How to Measure Customer Experience (+ 8 Metrics to Help You Do It)

Customer experience (CX) is the impression you leave with your customers, which results in how they think of you as a brand and ultimately creates brand loyalty. And if I know one thing about customer experience it’s this: measuring with customer experience metrics is important if you want to boost customer retention.

Customer experience tracking can help you improve your practices to cater to the entire customer experience. I like to track certain metrics such as how quickly I can solve a customer’s problem. The quicker I can solve a problem, the more likely a client will stick with my business.

As a small business owner, I’ve learned that positive customer experiences can lead to repeat business, and it’s easier and less costly for my business (and yours!) to retain clients than to seek out new customers.

In fact, 49% of customers are likely to leave a company based on a poor customer experience with the brand. So by lowering the customer effort score (CES) by providing simple, easy-to-use products and services means 76% of customers are more likely to recommend my brand to others.

→ Download Now: Customer Service Metrics Calculator [Free Tool]

With that in mind, let’s review the top metrics you can use to measure — and improve — the customer experience.

Jump ahead:

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) is the journey or combination of interactions a customer or potential customer has with a business.

For me, it’s helpful to think that a customer’s experience starts from the very moment a client becomes aware of my business and follows the purchasing process. Plus, CX includes the weeks, months, or even years later that a customer uses my product or service.

If your business is like mine, you probably work hard to get a customer in the door to make a purchase. But, it’s important to look at the whole picture, too. That might mean providing support to your customers, even years down the line.

Why is this extra effort and money worth it to the business? It costs more money to add a new customer than to retain an existing one, and 65% of people say they’d ditch a brand after a poor experience.

Yikes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up with a negative review that may deter other customers from doing business with me. Negative customer experiences can be costly!

Measuring Customer Experience

Surveys, journey maps, and a variety of other metrics are necessary for measuring CX. If you meticulously track your metrics, this process is complex and can span several years for some customers. But just because it’s complex and time-consuming doesn’t mean you should write it off. You need this data!

I like to think of customer experience as a puzzle. Customer service is just one piece of the puzzle. You want clients to have positive reactions to your advertising and marketing efforts. They should have an easy time using your products or services. And they should get quick responses from your team. Each of these things are pieces that make your customer experience a positive one.

Ways to Measure Customer Experience

I love surveys, and surveys are one of many ways to measure CX. We’ll dive into specific surveys that help measure customer experience in a few, I promise. However, there are tons of ways you can survey your customers.

For example, you may send out surveys after a customer makes a purchase or interacts with your support line. You might survey clients for feedback on a new product or service. Engaging with customers through surveys can help you get an idea of your business strengths and areas where you can improve.

Creating customer journey maps is another way to measure CX. If you’re nosey like me, customer journey maps can help you figure out how your customers are feeling and why they respond to your business in the way that they do.

This process tracks a customer‘s interactions and can help you pinpoint why a customer doesn’t follow through on a sale or chooses one product over a different one you offer.

For example, you might notice a customer finds you through a social media ad, goes to your website and fills their shopping cart, then doesn’t end up making a purchase. A journey map helps you visualize the customer experience and find points of friction based on customer actions and emotions.

Although 20% of service professionals who responded to HubSpot’s State of Service survey say that measuring the impact of their team’s efforts is challenging, there are plenty of metrics you can use for customer experience tracking. You can (and should!) use a variety of CX metrics together for the most complete picture of the customer’s journey with your brand.

Customer Experience Metrics

As highlighted above, let’s discuss eight key metrics in more detail. Plus, I chatted with a few experts who graciously shared how they use these metrics to effectively improve their customers’ experience. (It’s okay to steal their ideas!) This should help you get a better idea of how to use these metrics in your own business.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

31% of service professionals who responded to HubSpot’s State of Service survey said one of their goals is to increase their customer satisfaction score. Personally, I’ve found that the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is one of the most straightforward ways of measuring your customer experience.

While typically used as a customer service metric, CSAT can also give you an idea of the customer experience, considering support interactions are one major component of CX. This is a simple survey that gauges how satisfied a client is following an interaction with your business.

I’m sure you’ve seen CSAT in action. Think of those surveys at the end of customer service calls.

For example, after a customer talks to a live representative via online chat, they can rank the support agent’s response based on how satisfied or helpful the solutions are. Or, after a client purchases a product or service, you can ask how satisfied they are with that product or service.

Calculating CSAT

To calculate CSAT, all you need to do is send a survey immediately following a purchase or interaction. This survey will ask how satisfied a customer is with their experience on a corresponding scale. The CSAT is the average score of that survey.

Featured Resource: Customer Survey Templates

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Pro Tip: Edita Vaskeviciute, Director of Customer Support at Omnisend, says her team relies on the CSAT.

“We use the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to measure the satisfaction level of customers after contacting our customer support team regarding inquiries or issues with the Omnisend product,” Vaskeviciute says. 

This enables her team to identify areas for improvement, track customer sentiment over time, and make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall customer experience.

