How Do We Measure Customer Experience?
Given the state of today’s marketplace where customers and not sellers have all the power, keeping your customers loyal and content is crucial.
It’s why customer experience and continually working to deliver experiences that will delight your customers has become so important.
Those organisations that can achieve this will be able to retain more customers and generate more brand advocates. This will also help them to improve their bottom line and sustain growth.
However, to do this, you need to be able to measure these experiences and identify and improve any customer pain points. You also need to be able to do this throughout a customer’s lifecycle journey.
This is where the use and value of customer metrics really comes to the fore.
Metrics to measure customer experience
When it comes to metrics for measuring customer experience there are three that really stand out. Each of these can also be effective in measuring different levels of the customer experience. These range from the top-level, measuring overall customer satisfaction with the experiences they’ve received, to the more detailed level, where feedback about experiences connected to individual interactions is analysed.
Generally speaking, customers who are happy with the experiences you’re delivering will tend to be loyal advocates for your brand. That’s why the Net Promoter Score®(NPS) metric, has traditionally been the most popular way to gauge customer’s overall satisfaction with the experiences they’ve received.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The foundation of the NPS® metric is based on a company asking their customers the following question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [our company] [our product] [our service] to a friend or colleague?
The assumption is that those most content with your product or service would rate you with a higher NPS score. This means that they would be more likely to recommend your company to others.
By regularly surveying your customers with this question, the NPS metric offers a very effective barometer of how you’re performing against others in your industry over time.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The CSAT metric is another effective way of measuring your customer experience but goes into a bit more detail. It can be useful for measuring a customer’s general satisfaction or targeted towards individual interactions they’ve had with your company. These interactions could involve your product or customer service and support.
This makes it very useful to deploy across many different touchpoints in your customers’ journey, so you can see what they are happy or unhappy with and make any necessary adjustments. The CSAT measurement is typically executed within a customer survey and asks your customer to rank their satisfaction with something on a scale of 1 – 5. You then need to take the sum of the scores and divide this by the total number of respondents to get your overall CSAT score, which should sit something between zero and 100. A quicker and more effective way of measuring this is available with our CSAT calculator.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Again, offering more detailed analysis of the customer experience at the interactional level is the CES metric. In contrast to CSAT, this metric measures customer experience, by examining how easily customers can interact with you.
This could include anything from how simple you make it for customers to navigate your website and pay for products, to how easily they find interacting with your customer support teams. The easier you make these interactions, the better the customer experience.
The CES measurement is based around the following question: ‘how easy was it to do X, Y, or Z? Respondents are asked to rate the effort involved in each interaction using a 5-point scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
You can then calculate the CES score by finding the average of all responses. This involves taking the total sum of responses and dividing them by the total number of survey respondents, to get your overall CES score, which should lie somewhere between 1 and 5. An alternative and quicker way to generate your score is available through our CES calculator.
A 3-step approach to measuring customer journeys
A common barrier to many organisations when they’re trying to match and map metrics against their customer journey, is the overwhelming choice.
Typical questions include. What should we measure, the entire journey or individual journeys? Are these the right metrics to be measuring? How do we go about matching the correct metrics to the right journeys?
To help, this three-step approach can measure the components of your customer journey and the sum of its parts.
Measure the whole customer journey
The first step is to identify the best metric in helping us define success for the complete customer journey. This metric will be our ultimate measure of customer experience success.
Research seems to back this up too. A McKinsey survey of 27, 000 customers identified that measuring the overall journey offered a better predictor of an effective experience than measuring touchpoints. Their research revealed that company performance on journeys is 35% more predictive of customer satisfaction and 32% more predictive of customer churn than the performance on individual touchpoints.
The feedback from CSAT and CES experiences helps provide an indicator of your overall customer experience success with different individuals. However, NPS is the most effective for getting a quick top-level overview of how your customers are feeling. It’s because it’s the best metric for measuring over time and providing a barometer of how you perform against competitors.
