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Satisfied customers are a mark of success for any business. They’re likely to spend more money, be more loyal, and recommend your brand to others. However, the opposite can also be said about unsatisfied customers. According to Dimensional Research, 95% of customers will share poor customer service experiences with others.
Measuring the customer experience allows brands to determine whether they are satisfying customers throughout various interaction points. This information helps brands determine what’s working well with their customer experience and what pain points are holding them back from better serving their audience.
To quantify the customer experience, brands often use a series of customer experience metrics (also known as CX metrics) which typically includes CSAT, NPS, and CES. Each of these customer experience metrics have a specific purpose, so it’s important to understand the differences between them to determine which ones your brand should utilize.
If you’re looking for ways to measure and improve the customer experience, learn everything you can about CSAT, NPS, and CES. This includes understanding each score and how to improve them, their calculation formulas, and examples.
Customer experience metrics are KPIs that quantify the customer’s experience through a numerical score. They can be used to gauge customer sentiment and satisfaction with your brand to determine whether they’d purchase from you again or even recommend your brand to others.
Brands can use the scores associated with customer experience metrics as a benchmark and leading indicator when making improvements to customer service operations or when reconsidering the customer journey. These benchmarks can be used to monitor progress over time, and can be compared to industry standards to see how your brand stacks up to competitors.
Ultimately, the benefit of measuring the customer experience is providing valuable insights that enable your brand to make improvements resulting in higher satisfaction and loyalty.
The customer experience metrics you decide to measure should be based on the knowledge gaps you are looking to fill and the long-term goals for your brand. For example, your brand may wish to better understand customer sentiment at a particular touchpoint in which case one CX metric might be more relevant than others. On the other hand, your brand may wish to better understand and improve the customer experience as a whole which would indicate the need to utilize several CX metrics. To determine which customer experience metrics to measure, you should start with an understanding of the most commonly used CX metrics.
CSAT, NPS, and CES are the most popular customer experience metrics which are all used to quantify customer satisfaction, each with its own uses and limitations. Businesses can use these customer experience metrics together to identify where there may be room for improvement in terms of customer care, including interactions, workflows, and technology. These metrics often represent customer impressions of the brand, its products, and maybe its corporate identity as a whole — but they’re best used when granularly measuring the places where customers engage your brand to ask questions, get help, or make a purchase.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores measure the degree to which customers are pleased with a product, service, or experience. Brands use CSAT scores to determine customer satisfaction at specific interaction points. For example, a brand may use CSAT to determine how satisfied customers are with their checkout process, when using the product/service, and following conversations with support.
To measure CSAT, customers receive a short survey asking them to rate their experience on a scale. Typically, to measure CSAT a brand would ask a question like “How satisfied were you with X?” or “How would you rate your satisfaction with X?”. CSAT scales can range from poor to excellent, 1 – 5, 0-100, or even happy face to angry face.
Regardless of the scale you use, CSAT scores will inevitably be displayed in percentages.
Calculate a CSAT score by taking the number of positive responses and dividing it by the total number of responses, then multiply the value by 100 to get the percent of satisfied customers.
CSAT= (number of positive responses/total number of responses) x 100
Consider a scenario where a brand wants to determine how satisfied customers are after interacting with their support team. The brand decides to do this using a single question CSAT survey following customer interactions with support that asks “How satisfied are you with our customer service?” The answers allow customers to choose a value from 1-5.
The following values represent customer levels of satisfaction with the brand’s customer support:
1 = Poor
2 = Okay
3 = Fine
4 = Good
5 = Excellent
This survey is given to 100 customers following interactions with support, which results in 10 “poor” responses, 15 “okay” responses, 10 “fine “responses, 40 “good” responses, and 25 “excellent” responses. The brand decides only “good” and “excellent” will count as positive responses. So, when calculating their CSAT score they combine these values and divide it by the total number of responses before multiplying by 100.
Here’s what this looks like using the CSAT formula:
CSAT = ((40 good responses + 25 excellent responses)/100 respondents) x 100
The result is 65, so the brand’s CSAT score for their customer service is 65%. This indicates 65% of customers are satisfied with the brand’s customer service.
Net promoter scores (NPS) calculate customers’ willingness to recommend, or “promote,” a company’s products or services, which can be used as a signal for overall satisfaction and loyalty to your brand. The metric can also be used to forecast brand growth, as well as customer churn rate.
