Measuring Customer Experience: Top 10 CX Metrics and KPIs for Success

February 14, 2024 12 min read

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon

How to measure customer experience: A simple framework for improving CX

Every interaction a customer has with your organization impacts their relationship with you. Yet, many companies may rely only on a few select high-level metrics when measuring customer experience (CX). Those customers are shortchanging themselves when it comes to their customer service goals.

To measure CX, first understand each step of the customer journey and the customer service tools guiding the way along those steps. Then, connect key metrics to each step that tells you if the customer is on the right path. We’ll break down measuring customer experience below and the 10 best metrics to measure it with.

Let’s jump right in.

How to Measure Customer Experience

Rather than skipping ahead to the end of a customer journey, dig down into the exact moments that need your attention to usher in the biggest changes. Companies that harness data-powered insights to become CX leaders have shown up to 70% higher customer loyalty and 190% higher revenue growth over three years, according to research from Boston Consulting Group.

To measure the customer experience, break up your CX analytics and metrics into steps of the customer journey.

The five best practices to track customer experience (CX)

To do this, we’ll create a framework that uses what you already know about your customers to measure the impact and efficiency of your CX initiatives.

1. Outline the customer journey & touchpoints along the way

Define your goals for the actions you want your customers to take by mapping your customer journey. For instance, your goals might be booking a demo, signing up for your service, onboarding other teammates, or even receiving a product on time.

Every journey to that goal comprises a series of “touchpoints” that customers go through, and each touchpoint is a focused opportunity to improve the customer experience. As you improve each touchpoint over time, you’ll start to identify larger opportunities and impact the overall customer experience with your company.

💡Our tip: Prioritize a single ‘quick-win’ journey to get momentum and buy-in for larger projects. If you already understand your common customer journeys, use them to highlight pain points or look for opportunities. Otherwise, talk to your support team and ask where customers are getting frustrated.

2. Set a customer experience success metric for each touchpoint

Customer experience success metrics are in-journey signals that will become the guardrails keeping your customers moving in the right direction. 

Think about what customers experience, feel, and do. Forrester calls these interaction, perception, and outcome metrics:

  • Interaction metrics are what happens to the customer while they engage you.
  • Perception metrics are what and how they feel about the interaction.
  • Outcome metrics are the resulting actions that occur after that interaction.

Measuring metrics at each stage of the customer journey helps evaluate the complete customer experience instead of a siloed view.

3. Set up automation campaigns to ask for customer feedback

Customers have limited time to give feedback. By making the process short and sweet, you’ll have a higher chance of getting the data you need.

Follow these best practices when asking for customer feedback:

Lastly, move away from manual processes so your CX measurement isn’t restricted to business hours. For example, in Nextiva, you can set up customer service automations to analyze customer conversations and actions and trigger a relevant response. 

Nextiva’s intelligent automations automatically reacting to customers’ needs, including sentiment score

Automations help you ask for feedback at the right time and provide 24/7 support while saving you money. According to McKinsey, businesses that use automation to revamp their customer experience strategy can save up to 40% in operating costs.

4. Create a central customer experience dashboard

Customer experience data isn’t less beneficial if it isn’t accessible, easily understood, and actionable. A central dashboard for all your metrics is a single source of truth and an essential tool for measuring customer experience.

Screenshot of Nextiva’s omnichannel contact center gathering CX data all in one place

Look for a unified communications (UC) tool like Nextiva that combines tools like phone, chat, and video with a service CRM. This way, you can access real-time and historical data alongside customer conversations.

5. Future-proof your customer experience with regular quality assurance monitoring

Even with a framework for tracking CX, your customers, business, and industry always evolve. 

Measuring customer experience is an ongoing process — that is, you’re never quite done measuring it. Instead, you should build in regular quality assurance (QA) to find ways to improve your CX.

Blue stair-stepped tiers showing the three stages of maturity for CX measurement programs.

Customer experience QA comes in many forms. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Once you’ve established a quality assurance protocol, you can begin measuring customer experience and looking for patterns.

10 Best Customer Experience Metrics to Measure

The customer experience dictates whether customers will be loyal to your business or churn and go elsewhere.

You can measure CX directly and indirectly to grasp the full breadth of the customer experience. Direct measurements are surveys asking the customer for feedback, and indirect measurements involve backend customer support data analysis.

The 10 top metrics for CX Success: CSAT, NPS, CES, CLV, MAU, ART, FCR, Churn/Retention, Referrals, and Response Time.

