Customer feedback plays a huge role in customer experience (CX) management. When your customers share their wants and needs, then you can adapt to meet them. Your customers can guide you improve internal processes, identify opportunities for growth, and increase customer retention over time.
While most companies know that they should routinely monitor and digest customer feedback, it often doesn’t happen. Survey responses pile up and requests go unmet. When that happens, customer feedback becomes more of a slog than a strategic tool to boost customer loyalty. What’s more, many companies don’t know how to translate customers’ opinions into actual metrics so they can chart their progress. Instead, they’re sifting through responses and reaching subjective conclusions.
To help combat this, we put together a shortlist of CX metrics every company can benefit from tracking. Each one offers a unique perspective of the customer experience.
1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
The customer satisfaction (CSAT) score measures customer happiness with a particular product, service, or interaction. This is important, because companies with happy customers have a 16% advantage over competitors in customers’ willingness to buy, among other areas. CSAT surveys collect simple feedback after customer interactions. They typically ask something like this: How would you rate the overall satisfaction with your service today?
The way you measure CSAT depends on your needs, but most companies go with a 0-100 or 0-10 scale, where 100 and 10 represent the most positive experience and 0 represents the most negative experience. To get a definitive score, you take the number of good responses and divide them by the number of total responses received, then multiply that number by 100. This will give you your CSAT score.
That equation looks like this:
(# positive ratings / # ratings total) x 100 = CSAT Score
So if 50 customers respond to your survey and 40 of them give you positive ratings, then your CSAT score would be 80%:
(40 / 50) x 100 = 80%
You can set benchmarks to track your performance over certain time periods or interactions. That helps determine if the changes you’re making to your products, services, and practices are actually moving the needle.
Customer Satisfaction Resources
- Customer Satisfaction: How to Drive, Kill, Measure & Sustain It
- The three Cs of customer satisfaction: Consistency, consistency, consistency
- Why We Changed the Way We Run CSAT Surveys
- Improving Customer Satisfaction with Simple Analytics
2. Net Promoter Score® (NPS®)
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures satisfaction more holistically by asking customers one question: How likely are you to recommend us to your family or friends? The metric tends to correlate closely with customer loyalty because it reflects customers’ opinion of the company as a whole, not just one element or interaction.
Customers respond to the NPS question on a 0-10 scale, where 0 represents “not at all likely” and 10 represents “extremely likely.” Based on their responses, they’re categorized as Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), or Detractors (0-6). These distinctions help companies quickly identify customers who…
- are on the verge of churning (Detractors)
- might need more help (Passives)
- could act as brand advocates and refer more business (Promoters)
To get your overall Net Promoter Score, you take the percentage of Promoters and subtract the percentage of Detractors:
% Promoters – % Detractors = Net Promoter Score
So if 15% customers responded with a 6 or below and 30% responded with a 9 or 10, then your NPS would be 15:
30% – 15% = 15
Once you have your Net Promoter Score, you can then set benchmarks to track your performance over time. It’s a particularly great tool for customer success and account managers who need to prioritize at-risk customers and continue nurturing happy ones.
Net Promoter Score Resources
- Net Promoter Score: What It Is & Why You Should Measure It
- The One Number You Need to Grow
- How Campaign Monitor Does the NPS Survey at Scale
- Lessons Learned Sending a Net Promoter Survey to 4,000 Users
3. Customer Expectations
While CSAT and NPS both reflect customer satisfaction, they explicitly show you how well you’re meeting customer expectations. You might be overselling your products or services or inaccurately marketing them, which creates a gap between expectations and reality, and that damages the customer experience. You can identify these gaps by asking customers how their experience compared to their expectations. In a survey, it might look something like this: Did our service live up to your expectations? Or this: How much do you agree with this statement?: “The service lived up to my expectations.”
While survey creators often gravitate toward more answer choices, we suggest keeping it simple and going with the first approach. If you just ask customers for a Yes/No answer, you can use a follow-up question to ask people who say “No” for more details. (Just use survey logic to skip the question for people who say “Yes.”)
The Yes/No approach doesn’t require a fancy formula. It’s more focused on the qualitative feedback you gain from the follow-up question. Customers can explain where you missed the mark, and you can take steps to fix it.
Customer Expectations Resources
- Why Understanding Expectations Is Crucial For Customer Service
- How to Set and Manage Client Expectations: 8 Essential Tips
4. Customer Effort Score (CES)
CSAT surveys typically focus on specific interactions, but how do you measure an experience that happens across multiple interactions? The Customer Effort Score (CES) quantifies the effort customers have to expend in order to get their questions answered. Rather than looking at one email exchange or phone call, the CES question asks about the support experience as a whole. In other words, it focuses on the process of seeking help, not just the results. The CES question usually looks like this: Did we make it easy for you to get help today? Or this: How much do you agree with this statement? “The company made it easy for me to get help.”
Like the customer expectation question, you can go the more complex route with a likert scale, or you can opt for a Yes/No question. Either way, we suggest including a follow-up question that asks for additional feedback. Customer effort, in particular, is a concept that usually requires a bit more digging since it’s examining a series of interactions and the support processes that go into them. For example, if a customer responds “No, you made it hard,” you won’t have much to go off. Was it the help article they read or the live chat conversation that made the support experience difficult? Or was it a combination of the two?
By asking for follow-up info, you can start collecting feedback on areas of the support experience that are lacking. Sure, it means getting your hands dirty a bit and reading through qualitative feedback, but you may spot major procedural gaps that are frustrating your customers and costing your support team precious time.
Customer Effort Resources
- Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers
- Why You Should Care About the Customer Effort Score
- 5 Simple Strategies to Reduce Customer Effort
Each of these four metrics can be tailored to specific departments, products, and services. For example, the CSAT score is such a broad metric, it can apply to practically any experience your customers have with your company—from buying a product online to reading a knowledge base article. Similarly, you might want to measure the amount of effort customers have to put in to get support, implement a program, or purchase a subscription.
As you explore new ways to measure and manage the customer experience, make sure to look beyond individual interactions. Customers don’t think in touchpoints. Their opinions are based on the many experiences they have with your company, big and small. In order to turn CX metrics into actual progress, you have to look beyond data points and create a gameplan for change. A Net Promoter Score alone won’t increase customer loyalty, but if you use the feedback you collect to make decisions that benefit your customers, you’ll ultimately transform the customer experience for the better.