To measure NPS, customers are asked how likely they are to recommend a company or product to a family member, friend, or colleague on a scale of 0 – 10. This question can be asked at any point after a user takes an action related to your brand such as purchasing a product, creating an account, contacting your support team, etc.
Based on the responses, customers are scored into three categories:
Promoters — Customers who responded with a score of 9 or 10. These are your most loyal and enthusiastic customers.
Passives — Customers who responded with a score of 7 or 8. These customers are satisfied with your business, but not as likely to recommend it as promoters.
Detractors — Customers who responded with a score of 0-6. These customers are unsatisfied and may discourage friends and colleagues from engaging with your business.
To calculate NPS, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of respondents who are promoters and the percentage who are detractors. To get your final NPS score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. You will end up with a number between -100 and 100. An NPS score of -100 indicates every customer is a detractor, while an NPS score of 100 indicates every customer is a promoter.
For reference, here’s the NPS formula:
NPS score = (% promoters - % detractors) x 100
Consider a scenario where a brand has just released a new product and wants to gauge how likely customers are to recommend it to others. To achieve this, the brand decides to use NPS score as a measure of customer satisfaction and willingness to promote.
To calculate the NPS score of their new product, the brand sends customers a one question survey, “How likely are you to recommend our product to others?” one week after their purchase. The survey allows customers to choose a number between 0 and 10, with one being likely to discourage others from using the product and ten indicating they will recommend it to others.
The survey is sent out to fifty customers, which yields the following results:
0 = 1 response
1 = 1 response
2 = 2 responses
3 = 2 responses
4 = 1 response
5 = 2 responses
6 = 5 responses
7 = 5 responses
8 = 5 responses
9 = 14 responses
10 = 12 responses
As noted, customers are labeled as detractors (0-6), passives (7-8), and promoters (9-10). In this case, there are 14 detractors, 10 passives, and 26 promoters. Next, we would divide each of these numbers by 50 to give us the percent of customers that fall into each group. For example, 14 customers out of 50 are detractors, so 14/50= .28 which means the percentage of customers who are detractors is 28%.
28% of customers are detractors
20% of customers are passives
52% of customers are promoters
To calculate our NPS score, we need to subtract the percent of detractors from the percent of promoters and multiply the result by 100.
NPS score = (.52 promoters - .28 detractors) x 100
The resulting NPS score is 24 on a scale of -100 to 100. In general, an NPS score of 0 to 30 is considered good but with room for improvement.
What is considered a good NPS score will vary by industry. For example, the NPS score range for auto dealerships tends to be from 20-39 while for internet service providers the range is -16 to 19. That is to say, a score of 19 would be considered great if your brand is an internet service provider, but would be viewed as extremely poor in the auto dealership industry.
Customer effort scores (CES) measure how easy it is to engage and interact with your brand. While this doesn’t measure satisfaction directly, it can be an excellent indicator of customers’ experiences when they’re looking for information, making purchases, asking questions, or looking for support. CES is a great way to identify customer pain points when interacting with your brand, such as if they have a hard time performing a specific action during the customer journey.
How to measure CES
To measure CES, customers are typically asked to rank their experience with a business from one (very easy) to five (very difficult).
CES surveys are most commonly used:
After a customer touchpoint that has led to a purchase
Immediately after a customer service interaction
To track the overall customer experience with your product or brand
How to measure CES
To calculate CES, add all the scores from all responses and divide the sum by the number of respondents. The lower the score, the better.
For reference, here’s the formula for calculating CES:
CES score = Total sum of responses/Number of responses
Consider a scenario where a brand wants to determine how easy their checkout process is. To determine this, they decide to use CES as a measure of the effort required to checkout.
To calculate the CES score of the brand’s checkout process, they decide to ask 50 customers “On a scale of one to five, how easy is our checkout process?” right after they make a purchase. A response of one represents extremely difficult, while five represents extremely easy.
The brand receives the following results from the survey:
1 = 5 responses
2 = 5 responses
3 = 10 responses
4 = 10 Good
5 = 20 Excellent
To calculate CES, the brand first adds the sum of all responses
Sum of all responses = (1x5) + (2x5) + (3x10) + (4x10) + (5x20)
The total value of all responses added up is 185. To calculate CES, this value is divided by the total number of responses. So the brand would divide 185 by 50 which yields a CES score of 3.7. That is to say, on a scale of one to five the ease of the checkout process is 3.7 which is above average. Whether the brand deems this to be good or not depends on their internal goals and industry standards.
