Your Organization Around Customer Success

Employ Contextual Diagnostics

The best way to diagnose CX is to run real-time, contextual diagnostics, said Martin Seeley, CEO of MattressNextDay. “It is not enough to rely on evaluative research to address the critical reasons for customer frustration. So it is imperative to dig into real-time customer experience diagnostics to complement the evaluative research.”

Moreover, traditional methodologies for CX diagnosis has no impact on daily engagement with the customer and has little influence on the optimization of the multi-channel customer experience, Seeley added. Real-time CX diagnostics add actionability and enable brands to take action while the customer is still engaged.

“Once you identify ‘where you are now’ and compare it with ‘where you want to be,’ you can start taking actions to mitigate the challenges,” Seeley said. "To diagnose CX in real-time use analytics tools like Google Analytics to measure conversions, heatmaps, measure your cart abandonment rate and churn rate. Have a set of KPIs to be able to identify gaps in your customer experience and tackle them."

Related Article: What Separates Customer Experience Leaders From the Laggards?

Ask Employees to Walk in Customers' Shoes

"When it comes to interactions with your brand, gather employee feedback daily," Seeley recommended. "Build a process that encourages employees to share ideas and knowledge. Create a daily check-in survey for your employees that would take a minute or two to fill out but will provide you with valuable insights into their interactions with customers. Schedule regular internal audits and ask your employees to mimic customer interactions by completing purchases on your website, calling your call center, engaging in your online chat, etc."

Quickly identify technical issues by testing your online chat feature or 24/7 hotline, Seely said. “For example, during our call center testing, we found that one in six calls never connected. When we investigated it, we found out that the multiline wasn't configured correctly. But we only discovered it by mimicking a customer interaction.”

Related Article: Use Design Thinking to Put Yourself in Your Customers' Shoes

Reevaluate the Customer Journey

“Every company needs to reevaluate their customer journey, full stop,” said David Cusick, chief strategy officer for House Method. “No business has been spared the changes brought by 2020, but the upshot is different depending on your industry, location and a host of other factors. Your customer base has likely shifted since the start of the pandemic. Even so, both new and returning customers aren't approaching their spending the same way as before. Nor can you assume the level of expertise is uniform across site visitors.”

Customer experience is a long-term strategy, but it's subject to rapid changes, Cusick added. Companies with a clearer outlook for the rest of the year can optimize around events. Is your website layout the same for Halloween, Christmas and New Year? Do your customers shop the same way today that they will in three months? How do you know?

“Right now, it's an all-hands-on-deck approach to customer experience. Shake ups like this one [due to the pandemic] are rare — it's unusual to have so many different people seeking out new companies and services. Companies that take better advantage of giving their customer's an easy path to a great sale thrive.”