Below was my response to an quote request that turned into something more resembling an article.
At its foundation, a customer experience (CX) audit should involve an evaluation of the same metrics included in your CX strategy, assuming you have a CX strategy. However, the audit typically runs in reserve, where instead of starting with identifying business goals and priorities, you first analyze behaviors and patterns around the moment of sales or conversion, and work backwards. This reversal allows marketers an objective evaluation of the conversion story, from the perspective of the customer’s journey from “end” to “start.”
Whether you have a CX strategy or not, below are the buckets needed for conducting a proper CX audit. Because not all criteria can be measured, the analysis must be broken into two primary categories, quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative metrics provide marketers the visibility of how, when, and where users interact with a brand. These numbers provide insight into what users are doing where the brand controls or has influence over the narrative. These evaluation metrics typically start with numbers that support business goals, such as: sales, leads, returns, complaints, requests and up-sell/cross-sell conversions.
Attribution data that drives the numbers supporting business outcomes is typically found in Google Analytics (GA), with the assistance of Google Tag Manager (GTM), and through a variety of platform-specific data-points, captured through various campaign (digital and print), email and social platforms used by the brand. Monitoring tools such as TalkWalker, provide visibility into channels where the brand has little to no control over the narrative, such as news outlet sites, various media or community-driven social channels, influencer mentions, and anywhere the brand is digitally mentioned or referenced.
The purpose of these quantitative tools and metrics is to identify and connect the dots in providing a holistic view of all aspects that impact and influence the customer’s experience with the brand. With this data we can make inferences to generate insights, but we still don’t have the “why” that supports these numbers; finding the “why” can be achieved through qualitative analysis.
Qualitative analysis allows a brand to evaluate CX performance based on anecdotal information and feedback. Obtaining a qualitative understanding of the customer experience can be achieved through evaluating brand consistency and continuity across all online and offline channels. Reviewing the methods with which a brand interacts with customers is critical in ensuring that the brand is providing an efficient and seamless experience. Ideally, marketers need to employ design-driven approaches that lead the user toward certain objectives, which support business outcomes. Performance of these activities can not only be seen through data, but also through heatmaps and session captures tools, which are included in platforms such as HotJar and other visually-based user behavior capture tools. Additionally, utilizing feedback mechanisms such as surveys provides visibility into the individualized behavior of customers, which provides context to the numbers that are tracked on the quantitative side of audit.
Ideally, brands are able to employ all the methods listed above in performing a CX audit. By not tracking and analyzing metrics either quantitatively or qualitatively, marketers and communicators miss out on the opportunity to truly understand the performance, or lack thereof, of their activities. Typically, I recommend gaining as much visibility as possible to truly understand the behavior patterns and needs of your customers. By obtaining an end-to-end understanding of the customer experience and journey, marketers have the opportunity to quickly learn and optimize activities which support key business outcomes.