Customer Experience Is Evolving. Are Your Metrics?

6 min read
A woman examines customer experience metrics to help brands measure the quality of their customers’ relationships to their companies.

There are a lot of useful metrics for tracking your service, as our CEO Brad Birnbaum recently discussed. However, if you’re just looking at your service through the lens of efficiency and generating the lowest cost to your organization, there’s a good chance you’re only seeing a fraction of your customers’ experiences and potentially cheapening your relationship with them.

Customer experience metrics help organizations gauge the quality of customers’ experiences with their brand. When combined with metrics that simply track service efficiency, brands can develop a healthier, more holistic understanding of their businesses and audiences.

What Are Customer Experience Metrics?

Customer experience metrics (sometimes shortened to “CX metrics”) are performance indicators that consider customer input. A net promoter score (NPS) is a common customer experience metric that is calculated with a simple question directed at a brand’s audience: how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?

Customer experience metrics such as NPS are valuable because they can provide insights into customers’ relationships to a brand; insights that can contribute to a brand’s understanding of itself and its overall growth potential. Monitoring a variety of CX metrics will help determine areas in which your brand can increase its ability to delight your customers and retain their loyalty. Loyal customers suggest stability and high growth potential.

But NPS is only one customer experience metric. What are others?

Metrics for Support: First Contact Resolution & Average Handling Time

Customer service is, of course, a key component of customers’ experiences. And many of the longest-standing metrics used to measure customer service are operational in nature: first contact resolution (FCR) and average handle time (AHT) are being two of the most widespread.

  • These metrics work well for determining the cost-effectiveness of your service.
  • They encourage agents to work more quickly and help more customers
  • Their objective is to lower the cost of each interaction

However, this mindset puts a premium on agents working quickly, not delivering a great experience.

  • Agents can scale service, but that doesn’t mean that service is of a high quality.
  • If customers are going away unsatisfied, or keep returning with the same problem, what is the real value of the support you’re offering?

You might be helping a lot of customers, but no matter how inexpensive it is to help each of them individually—you’re still operating your service organization at a loss. If you’re leaving your customers unhappy at the end of each interaction, that’s not going to allow your brand to develop loyal customers.

Metrics for Service: Customer Satisfaction Score & Net Promoter Score

Many companies have evolved towards delivering more than just baseline support, but actual satisfying service. A company that delivers service goes further. They invest in their customers to create positive word of mouth and encourage repeat business. Zappos is a good example of a company that brought the benefits of providing real service to customers to the forefront. They strive to make customers happy, offering easy returns and short wait times that make you want to come back for more. If offering a discount means that an agent will save the sale, even if it lowers profitability, then they’re encouraged to take that step. As long as the customer keeps coming back, they’re worth more to the business in the long run. Companies with this service mindset still care about operational metrics, but CX remains a cost center for their business.

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS), which we discussed earlier, surveys can tell you how satisfied customers are with individual service interaction.

However CSAT really only tells you if your customers are happy with the service they’re receiving at that moment.

  • It doesn’t fully account for their sentiment around all the interactions they have before and after that engagement.
  • These surveys are biased and the majority of your customers won’t take a CSAT or NPS survey
  • Those that do are much more likely to respond if they’ve had a very good or very bad experience.

While useful as part of a larger mix, in most cases, customers are telling you about the interaction that they just had, not their overall feeling towards your service and brand as a whole.

Metrics for Experience: Lifetime Value and Sentiment

To really deliver an incredible experience, agents should prioritize generating repeat business and giving top-quality, personalized service. Kustomer research indicates that CX professionals believe personalized experiences will be the most important customer service attribute by 2025. Beyond that, they should be thinking long term, giving valuable customers a material reason to keep shopping with offers and discounts. If your mindset is about improving your customer experience without worrying about the amount of time or cost behind it, then CX becomes an investment to gain repeat business.

  • Use natural language processing (NLP) to track sentiment across all text-driven channels to get large-scale, unbiased insight.
  • Sentiment analysis is a great way for your team to get a read on customers’ emotions and have agents adjust their approach accordingly.

However, you still won’t know what’s going unsaid. Only one out of every 26 customers complain if something goes wrong.

  • The key metric has to be lifetime value (LTV). It’s the only way to know how all the interactions around your brand contribute to a better experience and repeat customers.
  • If you invest in LTV, then your CX can drive real revenue for your business: a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%, according to Bain & Company.

Understanding Customer Experience Metrics Within a Broader Picture

Support doesn’t have to be a sunk cost. It can actually be a revenue center for your business once you shift your mindset towards totally understanding and serving the customer.

CX is evolving, and the way you think about your brand’s strategy needs to evolve with it. LTV has to be your top metric if you want to run a 21st-century CX organization as it is an indicator of how your organization performs at delighting customers and turning them into lifelong customers. Without knowing everything about your customer, you’ll never know how much you have to win by putting their needs first. There is a world of business to be won if you offer the best experience possible.

How Do You Measure Success in CX?

Now that you’ve gained some insights on how to measure customer experience using various strategies and KPIs, take a look back at your own processes. Want to learn how your CX stacks up against the competition? Take our interactive CX Assessment today.

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