“The best tip is to listen to your customers, consistently analyze the feedback they provide, and use it to improve your products, services, and support processes,” Vaskeviciute notes

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the main methods to measure customer experience. Your NPS will let you know the percentage of customers that love, are neutral, or aren’t a fan of your brand. I understand that it might sting to learn that some customers aren’t a fan of your brand, but this information is vital so that you can make crucial changes to improve the customer experience.

Calculating NPS

To calculate NPS, you’ll send a survey to your customers with an NPS question asking them how likely they are to recommend you to a friend, on a scale of 0-10. Scores 0-6 are detractors, scores 7-8 are passives, and scores 9-10 are promoters.

Your NPS is the percentage of detractor responses subtracted from promoter responses.

With this score, you can instantly tell how many customers are happy enough with their customer experience that they’ve become ambassadors for your brand.

Featured Resource: Net Promoter Score Calculator

net promoter score calculator

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Pro Tip: Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls, says that although the net promoter score isn’t a perfect indicator of the customer experience, it’s still a beneficial metric.

According to Arnof-Fenn, NPS is a simple way to get a quick read on consumer sentiment, allowing it to be widely embraced and implemented to make sure their customers are happy. And even though NPS is not a perfect tool, it’s still valuable to companies where most business comes from word of mouth.

“Customer satisfaction and NPS matter because repeat customers and referrals are key, the most cost-efficient way to build a business and scale your brand in my experience. Would they recommend it to others? This is important to understand for insights into why your brand matters,” Arnof-Fenn says.

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

If your customers are anything like me, they want simple interactions. Your website should be easy to navigate. Your products should be easy to assemble and use. And your customer service team should be easy to connect with for the client.

You can use a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey to allow customers to rank an interaction with a company or its products and services as easy, neutral, or difficult.

Calculating CES

To calculate CES, you take the sum of your customer effort ratings and divide it by the total number of survey responses you received.

If customers are ranking a product difficult to use, you want to innovate ways to make it more user-friendly. Like if it‘s hard to find the menu on your website, you’ll need to redesign the site or install a simpler template to improve the CX.

Pro Tip: Will Yang, Head of Growth and Marketing of Instrumentl, says his team keeps track of the customer effort score to measure their customer’s effort levels when it comes to interacting with the company.

“The customer effort score (CES) helps us measure how easy it is for customers to deal with our company. High customer effort leads to dissatisfaction and affects loyalty. The use of CES in identifying the pain points along our customer journey aids in streamlining our processes and making interactions more effortless. This analysis often results in simplified user interfaces and fewer steps involved in critical processes.” Yangl says,

4. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) tells you how much one customer has brought to a business in the entire relationship. In other words, how much they’re “worth” to a business. The calculation also takes into account how much a business is spending to keep that customer.

It’s a good customer experience metric because you can see over time whether a customer is satisfied and making more purchases or if they spend less with your business.

Calculating CLV

To calculate CLV, you multiply the customer value times the average customer lifespan.

Typically, the better the CX, the higher the CLV. But if you start to see the customer spend less over time, you can determine why and create solutions to raise the CLV.

Pro Tip: Tom Golubovich, Head of Marketing at Ninja Transfers, says the customer lifetime value is an important metric for his customer experience team.

Golubovich says, “Customer lifetime value is important to us as we were one of the first companies to bring DTF Transfers to market. We want to ensure that our customers remain loyal and continue to come back time and time again.”

Golubovich notes that his team looks at customer reorders by account and the customers who have signed up for the “Ninja Rewards” program. “Ninja Rewards” is a loyalty program that allows customers to 5x points on every order while accessing promotional rewards. 

“We identified who were the most valuable customers to our business not just by looking at the customer lifetime value of existing orders and making projections but by sending out a survey and having customers self-identify … how much they were looking to spend on DTF transfers within the next 12 months,” Golubovich says. 

According to Golubovich, this allows his team to pivot our marketing strategies to focus on this more lucrative demographic.

5. Customer Churn Rate

Churn rate is the percentage of your customers or subscribers who cancel or don’t renew their subscriptions during a given time period.

20% of service professionals find it challenging to prevent customer churn. While churn is inevitable, it’s still important that you learn why churn is happening in your company so you can reduce it as much as possible.

Calculating Churn Rate

To calculate your churn rate, designate a time period and tally up the total number of customers you’ve acquired and the number of customers who churned during that time period.

Then, divide the number of customers who churned by the total number of customers acquired, and multiply that decimal by 100% to calculate your churn rate.

This metric should help you nail down why customers are leaving. Is it because of a lack of engagement? A poor user experience? Or perhaps it’s a lack of support? Either way, measuring and analyzing your churn rate will help you figure out how to reduce it.

Pro Tip: Derek Bruce, Operations Director at First Aid at Work Course, understands how useful the customer churn rate is to any business.