According to Leah Leachman and Don Scheibenreif with the Harvard Business Review:

“You cannot be successful if you rely on one measurement to determine performance, because you risk managing to a score instead of the customer’s needs and expectations.”

CX metrics are best to put to use after you’ve mapped your journey and understand your customer’s goals. Experience-led growth through the maximization of CX efforts is a strategy that McKinsey says is key for companies to stay competitive in the current disruptive business environment by harnessing data already available through the full picture of CX metrics.

1. Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

Satisfied customers are more likely to return, and loyal customers spend more. Where are your customers most satisfied with your services? More importantly, where are they unsatisfied?

A customer satisfaction (CSAT) score gauges customers’ satisfaction when they buy your product or service — or even when they just communicate with your business.

To calculate CSAT: Ask customers to take a simple customer satisfaction survey where they rate their satisfaction on a numerical scale. Then, average those scores.

Measuring CSAT provides businesses with valuable insights into customer happiness and identifies areas for improvement. The higher the score, the more satisfied your customers likely are. Meanwhile, a low score might signal a customer service area that needs attention.

Improving CX involves analyzing CSAT data to understand specific pain points or gain insight into your customer service wins. When you properly address issues highlighted by low CSAT scores, you can enhance customer service, improve product offerings, and even increase customer loyalty. And if you regularly track your customer satisfaction numbers, you’ll stay more customer-focused and increase your responsiveness to changing needs.

2. Net Promoter Score® (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) dissects customer loyalty by assessing how likely a customer is to recommend you to others. It’s measured by asking customers a single question that customers answer on a scale from 0 to 10:

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

To calculate NPS: Subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. A good NPS is any score above zero, though higher numbers indicate higher scores (and fewer detractors).

NPS categorizes customers into three distinct groups:

  • Promoters (scores 9–10)
  • Passives (scores 7–8)
  • Detractors (scores 0–6)
Measuring the Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is far from the only CX metric to keep an eye on. Some business leaders might consider NPS an incomplete metric because it only measures customer intention, not actual action. In other words, customers can say they’ll recommend your business, but whether they do is an entirely different metric.

3. Customer effort score (CES)

Your customer effort score (CES) evaluates how easily customers can achieve their goals when interacting with your business. The more effort a customer exerts when working with you, the less likely they are to return to give you their business.

To calculate CES: Measure this metric with surveys after a customer interaction or transaction and average the scores.

A lower CES indicates that customers find it relatively easy to engage with your company, while a higher score suggests higher perceived effort. Lowering customer effort doesn’t just improve CX by reducing friction in interactions but can also lower your cost of providing customer service.

Interactions with low effort can reduce the frequency of time-drains like repeat contacts or issue escalations. They can also discourage customers from channel-switching, which is when a customer changes communication channels during an interaction within an omnichannel contact center environment, usually out of frustration, like when an FAQ section fails to answer a question.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Contact Center

Reducing customer effort can boost employee retention by improving employee satisfaction, thanks to more of their interactions helping customers.

4. Customer lifetime value (CLV) 

Customer lifetime value (CLV) quantifies the total projected revenue you can expect from a customer throughout your entire relationship. It considers the value and frequency of a customer’s purchases and the duration of their engagement with your business.

To calculate CLV: Multiply a customer’s average purchase value by their number of purchases to find your customer value. Multiply that number by your average customer lifespan to estimate a given customer’s lifetime value.

CLV is a key metric for businesses seeking to understand the long-term profitability of their customer base. CLV helps you make informed decisions about customer acquisition costs, marketing strategies, and customer retention efforts. Higher CLV indicates a more valuable customer relationship, emphasizing how valuable it is to retain customers over the long term.

Stronger CX can improve CLV over time, so tracking CLV is crucial to ensure your CX efforts pay off.

Lifetime Value vs. Customer Lifetime Value - Calculating the Difference (Formula)

5. Monthly active users (MAU)

Monthly active users (MAU) is a CX metric that measures the number of unique users who engage with a product, service, or platform during a given period.

To calculate MAU: Count the number of users who access the product, service, or platform you’re measuring to calculate your MAU.

MAU gives insights into your regular user base in the context of digital products, websites, and applications. If people aren’t engaging with your product or service, they may not be satisfied with what they receive.

This metric helps assess user engagement, track growth or decline over time, and evaluate the overall popularity of a product or platform. A high MAU can signify a healthy and active user community, while a decline should prompt you to investigate and address potential customer retention strategies.

