Analysing Customer Experience – Where To Start & What To Review

analysing customer experience in online business

When analysing the experience of your customers, it can be challenging to know where to start and what to review. Many of us grew up in a business environment which said “if you build it, they will come,” but with so many options out there and global competition, that’s no longer a viable strategy.

Customers want and expect a great experience, and they’re willing to expend substantial effort trying to find it. Your business needs to know how to evaluate and adjust customer experience to remain competitive and attract the best clients. Yes, it makes your job harder, but it’s also an opportunity for you to shine where others in your industry don’t.

 

What Is Customer Experience Analysis?

Customer experience analysis is the process of finding out where you’re delighting customers and meeting their expectations, and where you’re falling short. The purpose is to find out what you’re doing right and how you can improve.

Major companies conduct customer experience analyses all the time. Chain Reaction Cycles, a large cycle-based e-commerce retailer, regularly sends customers emails asking them a series of questions about the ease with which they used its website, the speed of the delivery, and the quality of the products. The company uses these surveys to find out where it’s succeeding, and where it needs improvement.

Thanks to social media platforms, it’s vital for companies to get the customer experience right. When Kylie Jenner took a dislike to Snapchat and shared it with all her followers on the platform, it had a profound effect on the app’s share price.

Customers that don’t like the experience you offer can hop on a social media platform and start complaining about your service, potentially reaching millions of other people: not something you want.

 

Why Is Customer Experience Analysis So Important?

We’ve witnessed something quite remarkable over the last 25 years in the business community. Go back a quarter century, and there were a handful of global companies with the ability to operate in multiple markets, and then millions of other businesses that competed in their local area. But with the internet and mobile digital technology, that’s all changed. Connected computing has shrunk the business world, providing consumers access to services anywhere in the world. Twitter, for instance, offers social media accounts to millions of people across the globe and not one of them cares about where the company is based.

So what does this all mean for businesses?

It turns out that customers are becoming more interested in their overall experience of a business. 86% of respondents in a Walking Consulting report said that they would be happy to pay more for better customer experience.

When the experience is good, people are willing to pay more.  Providing better customer experience is, therefore, a way for your business to improve its competitive advantage and boost revenue.

 

Where To Start When Analysing Customer Experience

Step 1: Understand Your Customers

The first step when analysing customer experience is to research and understand your audience. You want to know what delights customers, and what puts them off.

To build up a comprehensive picture of your customers, ask the following questions:

  • Why do people buy your product? (This helps you find out what motivates the buying decision in the first place so that you can better target this in your marketing campaigns).
  • What interactions do customers want to have with your brand? (Do customers want regular emails or would they rather be left in peace? Do they want over-the-phone support, or would they prefer something less direct, like text messaging?)
  • When and where do customers use your product? (Could you improve your service by providing timely marketing messages to coincide with customer need?)
  • How do customers use your product? (The way customers use your product may differ from the expectations of your business. Many business owners, for instance, believe that customers want a product that offers certain functions. But sometimes, the way a product looks and feels can be more important).

 

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Step 2: Get To Know Your Clients’ Data

The next step is to collect as much data about your clients as possible. You may want to investigate the following so that you can build different customer profiles:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Main reasons for choosing your product
  • Hobbies
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Income and employment
  • Whether they drive a vehicle
  • Political persuasions
  • Buying habits (e.g. the time of day they make purchases, whether they make purchases regularly, online or offline, etc.)

Start here with the 10 Things You Must Know About Your Customers.

The purpose of collecting data is to build different customer profiles that you can target individually. Your customers may be similar, but they’re not all the same. Each person has a different expectation of the customer experience they want you to provide. When you split customers into different categories, it’s much easier to address issues and provide solutions.

For instance, you could have two kinds of customers: high-income and low-income. The way you market and upsell to each of these groups will be different because of their budgets.

 

Step 3: Develop Customer Personas

Many companies find it helpful to organise customers into groups, called segments, who have similar characteristics.

The purpose of doing this is to know how to address particular customers (rather than treating everyone the same). You want to avoid dealing with the “average customer” because the average customer isn’t something that exists in reality.

To analyse your customers. You need to know who they are, what marketing messages they want and how they respond to different initiatives by your business.

 

Step 4: Develop A Long-Term Plan

Analysing customer experience isn’t a one-shot event: it’s a process that you need to be able to repeat, over and over. Over time, your customers and their needs will change. Technology will move on, tastes will evolve, and people will come to expect different forms of service.

Staying up to date with the quality of your customer experience in context is vital. Part of any successful ongoing customer experience analysis involves finding out where you’re succeeding, where competitors are failing, and which services you need to improve.

Many business owners find it helpful to focus on one area of the customer experience at a time. Suppose, for instance, that your customers dislike that you don’t provide omnichannel support. Your focus should then be to integrate online and telephone conversations so that customer issues can be resolved promptly and easily.

 

What To Review

Knowing where to start is just part of the process of analysing customer experience. Knowing what to review is equally important.

The good news is that there are plenty of places you can go to collect data and review the experience of your customers. Conducting customer experience analysis might sound like a complicated process, but in reality, it’s surprisingly simple.

 

Ask For Employee Reports

Your employees interact with customers every day. Over time, they build up an extensive knowledge of what customers want. Thus your people on the ground can be a tremendous first port-of-call for collecting information about what customers like, what they don’t, and where you can better address their pain points.

As employee reports start trickling in, you should hopefully see patterns emerging that you can use to your advantage.

 

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Use Question And Answer Sites, Like Quora

The great thing about sites like Quora is that they provide an inventory of the unedited questions that your customers want to know the answers to. Most of the questions won’t be relevant to analysing customer experience, but some of them, especially those related to your product or industry, can be of great help.

Knowing which questions your customers need answers to helps to create a more comprehensive view of your market and gain an understanding of where they require additional information or support. It also highlights where other companies are lacking in their service delivery.

 

Carry Out Your Own Survey

When evaluating customer experience, it’s sometimes best to go direct to the source: the customers themselves.

The good news is that preparing a survey and mailing it out to your customers is relatively effortless. Just use a tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey. The hard part is getting people to take part.

Smart business owners find ways to make it worthwhile for customers to take part by offering incentives. The incentive could be an entry into a prize draw, a free sample, or money off their next purchase.

Surveys, however, can be problematic because of the tendency of people to respond in the way they think they should (because of social pressure) and not saying what they honestly feel. Try, if possible, to reassure customers that their information is secure and anonymous so that when you come to review, you’ll have an accurate picture of what people think.

 

Review Your CX Performance Metrics

Finally, review your CX performance metrics. Ideally, you want to be making improvements in these dimensions and be ahead of the industry average.

You could track the following:

  • Time to the first engagement (how quickly you address a customer issue)
  • Customer retention
  • Customer satisfaction at 3, 6, and 12 months
  • Post-service engagement
  • Return-on-investment in customer service
  • Time to fix customer issues (the shorter the better)

For assistance with CX analysis send us a quick message here to learn how we can help you be of greater service to your customers.

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