“A recent report suggested that a 5% drop in churn can increase profit by 125%, so this is an important area for improvement,” Bruce says. “A high churn rate soon after initial training might indicate an absence of value in the post-training support, so we introduced follow-up webinars and refresher courses, reducing our churn by 4.8% within 12 months.”

In the early years, Bruce says his team focused on the acquisition of new customers as opposed to the retention of old customers, which led to a temporary increase in churn.

“An important learning was that retention of customers is as important, if not more so, than continually acquiring new ones,” he says.

6. Customer Retention Rate

Customer retention rate is essentially the opposite of the churn rate, and 31% of service professionals say increasing customer retention is an important goal of theirs. This CX metric measures how many customers a business retains over a set period of time and helps determine customer loyalty.

Retention rate is slightly more challenging to calculate, though, because you will need to take into account the customers you retained, the customers you lost, and the customers you gained in a set period of time.

Calculating Retention Rate

To calculate retention rate:

  • Set the time period, which could be a week, a month, a year, etc.
  • Start with the number of customers you have at the end of that set time period.
  • Subtract new customers gained during the set time period.
  • Divide the resulting number by the number of clients you had at the beginning of the time period.
  • Multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.

Ideally, you want a high retention rate while also bringing in new clients that later become loyal customers. If you have a low retention rate but high sales, you’ll want to determine why customers are making one or few purchases and then leaving your business.

Pro Tip: Joel Wolfe, President of HiredSupport, keeps a regular check on their customer retention rate. This helps his team understand the degree of satisfaction that customers drive from HiredSupport’s products. 

“It’s a great way to understand what needs to be improved and what’s causing low retention rates. A great way to measure this metric is choosing a specific time period for analysis. It can be monthly, quarterly, or even annually, depending on the business cycle,” Wolfe says.

7. Customer Journey Analytics

Another technique to measure the customer experience is to use your analytics to look at the customer journey. 23% of service professionals have made it their goal to better understand the customer journey for a better customer experience.

Your customer journey map can answer questions about customer motivations, needs, and pain points. It‘ll also help you understand all the touch points a customer experiences on their journey. And this is how you’ll gather your customer journey analytics.

Analyzing the Customer Journey

To analyze the customer journey, you’ll probably want to start by pulling data from your social media, ads, website, company events, product reviews, onboarding, customer loyalty programs, emails, and surveys. Then, you can create a page or tab on your customer journey map dedicated to reporting the metrics of your touch points, so you can evaluate your customer experience.

Featured Resource: Customer Journey Map Templates

customer journey templateDownload for Free

Pro Tip: Most of the experts I chatted with had quite a bit to say about customer journey analytics, so that tells me this is one of the most important metrics you can gather.

Bruce says when his team collects customer journey analytics, they start by examining every touchpoint a customer has had with the brand, from the very first visit to the website to online course registration — all the way through to course completion and beyond. 

“It’s about really looking at how the customer is engaging with us. We must understand their journey so we can see where we can improve it,” Bruce says. 

For example, Bruce recently saw that, during the registration process for one online course, there was a very high drop-off rate. So, his team incorporated suggestions from their analytics and introduced a simplified registration form, as well as clear instructions on how to fill it in. This resulted in a 2.5% increase in course registrations. 

“We also once launched a marketing campaign promoting advanced first-aid training. The messaging of this campaign was not a good fit for our customer base, despite it being a very relevant course for our existing audience,” Bruce says.

Bruce notes that they had a lot of people signing up for the course because it was a hot topic, only to see a dip in the satisfaction scores afterward. Bruce notes that the messaging for the campaign resonated poorly with those who signed up. 

“Now, we have learned to tailor our communication strategies towards specific customer segments depending on their needs during different stages of their journey,” he says.

8. Customer Support Ticket Trends

48% of service professionals found that the number of customer service requests they received in 2023 increased. You can take a look at your customer support tickets to pinpoint trends impacting the customer experience.

Are there recurring issues that cause pain for your customers? If so, try to improve them as they come up. You might decide you need to create clearer instructions, explainer videos, or product tweaks because of the trends you identified.

Analyzing Customer Support Ticket Trends

Key customer support ticket metrics and trends to analyze are first response time, average handle time, and first call resolution. These analytics can help you improve the customer experience from a customer support perspective.

Pro Tip: Smitha Baliga, CEO/CFO of TeleDirect Communications, says looking at their customer support ticket trends is a great way to identify areas of need.

Baliga says, “[Customer support trend tickets] are reviewed to gain insights into ticket volumes, common issues, handle times, and resolution rates. This analysis helps us identify areas where we may need to provide more self-help resources, enhance our products, or provide additional training to deliver faster and more effective support.”

How to Accurately Measure Customer Experience

CX metrics are the key to effectively measuring the customer experience. You can use a combination of surveys, retention and churn rates, and customer trend data to determine how satisfied your customers are at every step of the journey — and whether or not they’re willing to come back or refer your brand to others.

Start customer experience tracking so you can make the business improvements necessary to retain more clients and generate more revenue.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2022 and has since been updated for comprehensiveness.

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