6. Average resolution time (ART)

Average resolution time (ART) is the average time it takes for a team or system to resolve an issue or address a customer inquiry. It’s a metric commonly used in customer support or service environments to assess problem-solving efficiency.

To calculate ART: Sum up the resolution times for individual cases and divide by the total number of cases.

Monitoring your ART helps identify areas for improvement in your support workflows, allocate support resources more effectively, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

A lower ART shows quicker issue resolution, contributing to higher customer satisfaction and demonstrating your commitment to customer service. Efficient issue resolution also plays a role in customer retention by building trust and confidence in the brand, fostering loyalty, and encouraging positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

7. First contact resolution rate (FCR)

Your first contact resolution rate (FCR) is the percentage of customer issues resolved during the first touchpoint with customer service without needing a follow-up contact.

FCR measures your support team’s competency and efficiency in solving customer issues. This is especially important for CX as the first contact sets the tone for a customer’s relationship with your business.

To calculate FCR: Divide how many customer support cases your team resolved on the first contact by the total number of opened cases. Then multiply by 100 to get your rate.

A high FCR shows that your team is helping reduce support costs by limiting costly and time-consuming follow-up contacts.

8. Churn and retention rates

You will measure these customer service metrics retroactively to show how many customers left or stuck around during a given period. High churn can be a CX red flag indicating dissatisfaction, and sustained high churn can negatively impact your brand reputation, making it harder to stay competitive.

To calculate churn: Divide the number of customers you lost in a given period by the number of customers you had at the beginning. Then, multiply by 100.

To calculate retention: Subtract the number of customers you gained in a given period from the number of customers you had at the end. Then, divide that by the number of customers you had at the beginning of the period. Multiply that number by 100 to get your CRR.

Finding new customers costs more than keeping existing ones, and you can make drastic changes to your bottom line with small boosts in customer loyalty. Reducing churn and raising the customer retention rate (CRR) by just 5% can increase profits by as much as 95%.

9. Referral rate

Customers who refer aren’t just satisfied but are eager and enthusiastic about your brand, with a willingness to recommend you to their network.

To calculate referral rate: Your referral rate is the number of customers who referred your business divided by your total customer count, multiplied by 100.

Referrals indicate customer loyalty and trust and don’t cost any marketing dollars to acquire. Referred customers are also more loyal and profitable, spending more and churning less than ordinary customers.

Screenshot-showing-how-Nextivas-review-management-tool-auto-responds-to-customer-reviews

10. Response time

Your agents’ response speed is critical when customers expect shorter wait times. Shorter response times shape a more positive brand image and boost CX.

To calculate average response time: Sum up the response times for all customer inquiries and divide by the total number of cases.

Your customers appreciate timely assistance — fast response times keep them engaged and prevent frustration. Quick responses are often precursors to faster issue resolution, lowering your ART. They can also give you a competitive edge that sets you apart from slower competitors.

Make Your CX Data Easier to Analyze

When it comes to measuring customer experience, simpler is often better. 

Instead of drowning in CX metrics, prioritize a single journey, understand the in-journey signals to watch out for, and bring it all together in a single dashboard like Nextiva

The more unified your data, communications, and software are, the easier it is to create meaningful and enjoyable customer relationships.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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How to Measure Customer Experience FAQs

What are the 3 types of customer experience metrics?

The three types of customer experience metrics are interaction, perception, and outcome metrics.

Interaction metrics result from what occurs during the customer experience. Perception metrics stem from a customer’s thoughts and feelings about their experience, and outcome metrics are the results (a customer’s next actions) after their experience.

How do you measure the digital customer experience?

Measuring the digital customer experience involves a mix of direct and indirect customer feedback. Direct feedback comes from customer surveys, while indirect feedback comes from customer support data analysis. By measuring customer experience metrics, you can measure overall digital customer experience based on factors like lifetime value, churn, and more.

How do you measure customer experience in a call center?

To measure customer service in a call center, use CX metrics that involve agent chats. These metrics can include time-based metrics like average response times, average resolution time, and first contact resolution time, as well as survey metrics like customer effort score and Net Promoter Score.

Ken McMahon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon leads Customer Success for Nextiva. His 25 years of experience leading various aspects of the customer experience including professional services, customer success, customer care, national operations, and sales. Before Nextiva, he held senior leadership roles with TPx, Vonage, and CenturyLink. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

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