3 Common customer experience metrics explained: CX Mini Masterclass – E31

By March 14, 2019 December 20th, 2019 No Comments
This CX Mini Masterclass provides an overview of 3 of the most common customer experience metrics currently in use among businesses: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES). Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, explains what these metrics are and how they are measured and used. If you are looking to cut through the confusion of metric acronyms, this episode is for you.




A heightened focus on metrics

Nothing gets the CX community more riled up than a conversation about CX metrics. If you want to spark a lively debate at a conference or on social media, just ask a group of CX professionals for their opinions about CX metrics. Why is this?

CX metrics have been the way that customer experience teams defend and demonstrate their contribution to the business. These tangible results have also provided the platform for CX leaders to bridge the gap between the nebulous aspects of customer engagement that often drive customer happiness, but have historically been regarded as the fluffy stuff by business leaders, and tangible business value. CX metrics and measures are critical to the success of of customer centric work, and it shouldn’t be surprising that they ignite such passion within the professional community.

Metrics will undoubtedly evolve with the profession, but for the moment there are several metrics that are widely in use. Regardless of the ongoing debate, it’s important for any CX professional to understand what these metrics are an how they are currently used.


The big 3 customer experience metrics

Love them ore hate them, there are 3 customer experience metrics that currently dominate the scene.


  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – This metric is widely used and gauges a customer’s perceived level of satisfaction after a particular interaction. Scores are gathered through a survey and can involve different variations of question language, but is something along the lines of “overall, how satisfied were you with [X] experience”. The respondent then provides their satisfaction score on a range from very unsatisfied to very satisfied (usually as a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10). Survey results are aggregated to show the percentage of respondents at the top, bottom or middle of the response scale. Unfortunately, CSAT alone won’t tell us why someone is satisfied or unsatisfied, so CSAT survey questions can be accompanied by a follow-up question asking the respondent to expand on the reasoning behind their score.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) – This metric was developed by Fred Reichheld, and introduced to the world in a 2003 Harvard Business review article titled “One Number You Need to Grow”.  Net promoter score is intended to be applied as a loyalty metric, and is measured by asking survey respondents to rate on a scale from 0 to 10 “How likely is it that you would recommend our [company/product/service] to a friend or colleague?” Ratings of 9 or 10 are considered promoters, ratings of 0 to 6 are considered detractors, and ratings of 7 or 8 are regarded as neutral. NPS is calculated as: % of promoters – % of detractors. The resulting score can range from -100 to 100. Check out the Temkin Group’s annual NPS research for some context around typical score rages among various industries.
  • Customer Effort score (CES) – This CX metric is a relatively new kid on the block, but it’s gaining popularity as a way to evaluate a customer’s perception on convenience and ease of use. These are factors which are broadly valued by consumers and applicable to most customer experiences. Customer effort score is gathered through a survey question asking customers to provide their perception of effort. I.e. “on a scale from ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult’, how easy was it to interact with [X company].” As with CSAT, Customer effort score is usually reported as the percentage of respondents who rate a high, medium or low level of ease. Like NPS and CSAT, customer effort score is relative to the customer’s expectations and their personal perception of the experience, but it does allow organizations to zero in on how customers feel about the level of ease of their interactions with an organization.

Many businesses leverage these scores to understand and evaluate the success of their CX management efforts. It’s crucial to note that these customer experience metrics only provide a small window into overall customer experience delivery. An over-reliance on one score is a dangerous path for CX teams. Keep in mind that these metrics should be utilized and reviewed in conjunction with CX measures and business value drivers to create a more comprehensive view. If you are confused about the difference between CX Metrics, measures and business value drivers, check out episode 28, which features CXPA CEO Diane Magers providing clarity on the distinction between these.

There’s more to come on CX metrics and measures! Stay tuned for more CX Mini Masterclasses in March on this topic.


Want to keep learning about CX?

If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.

And if you are looking to super-charge your CX skills and continue learning, be sure to check out CX University. They have a great array of CXPA accredited training resources available on a flexible monthly subscription plan. Use the code PODCAST10 to get 10% off your first month’s subscription and support this podcast.

Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including CX measurement, insights, leadership alignment and CX change implementation) or get in touch via email


Julia Ahlfeldt

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