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Measuring customer experience: 10 metrics to check off the list

Mathew Maniyamkott

23 January 2019

6 min read

One of the most important aspects of running a company is providing an exceptional customer experience by offering value to them. But more often than not, this is easier said than done. Because unless you try measuring customer experience, you can never really know where you stand.

report by Forrester says that only 32% of B2C CMOs are accountable for customer experience for their organization. So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that benchmarking customer experience is the way to go if you need a leg up over the competition. Here’s a crash course on customer experience and the 10 CX metrics you need to measure it.

What is customer experience measurement?

It is the practice of assessing the experience of customers at all touchpoints of their journeys. Unfortunately, most companies tend to stick to a single metric for measuring customer experience as a whole, which is a huge mistake. Different customers have different goals at each journey stage, and one metric cannot possibly capture it all.

While you might be thinking, how can one measure something as qualitative as customer experience, let us tell you that there are ways to do it. Check out the ten best metrics for measuring customer experience.

Measuring customer experience: Top 10 metrics

#1 Net Promoter Score

NPS asks a simple question that shows how likely customers are to recommend the brand’s product to their peers. The question goes like this:

“How likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or a colleague?”

The customers rate their response on a scale of 0-10, with ten being the highest. We then categorize the respondents into three types:

  • Promoters (9-10): These are your customers who are highly satisfied with your product. You can consider them to be highly loyal. They are the most likely to suggest your product to their friends, family, or coworkers. Don’t lose out on them – take every opportunity to make them feel valued.
  • Passives (7-8): This type doesn’t hate your brand but doesn’t love it either. In short, they don’t care enough to stick around if they get another option. Unless, of course, you can bring them into the fold with exceptional service.
  • Detractors (0-6): These are the disgruntled customers who didn’t have a good experience with your brand and are more likely to badmouth you to others. The solution? Try winning them back by following up with them and redressing their issue.

Online tools like SurveySparrow help you automate and distribute NPS surveys at critical touchpoints, track respondent details, flag negative feedback, and auto-generate results.

#2 Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

CSAT is the average satisfaction score for a specific instance at a customer touchpoint. For example, it could be post-purchase, after a call with customer support, when returning a product, and so on.

The CSAT survey asks customers to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale that varies from ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very dissatisfied.’

CSAT is a more decisive metric than NPS because it gives you insights across the buyer journey. The questions are more specific and are typically longer; therefore, you can pick the brain of your customers. In addition, the open-ended questions in a CSAT survey help get emotional insights and help your customers feel valued and heard.

Related: How to calculate CSAT

#3 Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES measures the amount of effort your customer had to take during an interaction. The lower the effort, the better the customer experience. This metric is usually calculated post-interactions. For example, for a signup process, the question will be, “How difficult was it to finish the signup process?” The answers can range from ‘easy’ to ‘very hard.’

If you want to measure the CES of an online store, the question can be something like this: “Were you able to find what you were looking for?”

Tracking the CES over time helps you uncover the pain points faced by customers at various stages of their journeys and create solutions faster. That, in turn, will help you lower churn rates at key touchpoints.

Related: CES vs. NPS vs. CSAT, and how to measure CES

#4 Customer Churn Rate

Churn rate, also referred to as customer attrition, is the percentage of customers who do not make a repeat purchase or renew their subscription. You can calculate this metric by dividing the total number of customers who dropped out by the total number of active customers at any given period. Let’s show you an example.

Let’s say you have 15 customers who canceled. During the same time, you had an intake of 150 customers. So your churn rate is:

15/150 * 100 = 10%

You can use the same formula to calculate the quarterly and annual churn rates. According to research from Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%!

We all know churning affects profits. But what’s the upside? First, by deploying exit-intent surveys, you can find out why they want to leave. There could be a lot of reasons, including price, product/market fit, customer experience, lack of benefits, poor support, and so on. Finding the problem will help you find a solution. A good solution can only help improve your CX in future interactions.

Measuring customer experience helps you to understand your customers better

#5 First Contact Resolution (FCR)

First Contact Resolution is the percentage of incoming customer requests that are resolved on the first attempt.