Measure different phases of the customer journey
The next step is to analyse key phases of the customer journey from awareness through to advocacy. Bringing in slightly different metrics, the critical question here is: Does each phase of our journey perform its primary goal?
Your journey map may include more or slightly different stages. However, generally the five-stage framework above applies to most B2B or B2C customer journeys.
So, if you’re to improve your customer experience throughout a customer’s journey, you need the right metrics in place.
Here are some useful questions and measures to consider for each of these phases:
Key question: How aware are our customers about our brand, products and product features?
Example metrics: Some good metrics here include assessing the number of visits and users to your website, as well as calculating your Share of Voice (SOV) in the market.
Key question: When customers are actively looking for the types of products we sell, are they seeking us out?
Example metrics: Some useful metrics to use here include organic keyword traffic (specifically around our brand or product), direct traffic to your website, or footfall to your physical retail store if that applies.
Key question: Once customers begin the buying process, are they completing it?
Example metrics: Useful metrics here include examining abandoned basket rates for websites, and footfall vs actual purchases made in physical retail stores.
Key question: Once customers have shopped with us, are they returning to buy again?
Example metrics: Some good metrics here include looking at the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), customer service ticket volumes, return visitors, frequency of sessions and session length
Key question: After they’ve made their purchase, how likely are our customers to recommend us?
Example metrics: Useful metrics here include the net promoter score (NPS) at specific points of the customers’ journey, social media sentiment analysis, and the use of affiliate and referral codes
Examine individual touchpoints
After you’ve examined the different phases of your customer’s journey, you will then want to look at specific touchpoints.
The crucial question you should be asking yourself here is: “Are our touchpoints reducing friction and delighting customers?
Here we can put touchpoints into two main groupings, physical and digital.
Examples of physical touchpoint metrics could include store footfall vs number of purchases, basket size, overall retail sales and the number of queries going to staff.
Similarly, examples of digital touchpoint metrics could examine activity on your eCommerce website and online support chat channels. The former might analyse uptime, drop-off points, bounce rates, loading speed, mobile page performance and dwell time. In contrast, the latter may focus on support interaction length, post-chat customer satisfaction surveys, repeat customer purchases, wait-times and customer sentiment in chat discussions.
Individual touchpoint metrics do matter, as we need to know where we’re failing to delight customers. However, not all touchpoints have an equal impact on overall customer satisfaction. Some touchpoints like advertisements may only require one metric to determine if they’re working. Alternatively, other more critical touchpoints, like websites, may require more than one metric.
The Peak-end Rule approach to assessing customer satisfaction
With lots of touchpoints to consider, how do we know which ones are the most important to overall customer satisfaction?
Well, the answer can be found using the behavioural science principle known as the Peak-end Rule.
This rule states that people judge an experience based on how they felt at its peak and its end, not the average of every moment of that experience. And that’s true whether that customer had a good or bad experience. For brands, this means that their customers will only remember their whole experience based on two moment. This incudes the best (or worst) part of that experience and the very end.
That’s great news if you’re a larger organisation with a long and complex customer journey. This is because according to this science, while you’ll still want to optimise every touchpoint, you don’t necessarily have to give equal time, money and attention to each of them. To transform customer satisfaction and customer experience, you only have to focus on two moments — the peak and the end.
It’s also important to remember that some metrics can be deceiving, in that it can be particularly easy to misinterpret a number when there’s no context or customer feedback.
A good example is the dwell time on a website. You may initially think a long dwell time is good and be representative of customers prolonging an enjoyable experience. However, this could actually be the result of not understanding what to do next, resulting in a bad overall experience. In such circumstances a pop-up survey question prompting them for more information, could provide a better picture of what’s happening. From there you could make any necessary improvements you needed to incorporate.
Ultimately, if you can incorporate the right customer experience metrics and look to capture your customers’ top level customer experience feedback including all the key stages in-between, you’ll be well on the way to improving it.