Being successful in today’s competitive market relies on more than just having the cheapest product or a celebrity endorsement – it hinges on creating a positive customer experience.
A positive experience isn’t just good for your customers. It’s good for your revenue acceleration.
86% of consumers are now willing to pay more for good customer experience. The risk comes if you ignore customer experience, with 89% of customers taking their business elsewhere after a bad experience with a company.
Here’s the thing about measuring customer experience. It’s not enough anymore to drum up a survey to ask your customers what they think and call it a day. To truly understand your customers’ experience, you need to have different types of listening channels set up that capture feedback from the right people at the right time. Only then can you gain the insights needed to make meaningful changes in your products, services, and support that improve the customer experience.
If you’re willing to put in the work to measure experience at different points during the customer journey, you can truly see interactions with your company and product from your customers’ point of view and learn how to improve it along the way.
Before we get into the six ways we measure customer experience at Drift, let’s break down when and where we should be asking customers what they really think.
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Customer experience can be broken down into 3 core parts
What’s important about planning out customer experience measurement is that they all fall within three core categories: product, transactions, and loyalty. If we go one step further and plot these listening channels onto a pyramid, a sense of hierarchy begins to emerge.
Let’s start at the base of the pyramid: product experience.
This is the bread and butter for any user experience team. It’s here where you’re going to get that tactical feedback around the product from the most number of people. This asks customers simple stuff like how easy the product is to use and if it’s a good fit for them. Basically – does it do what they want it to and does it help them solve their problems?
Once you’ve determined whether or not your customers are happy with the product and are going to stick around for a little while, it’s important to move onto the next pyramid block: transactional satisfaction.
Here, customers will be interacting with people from your company – but at single moments in time for specific transactions. We’re talking about interacting with an onboarding specialist, or support agent. If a customer has approached you with a problem, you want to measure if you’ve solved it and how the interaction went. These surveys are a little more direct: asking customers if they’re satisfied with the transaction and if they have feedback.
Finally, at the top of the pyramid, you hit the loyalty layer.
This is where you ask customers to reflect on their overall experience with your company. Doing this regularly allows you to have a solid understanding of how your customers holistically perceive your products and services, and if they’re likely to recommend your company to their friends and colleagues.
I believe there are six ways companies can measure customer experience throughout the entire pyramid. By setting up listening channels at various stages of the customer journey to see how they really feel about your product, you can also do something even more important – act on your customers’ feedback.
The 6 most important surveys to measure customer experience
1. Measure loyalty using NPS
Bain & Company created the Net Promoter Score (NPS) nearly two decades ago.
It’s a way for you to gauge how loyal your customers are by asking them to rate your product or service. Here’s an example:
Here’s why the NPS is a useful tool for measuring your customer experience. It cements what most of us already know: customers who are loyal stick around for longer. Customers who answer 9/10 on NPS surveys have an average lifetime value that’s 3-8x higher than those who mark you lower. Plus, it’s more than a 0-10 scorecard. It actually splits your customers into three categories:
- Detractors: Who give a score between 0 and 6.
- Passives: Who give a score of 7 or 8.
- Promoters: Who give a score of 9 or 10 (this is the holy grail 🙏).
From here, your NPS result is calculated as the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. Although the “passives” are still positive, they aren’t as influential as the “detractors” or the “promoters,” so they aren’t included in the calculation.
I like to measure Drift’s NPS every quarter. We ask a similar question as you saw in the example above to every customer, in emails and through an in-app popup:
This is especially important for our reaching out to Drift administrators, owners, and buyers in real-time to see where they’re at and if they’re still happy with what we are doing. Their response gives us a good idea about whether they’ll be continuing as customers.
The reason we do this every quarter?
Well, it gives us a good grip on our customers’ overall perception of Drift. If we are winning deals, it’s easier to trace back if loyalty and customer experience was a factor. And if we lost a customer, the NPS allows us to dig into why and try to get ahead of it before it happens again.
Pro-tip: Try not to obsess over your company’s NPS. It’ll go up. And it’ll go down. While NPS is essential for benchmarking and getting a grip on your customer loyalty, finding out why customers are giving their score is more useful.
2. Use interviews to gather in-depth feedback
I remember the exact moment when I decided to start looking beyond survey numbers.
Qualtrics’ Bruce Temkin was giving out consulting advice. And he said something that turned on a light switch in my CX brain. He said that companies can run surveys and get as much feedback as we wanted. We can get every last customer to give a rating and a score.
But – and here’s the kicker – you can just talk to 10 customers and listen to what they have to say. And then, you can do something about it and take action based on what you learned from that small segment.
And I mean really take action. Listen to those customers. Be willing to accept their feedback (even if it’s painful) and take it seriously enough to make necessary changes. In my experience, I’ve always found that open-ended feedback – actual words and comments – from customers are so much more valuable and important than numbers or scorecards.
When a customer leaves, that’s actually your best chance to ask them why (and get a candid response), so you can make changes and stop it from happening with other customers. If you’re unsure about what you should be asking departing customers, here are some sample questions by Lean B2B Author Etienne Garbugli:
3. Track how successful the onboarding process is
Your onboarding process can give your customers a taste test of what to expect with your company.
After all, they’ll be dealing with an onboarding specialist or a customer success manager (CSM), and they’ll likely be having one-on-one interactions with your team. It’s crucial that you measure these interactions and see if your customers are satisfied and if there’s any feedback to learn from.