We’ve established that it’s important to track these customer experience metrics to gauge satisfaction. According to the Harvard Business Review, Satisfied customers spend 140% more compared to those who have had bad customer care experiences with a brand. Satisfied customers are also more likely to remain loyal to a brand compared to unsatisfied customers. Customers who respond positively on customer satisfaction surveys have a 74% chance of remaining a brand’s customer for at least another year, while those who respond negatively only have a 43% chance of remaining a customer for another year.
But once you know what your brand’s customer experience scores, how can you improve them? Here are four ways to get started.
In a Khoros survey, around 50% of respondents said that they have interacted with brands on social media. Of customers who do interact with brands on social media, 65% expect brands to respond to their message and around 30% said they would stop giving a brand their business if the brand did not meet the customer’s timeframe expectations for a response. It’s neither easy nor satisfying to spend hours trying to resolve customer service issues. Speeding up customer service interactions can help improve customer satisfaction scores and make customers willing to spend more.
The best way to achieve this is to modernize your contact center. Modern contact centers deflect calls to digital channels and automate repetitive and predictable tasks with chatbots, which streamlines workflows and resolves customer needs more quickly.
An online community is also a great self-service resource for any enterprise looking to reduce customer resolution time. Instead of relying on a phone or chat agent to help with an issue, online communities give customers the resources they need to solve their own problems. Online communities can scale organically as a business grows, as they often rely on user-generated content (UGC) to resolve issues and answer questions. HP, for example, reduced first response time by 37% and resolution time by 41% with a Khoros-powered community.
Sometimes a customer’s problem can’t be resolved in a single customer service interaction. Should an interaction need to span sessions or transfer between agents or chatbots, make sure that the customer’s conversation transcript and interaction history transfers with it. If agents aren’t able to refer back to conversation history and notes, customers have to repeat themselves. This causes frustration and ultimately lowers customer satisfaction.
In a survey of 200 enterprise brands and more than 1,000 customers, we found that 62% of customers want to be able to engage with brands across multiple digital channels and 77% of consumers want brands’ customer service teams to communicate internally so customers don’t have to repeat themselves. This is problematic for brands, because 77% of the businesses we surveyed said they struggled to create a cohesive journey across channels and devices.
To improve the customer experience, make channel switching easy for consumers and service agents. Customers should be able to start an interaction on one channel and move to another without having to repeat themselves. To achieve this, agents need the ability to quickly access interactions from across channels through an omnichannel platform like Khoros Care.
The result will be a better customer experience and higher CX metric scores.
Make it easy for your customers to get help. In a Khoros study of consumer preferences, the biggest gaps between what channels consumers want to use and what brands actually make available is in SMS and web chat. You can bridge this gap by diversifying your customer care channels. Offer people the ability to contact you through web chat, SMS, social, messaging, review sites, and peer-to-peer communities. This will allow customers to reach you on the digital channel of their choice, saving them from seeking you out (and we already know that saving customers time is a good thing).
Customer satisfaction surveys can give you a better understanding of how your customers feel, but if the total number of survey respondents isn’t large enough to represent your customer base as a whole, you might not be getting the most accurate data. The more consumers who participate in customer satisfaction surveys, the better your data will be.
You can improve your survey’s response rate through personalization. According to research by Linkdex, 79% of customers expect brands to get to know them on a deeper level and provide tailored offers and experiences, including customer communication experiences. To personalize your survey notifications, you can A/B test email subject lines and body content, include the customer’s name, send the survey in the customer’s preferred language, and more.
See how Khoros helped increase Midco’s CSAT survey completion rate by 460% in our case study.
Improve CSAT, NPS, CES, and other customer experience metrics by modernizing your contact center with Khoros Care. Let AI and automation streamline your workflows so you can listen, filter, categorize, and route incoming conversations to the best possible bot, human agent, or self-service resource to resolve the customer’s inquiry (which has been proven to boost customer satisfaction).
To learn more about our digital customer care solutions and how they can help your brand improve the customer experience, request a demo today.