Top Customer Experience Metrics

Customer experience (abbreviated CX) is the experience your customers have with your brand. Customer experience metrics are organizational KPIs that help you monitor your customer journey to see if there are touch points where you are letting customer churn rate increase. Today, we’ll discuss some of the most commonly-used customer experience metrics and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The best way to find out what customers think of you is to ask them directly. As such, the majority of CX metrics are self-reported customer feedback – Net Promoter Score is no different. NPS is designed to find, not only your customer loyalty, but more specifically how inclined your customers are to promote your brand through word-of-mouth.

The standard way to measure NPS is to find the number of “promoters” (people who rate 9-10 on a scale of 1-10 for questions like “how likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend”), find the number of “detractors” (people who rate 1-6 on the same scale), then subtract the percentage of the latter from the percentage of the former. Higher numbers are better here.

Note that we’ve skipped out on the “neutrals” – people who would rate 7-8. These people are not counted for purposes of NPS: reason being that they are not especially likely to promote nor to spread bad word-of-mouth about your product, therefore, from a promotion/detraction standpoint, they are neutral.

One may wonder why we’ve skewed the entire distribution of results to the positive end. Should the results not be categorized more equally (ex. 1-3 = detractor, 4-7 = neutral, 8-10 = promoter)? As it turns out, no – and here’s why.

When someone absolutely loves a product, they’ll tend to rate towards the very top of the scale – 9 or 10, in other words. Some people are sparing with 10s, but anyone who loves your product will rate it at least a 9 of 10. When someone finds the product pretty good but not worth raving about, they won’t rate it in the middle, because the middle translates to a feeling of “ehh, it was okay, I guess”. Still, they won’t give it a 9 or a 10. Therefore, “neutrals” will tend to give ratings of 7 or 8. Anyone who gives a 6 or below will have a feeling about your product somewhere between “ehh, it was okay, I guess” and “it was awful”. Both of those count as bad word-of-mouth, so we count both as “detractors”.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction is a simpler metric: you just ask customers to rate on a Likert scale how satisfied they were with the product. The labels for this scale should be, in order, “very unsatisfied”, “somewhat unsatisfied”, “neutral”, “somewhat satisfied”, and “very satisfied”. The Customer Satisfaction score is the total number of customers who were either “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied”. With this metric, higher numbers are better.

A CSAT score measurement is often accompanied by a series of other, more open-ended questions to determine each individual customer’s experience. This is useful for two reasons: first, listening to the voices of your unsatisfied customers can help you find problems that hamper customer satisfaction so you can fix the issues, and second, you can use the responses of your satisfied customers to find what exactly your customers loved about your product and do more of that.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer effort score measures how hard your customer had to work to achieve their goal, either with your customer support team, with your website, or with your product itself. It’s an extremely useful metric because it provides immediately actionable insights.

Previous measurements of CES had the customer rate effort on a 1-5 or 1-10 scale, but this was confusing, so nowadays most measurements of CES rely on a question like “do you agree or disagree with this statement: ‘it was easy to handle my issue'”, and a Likert scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. Your CES score is the total number of customers who rated either “somewhat agree” or “strongly agree”.

Drawbacks of Customer Experience Metrics

All these CX metrics are extremely useful and can provide very useful insight into your customer engagement, loyalty, satisfaction, and lifetime value. However, there is a drawback for all of them.

These metrics do a pretty good job at measuring what we want them to, but they aren’t perfect. When you rely on an imperfect metric, you need to be careful not to prioritize improving the metric over improving the result the metric is supposed to measure. In the end, your CSAT score is not what really matters; your actual customer satisfaction is.