Is the actual experience you and your team deliver to your customers in-line with the customer experience you’re trying to deliver?

You may think you know. But, your own hunches aren’t enough. After all, you don’t know, what you don’t know. There really is only one sure way to know how well you are meeting customer experience and that’s to conduct research. You need real, objective data from your customers on which to base decisions.

Here are 8 ways to Research Your Current Customer Experience

1. Scour Social Media

Search your name as a keyword on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Look for positive and negative comments about your brand. These comments will tell you whether or not you’re living up to customer expectations or not.

2. Research Reviews and Ratings

Find your listing on review and rating sites. Read reviews and see what feedback customers wrote about their experience with your company. For negative reviews, reply and ask for clarity or ways you can further help them.

3. Ask Your Customers Directly

Come right out and ask your customers how you are doing. Go ahead – ask them if your service, and products, matches what they thought they were getting. You could also offer a comment card or surveys, and some type of incentive such as a discount or freebie as reward for their help.

The best time to ask for feedback is after the customer has bought and used the product. So, make seeking feedback part of your follow-up process.

4. Carry out Focus Groups

While focus groups require a bit more investment of time and resources, they are a great way to learn about the customer’s experience. Invite select customers and lead a discussion about their experience dealing with your company. Ask them for ideas on how to improve.

5. Review Your Website Analytics

Website analytics offer an indirect way of assessing the customer experience. If a large number of visitors come to your site but leave without signing up, buying, or otherwise engaging, this could mean that there’s a disconnect in the experience there.

6. Monitor Communications

Monitor communications between employees and customers to see where there might be problems. This can also help you identify areas where employee training is lacking, where your marketing materials are not clear, or where ongoing training is necessary.

7. Employee Focus Groups

It may also be useful to hold employee focus groups. In these groups, you can talk about your experiences with customers. Employees can talk about what they feel were successes or failures in the customer experience based on customer feedback or behavior.

8. Encourage Interaction

Always look for opportunities to interact naturally with your customers. The more you have interactions with them, the more likely you are to glean insights on how they view the experience with your business.

This research should be ongoing. No customer experience is perfect and it can use some fine-tuning. Through the objective data you obtain during this research, you can identify areas of weakness for improvement.

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