FCR is important for three reasons. First, it is a crucial factor in customer happiness. Second, higher FCR rates equate to higher levels of satisfaction and lower churn rates. The reverse is also true.

Thirdly, FCR is a direct indicator of your business support efficiency. Lower FCR rates can result from lack of training, tools, infrastructure setup, skill and experience level, etc. It’s worth a check-in to find out.

#6 Average Resolution Time (ART)

Average Resolution Time is the average time taken by your team to close support tickets within a given timeframe.

Total of all times taken* to close tickets in the given timeframe/No. of tickets closed in the given timeframe = Average Time to Resolution

*Note: The total time taken is measured in hours and will only include business hours.  

Also referred to as ‘resolution time’ and ‘mean time to resolution,’ your Average Resolution Times will vary depending on the complexity of the issue and the ratio of queued tickets to the staff available. There are two ways you can analyze Average Resolution Time:

  • Analyzing by employee: Measuring on a per-employee basis allows you to find out the performers and underperformers. Then, you can create a solution accordingly and track the improvement.
  • Analyzing by stage: Another way is to determine the average resolution time by seeing how it fares at different customer journey stages. Find out why some locations underperform and if there are pain points for your customers and CX teams.

Related: How to reduce resolution times with SurveySparrow

#7 Customer journey mapping

Plot out the entire customer lifecycle from end to end and choose the touchpoints where you can truly make an impact. Then, create metrics for each of these touchpoints and keep track of them.

While this might seem time-consuming, the data you get from surveys is a helpful starting point. With tools like SurveySparrow’s Journey Chart, you can map out your customer’s journey and analyze the performance of each stage. Then, using these insights, you can optimize the customer experience at these stages.

Remember that this is a continuous process and will take its sweet time to garner results. But it is well worth the wait and effort.

#8 Plutchik’s wheel of emotions

Did you know that we are capable of experiencing over 34,000 emotions? Each emotion has a blend of various components like emotion, action tendency, appraisal, motor and physiological components. Based on this data, Robert Plutchik created this wheel of emotions which depicts all the primary and secondary emotions in different colors.

How does this help measure customer experience? First, you can map out customer emotions and visualize them with the appropriate colors through text and sentiment analysis. You can then integrate this data into your customer experience measurement strategy.

#9 Employee engagement

How does employee experience affect customer experience? Simple – happy employees care more about making their customers happy. The data backs this up. Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies with poor customer experience.

Employees who are happy to be working at your organization will ensure that your customers feel welcome and valued. So use anonymous surveys and performance evaluations periodically to see how you can better your employees’ experience.

Related: How 360 assessments work

#10 Customer Acquisition Rate

Another humbling metric is the Customer Acquisition Rate; it is the rate of acquiring new customers. Again, there are a lot of factors that influence this metric, including marketing campaigns, products, systems, brand legacy, goodwill, customer testimonials, and more.

It’s common knowledge that acquiring a new customer costs 5x more than retaining an existing customer. However, a good customer experience can be worth 5x more than any lead gen campaign. Here’s an example of how great customer experience won over one of our prospects.

View the thread here.

Conclusion

There’s a well-known joke that goes like this:

A shopkeeper hires an assistant. He tells him, “Even if we don’t stock a particular item, always say that you will get it in 2-3 days and try to sell them something else.”

Later that day, the shopkeeper eavesdrops on a conversation the assistant is having with an elderly couple. The assistant says, “Oh, I don’t think we can expect it in the next few weeks.”

The shopkeeper, furious, barges in and mollifies the couple. “Don’t worry. This kid is new here. We had just ordered a fresh set of what you asked for. You will get it in two days.”

Guess what? They were new to town and wanted to know if they could expect rain.

Jokes apart, most businesses work this way. This can be avoided by consistently measuring customer experience and needs with experience management tools like SurveySparrow. Otherwise, you will be the businessman who ordered a supply of rains.

Mathew Maniyamkott

Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow

Regular contributor to various magazines. Passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, marketing, and productivity.

Everything about delighting customers.
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