13 Must-Track Customer Experience KPIs & Metrics (2024)
Satisfied customers are at the heart of every successful product-led business. In fact, no matter what metric you measure by, it’s always easier and more profitable to retain an existing customer (or a thousand) than convert new prospects. Research shows that:
- 23% of your satisfied customers will tell ten or more people about their experience, while on the other hand, 48% of your angry customers will tell ten or more persons about a bad experience (HBR)
- Growing your user retention rate by just 5% can increase your profits by 25% — 95% (Bain & Company)
- It costs up to 25X more to acquire new users than retain existing ones (HBR)
- Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x as likely to try a new product or service (Microsoft)
On the other hand, most (i.e., 96.1%) of your unhappy users will just churn without a word. So, if your users are not proactive about reaching out to support, how are you supposed to help them?
That’s where customer experience metrics come in—they’re data points you can measure to understand how your users love your product and how your customer service experience needs to change.
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer experience refers to your customer’s impression of your brand from all their interactions with your product, marketing, sales, and customer support experience. CX is essentially your brand’s reputation from your customers’ perspective.
13 Customer Experience Metrics
Here are some customer experience metrics that will help you dig beyond reviews on sites like G2 and Capterra to understand what your customers think about your product, your brand image, and the overall experience they encounter when they have to interact with your business.
1. Net promoter score (NPS)
NPS is a customer satisfaction metric that measures how likely your users are to recommend your product to their friends and colleagues on a scale of 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Depending on their score, a Net Promoter Survey helps you group your users into three distinct groups, i.e:
- Promoters (9 – 10) are loyal product evangelists. They love your product and the company building it, most probably because it solved their pain points within a very short period of time. They’re willing to keep paying for your product and invite new users, even without being paid for their efforts.
- Passives (7 – 8) like your product just enough to use it consistently, but they haven’t built a strong connection to your brand and are willing to try out alternatives.
- Detractors (0 – 6) are unhappy customers that are either trying your product briefly or are stuck with it because they have to use it. They will actively discourage other users from signing up with their tales of horror, poor customer service, long wait times, and product bugs.
To calculate your product’s Net Promoter Score, you need to subtract the percentage of your users who’re detractors (i.e., 0 – 6) from your promoters (9 – 10); your final score can be negative or positive.
After a user responds with a rating, you can also follow up to learn why, what they’d love to see in your product, plus a few other product feedback questions.
Whether you’re a product manager, a marketer, or a customer success leader for a SaaS, it’s easy to get blindsided by vanity metrics like signups, page views, and free trials, especially when you’re in a growth phase—sometimes you’re adding thousands of users every week and your company’s management is in talks to raise funding at a $100M to $1B valuation.
What could possibly go wrong, right?
But then, you realize three quarters later that 75% of your free users try out your product and churn within a week—they never upgrade to a paid tier, leave any feedback, or invite their friends. Roughly 20% use your product a couple of times (i.e., <8 times) a month and less than 1% of your users are engaged enough to pay money for it on a recurring basis.
That’s what a Net Promoter Score helps you assess—it helps product teams cut through the fluff and understand just how many of your users (if any) are raving fans.
- If any, why do they love our product?
- Can we optimize our product to convert more free users to product evangelists?
- What do our users hate most about our product?
NPS helps you understand your users’ sentiment towards your product so that you can start asking the right questions, build a better product, and convert more users.
2. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
A customer satisfaction score works similarly to the NPS, but in this case, it’s usually asked as a follow-up to a purchase or an interaction with your customers. Your CSAT helps you understand how many of your users are satisfied with your product’s customer experience as a percentage of all those who went through the same process, such as upgrading to a paid tier, contacting support, etc.
CSAT starts with a simple question: how would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received?
Respondents can reply on a scale of 1 to 5, meaning:
- 1— Very unsatisfied
- 5—Very Satisfied
The formula for your CSAT is relatively straightforward beyond that point:
(Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) ÷ Number of survey responses) x 100
3. Customer effort score (CES)
Customer effort score measures how much work your customers have to put into interacting with your business and resolving their issues. It asks, “on a scale of ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult,’ how easy was it to interact with [company name].”
To understand why your CES matters as a customer experience metric, we need to reference why it was first coined. In 2010, researchers at Gartner discovered that although business leaders usually optimize for delighting users, it doesn’t end up building loyalty.
In contrast, reducing the amount of effort users need to interact with your business helps you:
- Increase your Net Promoter Score: Gartner found that high-performing companies that required less customer effort had at least 65 NPS points more than their high-effort peers
- Encourage repeat purchases: 94% of customers who had straightforward, low-effort interactions with a brand planned to make repeat purchases vs. 4% of those that had to jump through hoops to complete a desired action
- Reduce customer support costs: Low-effort customer support interactions can reduce repeat calls (40%), escalations (50%), and channel switching (54%) significantly and makes customer success agents 17% more likely to stick with their employers
Customers are more likely to keep using your product or service if they can get whatever they want quickly and easily without jumping through hoops.
To calculate your customer effort score, you need to survey customers after they’ve just completed a single action (e.g., upgrading to a paid tier) or a process (e.g., contacting support) to understand how easy and seamless their experience has been on a numerical scale, usually from 1 – 5 or 1 – 7.
