Have You Ever Considered a Customer Experience Audit?

We hear a lot these days about the importance of offering high-quality customer service, adding a personal touch, and so on. What about the overall customer experience?

Taking a “big picture” look at how customers interact with your business can tell you a lot about where things are going well and where shortcomings may exist that discourage repeat purchases.CustomerExperience

We do our best to make the customer experience as seamless as possible at Baillie. For us, our goal is to make it simple and easy for our customers to secure the hardwoods they need when they need it! We understand that for our customers it’s not simply the product or service we offer. It is also about the quality of the entire experience that we deliver.  From searching for available inventory online to receiving the proper documentation and accurate invoicing.

To help us analyze that, we regularly review how we are doing when it pertains to the overall hardwood lumber buying experience. We frequently do this by conducting what we refer to as a customer experience audit.

According to LinkedIn, this type of audit “maps out the journey of your customer through multiple channels,” including “the collective series of interactions, both online and offline, a particular segment or target audience might engage in at different stages of the customer lifecycle.”

The goals and outcomes of a customer experience audit usually revolve around identifying:

  • Issues and/or operational barriers to quality service that can be addressed on a short-term basis
  • Long-range strategic remedies to more fundamental challenges, such as better customer service training for employees or a realignment within the organization
  • Opportunities for new customer relationships and strengthening existing ties

Goals may differ from one business to the next, but the ultimate outcome should be a hassle-free experience for customers. From our experience, we find these few tips useful when conducting a customer experience audit.

Define The Metrics. As with any type of review process, a customer experience audit works best when key metrics are applied. Among the most common elements typically measured:

  • How many customer calls go answered (and unanswered) in a month?
  • What is the number of customer complaints received daily, weekly, and quarterly?
  • How many compliments does the business receive in a specific timeframe?
  • What is the average length of time for team members to respond to customer inquiries?

Compiling answers to these and related questions should give you a fairly accurate picture of your typical customer experience.

Survey Your Employees. Your customer’s experience in doing business with you is not just a sales department interaction. Within most organizations, there are various individuals who regularly interact with customers and have unique insights into customer pain points and ways in which a business can align with customers’ long-range goals. Consider surveying employees in various departments as part of a customer experience audit. If you are like us, you’ll likely “uncover new insights about what customers want and need, and how to refine your market message to let them know you’re here to help.”

Document the Customer Process. As with any form of audit, documentation counts. Bondai, an AI-based enterprise solution firm, recommends these action steps:

  • Identify all touchpoints, from the initial sales call to customer interactions with a business website and its social media platforms.
  • Assess the influence of each touchpoint in moving the customer forward, as well as the issues or obstacles that cause customers to opt-out.
  • Cross-reference degrees of satisfaction at each touchpoint with “the influence that touchpoint has [on the] decision to spend the same, less, or more money with your business.”
  • Establish formal scoring and benchmarking tools to evaluate the customer journey with a focus on satisfaction and success in moving to the next stage.

We aim to have our customers view us as a resource and a trusted hardwood advisor to their business that allows them to focus on more pressing issues. This includes everyone from the hardwood forester speaking to a landowner about some Walnut, White Oak, Ash, or Cherry trees on their land, to our Lumber Traders helping customers find the hardwood inventory they need, all the way through to the office receptionist.  We emphasize to everyone that we must be committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience. Every role along the way helps our customers realize the greatest value they can when choosing us to be their hardwood supplier.

Has your business conducted a customer experience audit in the past? If so, what did you learn? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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