How to measure customer experience


By: Amelia Wallace

With so much competition for a customer’s attention and loyalty, creating a positive customer experience has become a top priority for brands and businesses. Great customer experiences can ultimately lead to business growth, but some businesses struggle to accomplish a well-curated experience for their consumers.

Taking the time to track and benchmark customer experience metrics can make a huge difference in your quest to improve customer experience. A great starting point is measuring customer experience metrics, including Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer effort score (CES), customer churn rate and visitor intent.

We’ll show you how to measure customer experience — and whether you use one or all of these metrics, just remember they’re simply scores to help you track and monitor improvements. What’s most important is taking what you learn from any one of these metrics and improving your customers’ experiences with your brand.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used to gauge your customers’ overall satisfaction with your brand. When calculated, it can reveal the percentage of customers who may or may not recommend your services to family, friends, etc. An NPS can easily be measured through a customer survey that flat out asks, “How likely are you to recommend [your brand/business] to a friend or colleague?” Through a rating scale of 1-10, you can calculate your NPS by subtracting Detractors from Promoters:

  • Detractors are anyone who scores your brand from 0 to 6. This means they are generally dissatisfied with their customer experience and could potentially impact brand perception negatively through word of mouth.

  • Promoters are anyone who scores your brand from 9 to 10. They’ve had a positive customer experience, feel loyal to your business and will most likely promote your brand or product/services.

  • Anyone in between these two is considered a Passive; those who score from 7 to 8. They’re satisfied but not so loyal they can’t be pulled away by competitors.

By measuring your NPS, you can assess the overall loyalty of your customers. Measuring the NPS is one of the most common customer experience metrics as it’s quick to complete, easy to understand and can give a look into the big picture of customer loyalty.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

Another metric used to gauge the overall customer experience is customer satisfaction (CSAT). CSAT can be measured as the average satisfaction score your customers use to rate a specific experience they’ve had with your brand. This can include anything from returning a product to getting an answer from customer support. To measure this, you can send automated surveys to customers asking them to rate their level of satisfaction during this interaction from “not satisfied at all” to “very satisfied.”

Customer satisfaction is essential to growing your business in this digital age where our economy runs on split-second decision making by consumers. To make this metric most effective for your business, try to get a CSAT score within 30 minutes of a customer’s interaction. Getting a here-and-now reaction to your product or service can really help in calculating your CSAT. Be sure to use follow-up questions that dig further into their experience so you can identify pain points and highlight where improvement is needed in the customer experience.

Customer effort score (CES)

A third metric for improving customer experience is calculating your customer effort score (CES). This score helps you determine the effort required by your customers to accomplish a task such as finding the product they’re looking for or receiving a response from a support request.

You can calculate this score with a similar post-interaction survey like the CSAT and asking customers to rate a specific statement. Be sure to curate these statements based on specific interactions. For example, if it’s following a customer support interaction, you could ask, “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to resolve your issue?” Your scale can range from “very low” to “very high.” On the other hand, if you’re gauging how easy it was for them to find a specific product they were searching for, you may use the statement “The company made it easy for me to find the product I was looking for,” and have a scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”

One of the biggest reasons customers choose to interact digitally is the ease and lack of effort it requires of consumers. Customers don’t want to work to get something they’re looking for — this is why more and more companies offer online chat support rather than forcing customers to call or go to a physical location for help. In this digital era, your customers will prioritize products and services that don’t demand too much effort.

Note too, the more effortless the customer experience, the higher the satisfaction. This can lead to high-value, loyal customers. And although CES is a more recent metric, it can provide actionable data to help you change pain points quickly in the customer experience journey.

Customer churn rate

Along with the above customer experience metrics, customer churn rate is a great measuring tool. The customer churn rate is the rate at which customers abandon a brand, service or product. This can include customers who don’t make repeat purchases or cancel recurring services that are subscription-based. To calculate your churn rate, divide the total number of customers lost by the total number of active customers for any given period.

If you’re not a subscription-based business, you’ll need to clearly define what constitutes a churn event for your company. For example, if you know most of your customers tend to make repeat purchases within 90 days, then mark any customer who doesn’t do so within this 90-day period as churned. If you are subscription-based, simply divide the number of customers who cancel a service by those you retain. Other ways you can measure this are as follows:

  • Calculate overall customer churn during different time frames such as monthly, quarterly or annually.

  • Measure churn during specific stages of the customer journey.

  • Calculate customer churn based on specific customer cohorts at different time periods. This could include the churn rates of a customer cohort that signed up for a specific promotion.

  • Segment churn by customer type and subscription plan. 

Visitor intent

Our final customer experience metric is visitor intent. Visitor intent measures why consumers are coming to your page or website. By measuring this, you can discover what users want when they first land on your page and specific problems customers are looking to solve. This metric can also help you gain insight into audience needs along with providing an opportunity to create more relevant products, services, content or even landing pages.

Overall, there are two types of visitor intent: informational or transactional. Users are coming to your page either in search of information or they’re specifically looking to buy something. You can measure visitor intent through website analytics by reaping data around the terms that attract users to your page, which pages they visit and how long they stay on the pages.

Along with this, you can also ask customers directly by creating pop-up questionnaires, customer polls or online surveys. Use targeted questions that are both multiple-choice and open so you can understand the “why” behind their actions.

Give your customer experience program the metrics it needs to generate support across the company and grow your business. The stats show both the consequences and rewards can be high.

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Amelia Wallace

Amelia Wallace has been writing content for far too long. Her expertise ranges from home decor to insurance to marketing and beyond. She is an avid movie-goer, retains only the best kinds of useless information, and is the worst to go hiking with since she’s constantly stopping to take photos.

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