How to Measure Customer Experience [11 Metrics]

May 11, 2023
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measure customer experience

Customer experience might seem too abstract to measure. After all, how do you translate your customers’ emotions into key performance indicators (KPIs)?

But it's not as abstract as it seems. In fact, you can get a pretty good idea of customer experience by aggregating various analytics and customer feedback that you likely already measure in different departments of your business.

Understanding customer experience is vital because it shows how your customers feel about your business, what turns them away, and what you can do to strengthen your relationship with them.

So let’s explore customer experience measurement and the KPIs businesses should track.

Customer experience metrics and KPIs

Customer experience encompasses every interaction a customer has with your business. So to measure it accurately, you must consider the entire customer journey.

If you focus on customer service metrics, this only tells you how customers feel when they reach out with a question or concern. And if you focus on user experience (UX) metrics, this only tells you how customers interact with your website or app.

But when you consider these and other metrics together, you get a full view of the customer experience, from a customer’s first encounter with your business to becoming a loyal brand advocate.

Let’s look at the top metrics to consider when measuring customer experience at each stage of the customer journey.

UX metrics

UX focuses on how users interact with your website, application, or software. Measuring UX helps you understand the digital customer experience as customers in the awareness and consideration stages of the customer journey navigate your channels. It can also uncover the obstacles they encounter.

Additionally, if your business offers software or an application, UX can show how existing customers use your product, which features they prefer, and which features give them trouble.

Critical UX metrics to analyze include:

  • Customer effort score (CES): This metric measures how much effort customers make to navigate your website or app, contact customer service, or use your self-service options. Businesses use short surveys to track CES. For example, after making a purchase on a store’s app, you might see a survey that asks you to rate how much you agree with the following statement on a scale of 1 to 5: “It was easy for me to make an online purchase.” If you select a low number, a follow-up question might appear, like “Tell us more about why you chose 1.”
  • Conversion rate: This metric measures how many users complete an action, like signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. You can measure conversions on your website, emails, text messages, and other channels, as this metric helps you understand how effectively you drive users to the desired action. For example, a low conversion rate on a landing page can tell you the page doesn’t communicate the value of your product or the call to action isn’t prominent enough.
  • Abandonment rate: This metric measures the percentage of customers who begin an action but don’t complete it. For example, they add items to their cart but don’t check out or start the sign-up process for your software but stop halfway through. This helps you identify and investigate the touchpoints where users abandon the process, enabling you to improve the experience. For example, is the checkout process confusing? Or do you ask for too much personal information at the start of the sign-up process?

Customer service metrics

Since customer service plays a significant role in shaping customer experience, your contact center metrics are essential to discern how customers feel when interacting with your support resources.

Customers who reach out to support are in the purchase and retention phases of the journey—a crucial point where you can nurture loyalty or turn customers away, depending on the experience.

Some of the crucial customer service metrics to help you measure customer experience success include:

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): This metric measures how customers feel about your experience—making it one of the most valuable metrics for contact centers. Businesses measure CSAT through surveys that ask customers to rate their experience on a numbered scale or using ranges like “extremely unsatisfied to extremely satisfied.” CSAT is also useful to measure satisfaction with sales, onboarding, and other points of the customer journey, helping you identify customers’ pain points.
  • First contact resolution: This metric measures the percentage of customer service inquiries that agents resolve on the first contact. It reflects whether agents (or chatbots) have the resources to handle customers' questions and issues. If the first contact resolution rate is high, that reflects a positive customer experience (especially considered alongside CSAT). On the other hand, if the rate is low, it could mean that customers are unhappy with your customer service because it takes multiple interactions to get the help they need.
  • Average waiting time: This metric measures how long callers spend in a queue waiting for a contact center agent. It’s vital to track this metric because long waiting times can frustrate customers. Tools like chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR) menus, and self-service options can lower average waiting time by helping customers with straightforward questions find quick answers.

Improving the contact center experience can also improve customer retention, which we'll discuss next.

Customer retention metrics

Customer retention is a significant indicator of customers' satisfaction with your products or services, customer support, and the overall customer experience. After all, if customers have a negative experience, they’re not likely to stick around.