Total sum of responses ÷ Number of responses
4. Time-To-Resolution (TTR)
Time to resolution (TTR) measures how long it takes between when a customer submits a support ticket and when their issue is resolved satisfactorily. It can be measured individually (i.e., for each customer conversation) and on average for all the customer conversations your team handles during a period of time.
It’s important to note that your TTR counter starts ticking when a user opens a ticket, not when your agent replies or starts working on it, and stops when the customer confirms the issue has been resolved. It’s another satisfaction metric that measures how long users have to wait from their first contact until their issues are fixed.
To find your average time to resolution, you can divide the total time spent resolving tickets by the number of resolved requests.
For example, if you completed 87 requests in one 8-hour (or 480-minute) work day, you would divide 480 by 87 and find that your average TTR is 5.5 minutes. (Whatfix)
5. Average handling time (AHT)
Average handle time is the time a call center agent or a customer rep spends on a call, from when the customer initiates the call until it ends, and it’s one of the most helpful call center metrics you can track.
To calculate your average handle time, you have to:
- Sum up the time your customer reps spend speaking to customers
- Add the time spent on support tasks, i.e., in-between calls
- Divide the sum of time spent on-call by the number of calls your customer reps take daily
AHT also includes the time the customer rep spends sending over the customer’s request, filing relevant documents, and updating their systems and CRM.
6. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
Customer lifetime value is the total amount of revenue you can reasonably expect to generate from a single customer for as long as you expect them to stick with your business. Measuring your CLV helps you maintain a steady cash flow and project how much you can expect to spend on acquiring new users.
7. Customer churn rate
Your customer churn rate measures the percentage of customers and active users who stop paying for your product over a specific period of time. To calculate your churn rate, you need to:
- Divide the number of customers you lost by the total number of users you had when that period of time (i.e., week, month, or year) began, and
- Represent it as a percentage value
(Lost Customers ÷ Total Customers at start of period) x 100
8. Brand reputation
Brand reputation refers to the perception your customers, employees, partners, and the entire market have about your business. It’s how people expect your company to behave based on past experiences with your brand, word-of-mouth feedback from friends and colleagues, and hear-say, anecdotal evidence.
Brand reputation is more of an innumerable measure—you can’t define it mathematically, but you will always know when your customers think your brand rocks and when they think otherwise.
9. Customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is simply a situation where a buyer repeatedly chooses to do business with you instead of your competitors—that is, buy your products, send referrals your way, participate in your affiliate programs, company events, etc.
10. Customer retention rate (CRR)
Customer retention rate measures the percentage of your existing users who remain (paying) customers after a period of time—it’s the inverse of customer churn. It calculates the number of users you’ve managed to retain minus churn.
To calculate your customer retention rate, you need to:
- Determine the number of active users you had during a specific period of time, minus all the users you acquired during that particular period
- Subtract the number of your active users at the end of the period you’re measuring for by the number of users at the beginning, and
- Multiply the difference by 100
Here’s a simple formula to help you understand it easily:
(Ending Customers – New Customers) ÷ (Beginning Customers) x 100
11. Customer referral rate
Customer referral rate is the volume of your purchases initiated by a referral as a percentage of all your purchases. This metric helps you determine how much of your sales are a result of word-of-mouth, customer advocacy, and product evangelism.
According to Growsurf, the global average referral rate is roughly 2.3% for established businesses with a stream of satisfied customers— calculating your referral rate will help you understand if you’re performing better or worse than the average and whether you might need to double down on referral marketing as a viable customer acquisition model.
12. Social media mentions
Mentions are posts, comments, and interactions that social media users make online that tag or reference your brand.
If you can figure them out, mentions are a great way to monitor and chime into important conversations, clear up misunderstandings with customers, promote your brand without coming across as sales-y or spammy, and share relevant memes and resources (in that order).
You can use SaaS tools like Mention and Hootsuite, or you can use search operators (in Twitter, for example) to quickly surface posts that mention your brand or relevant search terms you’d like to pitch in to.
13. Customer engagement
Customer engagement includes all the effort your brand puts into interacting with customers across different channels, in order to build loyalty, resolve issues, increase mindshare, and ultimately, make your potential customers more likely to remember your brand when they’re in the market.
Engagement efforts can take the form of liking your customers’ posts that are relevant to your brand, replying to their mentions, using chatbots to start conversations with your users on WhatsApp, Messenger, and surprising customers with company swag or gifts and packages via corporate gifting platforms.
Whatfix helps product-led businesses understand their users, engage them where they’re at, and reduce churn with effective onboarding experiences.
Think of it as a canvas that overlays on top of your product and helps your users access helpful resources, product docs, and explainer videos from right inside their dashboard—
- Collect feedback with detailed NPS surveys
- Translate product docs and resources into your users’ preferred language—Whatfix supports 70+ languages such as Mandarin, French, and Spanish, with more planned
- Track how users engage with your product—that will help you understand what they love and where your product’s user experience underperforms their expectations
- Engage users with non-intrusive alerts and notifications
- Design step-by-step walkthroughs your users can view inside their dashboard
If you think of customer experience as a game, then the first rule is that you need to understand what your users think about your product, so you can build it to suit their taste. Whatfix helps product management teams understand their users better and onboard them easily.