Choosing customer experience (CX) metrics that provide meaningful insights into how your organization is performing can be a difficult task.  While there are many metrics that can be included, the most effective strategy is to select metrics that provide CX insights at different touchpoints throughout the customer journey, and balance feedback based on a combination of customer perception and employee performance.  

With well-chosen CX metrics, companies can improve their frontline operations and enhance customer relationships. Companies that are leaders in CX consistently deliver an experience that exceeds the customer’s expectations.  When metrics show they miss the mark, these companies act swiftly and purposefully to remedy issues.  From a customer’s perspective, they are delighted when companies respond quickly to their concerns, resolve issues the first time, and require minimal effort from them.

Here are five strategies for identifying CX metrics that are insightful, enable employees to make data-driven decisions, and target improvements to CX.

1. Select a Key Metric to Measure Overall Customer Satisfaction

Most companies use several metrics to evaluate their CX activities.  Many live and die by how likely the customer is to recommend them, the amount of effort a customer expends to solve their issue, or, the overall satisfaction of the customer.  These are all good metrics to consider, and each has supporting studies linking score improvements to more loyal customers.  

Using one of these key metrics is a great way to benchmark performance internally among different groups and externally within an industry.  Also perception-based metrics such as these can be especially useful when assessing current performance over a broader time period to see how specific business events / challenges impacted customer perceptions.  For example, companies often want to evaluate how rate increases, new product offerings, and major outages impact key metrics initially when the change occurs and whether it has a lasting impact over time.

Image Source: eTouchPoint

2. Identify a Series of Performance-Based Metrics that Your Customers Care About

Just because you collect the data doesn’t mean that it should be included on your CX dashboard.  For example, idle time is an important metric for field services to track and manage to reduce costs – but doesn’t have much meaning to customers.  By contrast, performance-based metrics such as First Contact Resolution (FCR) and problem resolution rates provide far more insight on customer perceptions.

Consider this example: doing the job right the first time typically delights the customer and fulfills their expectations.  That makes FCR a strong indicator of customer happiness – and a valuable addition to a CX dashboard.  And, from an operational perspective, it has the added benefits of eliminating additional calls or the need to dispatch personnel.

Many managers focus on performance-based metrics such as number of calls and/or jobs per day, but from the customer’s perspective the only call or job that they care about is their own.  Handling that job correctly, efficiently, and with a smile are metrics that they care about and can easily be measured by post-interaction CX survey.  

By focusing on what matters to the customer, you will focus your team’s attention on what affects customers’ experiences – and this can likely drive performance gains in other areas also.

3. Track Follow Up Time for Dissatisfied Customer Alerts

Many CX leaders have embraced the concept of closed loop alerting (CLA) – which is  following up with customers who have had negative experiences to learn what went wrong and to try to correct any concerns. Implementing a CLA process is a critical first step for any organization that is serious about improving treatment of dissatisfied customers.

Some of our CX-savvy clients that have instituted advanced alert and follow-up practices have begun tracking two very important metrics:

  1. Percentage of Alerts Touched in <24 Hours:  Since reaching out to customers promptly after they have voiced their concern has been shown to reduce churn, the Percentage of Alerts Touched in <24 Hours is an important metric to determine compliance with company expectations.  This metric is closely monitored and communicated to all levels weekly by one Fortune 100 company who reaches out to 95%+ of customers who complain in less than 24 hours.  
  2. Average Days to Close: While it is important to reach out to customers promptly, it is even more important to “fix” the issue quickly.  The Average Days to Close metric measures the number of days between when the alert was received and when it was closed out as “resolved”.

4. Quantify Open-Ended Customer Feedback

Making sense of unstructured customer comments can seem like a daunting challenge that is comparable to “drinking from a firehose.”  One way to do this is to look at the overall sentiment of the comment in terms of whether it was positive, negative, or mixed along with categorizing the themes.

Image Source: eTouchPoint

A company’s positive : negative + mixed ratio can provide insight into the number of negative comments that they receive.  By categorizing the themes, stakeholders can identify the top three to five areas that customers complain about most.

Focusing on improving in these areas, companies can achieve growth in the number of positive comments and their overall measure of CX also.

5. Consider Metrics That Are Rewarding vs. Punitive

Using the carrot vs. the stick approach when it comes to performance management can improve employee engagement and incentivize employees to do the best job possible. Managers can use customer survey scores and feedback to support this motivational approach.  In fact, many of our clients track the number of perfect score surveys and exceptional comments that each employee receives from their customers.  They use these two metrics to develop recognition and compensation programs that acknowledge and reward employees for delighting customers.

Using CX Dashboard Metrics to Empower Decision Making and Drive Improvement

CX leaders understand the importance of selecting a set of metrics that measure the areas that customers care about.  By collecting data around the customer experience and using it to guide your strategy, companies can benchmark their performance internally and externally against other companies.

Focusing on improving these performance-based metrics will likely drive improvement in your key operational metrics also. And communicating these and other crucial metrics via reports or on your CX dashboard will keep them top-of-mind for you and your frontline team – and that will help you stay in tune with customer perceptions.

Author: David Farschon

David Farschon is Senior Manager – Customer Experience at eTouchPoint where he works with Fortune 2000 clients on the development of Customer Experience (CX) programs and the implementation of eTouchPoint’s CX software solutions. In this role, he leads the definition and implementation of client CX and feedback gathering programs and works closely with client stakeholders to identify opportunities for improvement and operational change based on customer perceptions. He is a subject matter expert in transactional survey design, IVR, SMS, and email feedback gathering, and CX analytics.