Deciphering the CX alphabet

Ashley Sava

While the journey toward exceptional customer service used to set leading businesses apart, today’s customers are more interested in an excellent customer experience (CX). How a customer feels when they interact with your organization and brand is now arguably as important as the products and services themselves.

A positive CX yields a competitive advantage

Through technology, all potential customers have unprecedented access to information about your company, what your competitors are offering and what people are saying about your business. With the digital world now a leading factor in the decision-making process for most individuals looking to purchase anything under the sun, customers have more ways than ever to communicate with your brand. Delivering an outstanding customer experience along every touch point is now more important than ever. The potency of competitive fields across nearly every market is leading businesses to explore all ways to attract and retain customers. As competition and buyer empowerment intensifies, CX is manifesting as the true competitive advantage.

But how do you know if you’re delivering that coveted customer experience? 

The first step is to measure it so you can track and calculate customer experience success. In order to fully understand customer experience at scale, using the following metrics can give a handle on how well your organization is doing. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

A net promoter score (NPS) is completely based on the answer to a single question. “How likely are you to recommend our brand to a colleague, family member or friend?”

The customer rates your organization on a scale of 0 to 10, and they have the option to provide more information. The scoring is based on the idea that customers fall into one of three categories: promoters, passives and detractors. 

Promoters: Promoters rate your company as a 9 or a 10. These are loyal customers who are likely to recommend your products or services to others.

Passives: Passives rate your company as a 7 or an 8. While they aren’t enthusiastic about what you have to offer, their needs are being met. This customer will switch to a competitor if the process is easy, particularly if the competition is more affordable.

Detractors: Detractors offer scores between 0-6. They are dissatisfied with your brand and the customer experience. They might be actively searching for competitors to leave you for. Detractors have complained to their friends, coworkers and family members about you, and they might take to social media next. 

To calculate your NPS score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. For example, if 10 percent of respondents are detractors, 20 percent are passives and 70 percent are promoters, your NPS score (70-10) is 60. The higher the NPS score, the better the customer experience. 

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

A customer satisfaction score (CSAT) asks a series of questions to determine how satisfied a customer is with an interaction on a rating scale of 1 to 5. CSAT is flexible and extremely customizable. The questions are personalized on the customer’s most recent experience. The customers are asked to rate their satisfaction ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied with questions such as “How would you rate your satisfaction with your recent customer service interaction?”

CSAT can take advantage of multiple questions to get clarity on specific parts of the customer experience, such as “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the helpfulness of the agent on the call?”

To calculate the CSAT score, only responses of 4 (satisfied) and 5 (very satisfied) are included, as it has been proven that using the two highest values on surveys is the most accurate predictor of customer retention.

(Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) / Number of survey responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers)

The CSAT method allows you to personalize the survey based on each unique customer’s experience. However, CSAT targets a reaction to a specific interaction, product or event, not a customer’s ongoing relationship with a company.

Customer Effort Score (CES)               

The customer effort score (CES) measures how much effort a customer endures to have their needs fulfilled by your company, and is scored on a numeric scale. It’s a customer service metric that aims to improve systems that frustrate customers. The idea is that customers will be more loyal to brands that are easier to do business with. In other words, less customer effort grants a more positive customer experience. 

CES might ask how much effort a customer had to exert to get an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, a service purchased, a product returned or a question answered. How much effort did it take for your customer to get their request handled? 

CES is measured by getting an average score. For instance, “On a scale of 1-7, how much effort was involved to get your question answered?” As CES is recorded on a numeric scale, a higher score would represent a better user experience. For a seven-point scale, responses of five or higher are considered good scores.

Companies that utilize this scoring method are more focused on meeting customer expectations than delivering exceptional customer experiences. When a customer has a high-effort experience, they tend to be dissatisfied. Effort is the strongest driver to customer loyalty.

So which method do I use?

NPS is the best choice if you want to understand how customers feel about your brand as a whole, CSAT is the best choice for tracking customer happiness in the moment and CES is best for gauging how much effort a customer puts in to get their needs met, while also predicting customer churn. 

Is there another way?

Enter the Tethr Effort Index

TEI is the market’s first machine learning-based, predictive effort score. Leveraging more than a decade of research on customer experience, TEI enables companies to track customer effort at a conversation-level, and immediately drill down into high-effort interactions that are likely to create disloyalty and churn.

TEI represents a massive improvement in customer experience measurement. No more waiting for low-response rate surveys or trying to decipher thin customer verbatim to figure out how to reduce customer effort. The TEI score is automatically assigned by the Tethr platform at the completion of every customer interaction, allowing managers to immediately understand the effort level of an interaction, speeding up time to deliver critical customer interventions and eliminating the need to wait for survey responses to trickle in.

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