And if you have a self-service onboarding model, they’ll be using your training and documentation resources or product setup guides very heavily, and will quickly form an opinion about whether they have what they need to be successful moving forward.
At Drift, we measure our onboarding process with two surveys: one we send out after the first month, and then another 60 days later.
The first survey checks for any immediate issues facing our new customers, so we can get them sorted before any dissatisfaction happens. The survey we send after customers have been with us for three months is more for feedback; it asks what parts of the onboarding process were good, bad, and what we still need to work on.
Onboarding is also a part of the customer journey where you can measure quantitative metrics. You can track if your team is ticking all the boxes they need to within a certain period, like having a customer account set up on time. After all, these steps all lead back to how successful your customer onboarding experience is and how happy your customer is during their first days with your product.
And one more thing. Chances are, you’re already measuring quantitative onboarding metrics. But it’s important to make sure that your customers are also perceiving value from your products, services, and support. That’s why, in the image above, you see a question around return on investment (ROI). This question takes insights from quantitative metrics a step further by helping you understand if your customer actually finds their results worthy of cost.
4. Make sure your support team is rising to the occasion
Support is another area that’s crucial to measuring customer experience.
A key part of your support team should be focused around measuring CSAT – customer satisfaction. When customers are interacting with a support agent, measure it, because CSAT is a perfect way to gauge your customer’s short-term happiness. But as I mentioned earlier, it isn’t a great measure of growth or customer loyalty.
A CSAT survey asks questions like:
“How would you rate your overall satisfaction with [product or service]?”
Your customers will then give you a score on a scale of 1-5: 1 being very unsatisfied up to 5 being very satisfied. On the back of these answers, your CSAT will be measured as a percentage between 0-100 of how many customers were “satisfied” or “very satisfied.”
Here’s an example of the CSAT survey we deploy within a chat conversation:
And this is the survey we deploy if a ticket is logged and then resolved:
If you have a CSAT of 100%, it means every customer you asked to give feedback rated the transaction at either a 4 or a 5.
These types of measurements are a great way to gauge how reactive and responsive your support team is to your customer’s needs. If your support is good and your customers’ issues are getting resolved quickly, you’re likely to get a good score. However, you can also break these down into micro questions like if a customer is satisfied with the time it took to solve their issue to get a more specific CSAT score.
CSAT measurements are so important to us – we run them after every support ticket has been resolved ✅
5. Is your product a good fit and is it easy to use?
Product market fit (PMF) is crucial to customer retention.
After all, if your product isn’t solving a customer’s problem or it’s too complex for them, they’ll churn. It’s crucial to measure this early in the customer journey, which is why we use one survey to measure both product fit and ease of use:
The PMF/SEQ survey tests our product market fit and ease of use by asking customers a single question: How easy (or difficult) is it for you to use/accomplish what you want in Drift?
This gives us an overall sense of whether or not our user experience is where we want it to be.
Measuring product fit and ease of use can also affect your customer’s emotional connection, as Superhuman has discovered. Founder Rahul Vohra says measuring their PMF gives the company an idea on how much their customers depend on it, either because there’s such a strong emotional connection or because nothing else exists quite like it. He also doubles up and asks customers about product fit and NPS in the same survey.
“You need both to build a meaningful company,” he says.
“One is going to determine the fundamental success of the product, and the other is going to determine your distribution success.
“But if you have one and not the other, it’s unlikely you’ll build a successful company.”
The moral of the story is that measuring your product fit is key to solving the biggest obstacle in sales: how to get your customer to come to you, instead of you reaching out to them. If your product solves their problem or you can build an emotional attachment between it and your customer, the more likely they are to stick with your company.
6. Ask about new product feature and functions
Finally, it’s important to gauge whether those new features and functions your tech team has been working on are resonating with your customers.
In the tech world, product updates are always happening. Yet, even in the fast-paced environment, you need to keep on top of product releases and get specific feedback about new features. By doing that, we’re able to measure how our UI, UX, functionality, features, and overall platform is working for our customers.
The difference between how we measure this part of our customer experience and the other examples on the list is that we do this on the fly. We ask customers in real-time for feedback on things we’ve released (or are planning to release), and it’s helped shape the Drift you see today.
Drift product manager Matt Bilotti says collecting real-time feedback is one of the best things you can do to keep a finger on the pulse of your customer experience. And you gain valuable insights into what kind of updates will make the difference for your customers.
For example, here’s a survey that Matt and team use to collect feedback on Drift’s live chat software. It gives customers a chance to share feedback quickly and also the option to switch back to the legacy view if they’re not ready to move to the updated version.
Not only does acting on this feedback boost customer satisfaction, but it also brings your efforts full circle. As customers get more invested in the product, they want to make it better just as much as we do. The result is epic new features being added that our customers actually want.
The most important step in measuring customer experience is taking action
Here’s the hard truth about measuring your customer experience.
It doesn’t matter how many surveys or scores you do to measure customer experience; it only matters if you take action.
And remember – you don’t own your customer’s experience. They do.
To make solid, positive changes at your company, you need to make sure that all of the feedback and insight you’re gathering gets out to the right teams. Once it lands in the right hands, it’s up to every team to look at it, take it in, and care about the customer enough to act on it.
You’re only one person. You can’t fix every problem. But you’re part of a company and a team. Working with other departments within your organisation is the most critical part of taking action and achieving the ultimate goal – providing your customers with an unforgettable experience.
Originally published Aug 01, 2020, updated Sep 23, 2021