The following metrics will give you a clear view of how many customers make it to the retention phase of the journey and how many churn. Additionally, these also provide insight into what drives customer loyalty and help you identify areas for improvement to boost retention.

Crucial customer retention metrics include:

  • Customer retention rate: This metric measures the percentage of customers a business maintains during a specific period. It reflects the effectiveness of your customer retention strategy.
  • Customer churn rate: This metric measures the percentage of customers a business loses over a specific period. Also called customer turnover rate, this metric gives you insight into where your business needs to make improvements to retain customers. For example, if you find that many customers churn a month after you acquire them, this could indicate your onboarding process doesn’t provide what customers need.
  • Customer lifetime value (LTV): This metric measures the monetary value to expect from a customer over the course of their relationship with your business. It demonstrates the value of nurturing existing customer relationships and its effect on revenue. Plus, LTV can help you create audience segments to target with messaging and promotions personalized to the customers’ potential value.

Brand advocacy metrics

The goal for businesses is to get as many customers as possible to the advocacy stage—where they’re such fans of your business that they recommend it to their friends and family. This is one of the best indicators of a positive customer experience because recommending your business is a vote of confidence from your most loyal customers.

The following advocacy metrics help you determine how many customers are at this stage and how they feel about your brand:

  • Net promoter score (NPS): This metric measures customer loyalty and advocacy by asking customers if they would recommend your brand. You can measure NPS through a survey that asks “How likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?” followed by a numbered scale from 0 to 10. Then, based on their response, group customers into promoters (9–10), passives (7–8), and detractors (0–6). With this breakdown of how many customers are loyal advocates versus how many are likely to churn or give you a bad review, you can create more targeted outreach.
  • Social media sentiment: This metric measures social media sentiment, which isn’t as straightforward to measure as the other metrics in this post. But it’s valuable to know what customers say about your business—good or bad. Gather this data from social media and review platforms and use it to learn from customer feedback and improve the customer experience. While you can track sentiment manually by monitoring mentions and reviews, there are social media sentiment analysis tools that do some of this work for you.

How to gather customer experience metrics

You likely already track some of the metrics we just discussed in different parts of your business. Next, you’ll need to collect them to get a full understanding of the customer experience throughout the customer journey.

If you’re just getting started with tracking, use the following customer experience measurement tools to gather these metrics:

  • Surveys: Metrics like CSAT, NPS, and CES gathered through short customer surveys at the end of an interaction, like a purchase or a customer service call, have standardized questions and responses to give marketers consistent measurement. With a cloud-based contact center, you can conduct these surveys via SMS, live chat, emails, and IVR, then see the results in a single dashboard.
  • Analytics dashboards: Contact center platforms typically offer customizable insights dashboards that track KPIs like first contact resolution and average waiting time. Additionally, you can view individual customer service interactions to analyze trends and sentiment. Other tools in your tech stack, like your ecommerce platform and email service provider, also track metrics like customer retention, conversion rate, and abandonment rate.
  • Customer data platform (CDP): A CDP like Twilio Segment can be beneficial in tracking customer experience metrics because you can integrate it with various platforms and sources, including social media, ecommerce tools, customer relationship management software, email providers, and your website and app. Then, you can unify your customer data to create a complete view of each customer and audience segments with shared attributes.

Once you identify all the data points you want to measure and where to track them, create a report or dashboard that gives you a comprehensive view of the customer experience across the customer journey.

Finally, use these insights to zoom in on areas where there’s room for improvement. For example, if customer service metrics are low, focus on training agents or improving your IVR menu.

Improve the customer experience with Twilio Flex

Now that you know how to measure customer experience, the next step is using these insights to improve it. And we have the right tools to do so.

One of the most crucial tools is a contact center platform, as this is where many customer interactions happen. A cloud-based platform like Twilio Flex empowers your business to improve the customer experience with:

  • Frictionless customer engagement across platforms
  • Integrated data from your CDP for enhanced customer views
  • Real-time, customizable reports to track the KPIs that matter most to your business

It’s also vital to gather the right customer data to create personalized experiences. See how one business gathered better customer data and integrated it into customer interactions to improve the customer experience in our post Collect Better, More Valuable Retail Customer Data.