NPS, CSAT & CES: Top Three Customer Experience Metrics for Beginners

We totally get it: it’s no easy feat to truly understand how your CX program is performing. Are you doing enough to satisfy your customers or are you completely missing the mark? This is why one of the first—and most vital—steps you can take toward measuring the success of your program is deciding which customer experience metrics to track over time. 

If that sounds overwhelming, there’s no need to worry. Here’s a short guide on the top three CX metrics every business should know about!

What Is NPS?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures overall brand health by asking, “How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?” Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point scale and are segmented into three groups: Promoters score 9-10, Passives score 7-8, and Detractors score 0-6. NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percent of detractors from the percent of promoters.

What Are the Pros and Cons of NPS?

NPS is an efficient way to study a brand’s general health through a single metric and that’s what makes it so appealing. It asks a question simple enough for any customer to respond to and the results are easy to calculate. If NPS is going up that’s good and if down that’s bad. Simple as that.

NPS is known as a credible indicator of growth. According to Frederick F. Reichheld, the creator of NPS, “the percentage of customers who were enthusiastic enough to refer a friend or colleague—perhaps the strongest sign of customer loyalty—correlated directly with differences in growth rates among competitors.” In 2003, after two years of research, Reichheld realized the significance of asking a single question about recommending, and ever since, the business world has adopted and prioritized this system in their CX programs.

On the other hand, NPS isn’t a perfect metric. With only numbers as responses, brands don’t receive any kind of contextual information. Although they know how many, it’s unclear why someone wouldn’t or would recommend. There’s also the fact that you’ll never have all your customers answer a survey, so sample sizes will always be smaller than reality. And the bigger NPS study a business conducts, the more time and money is spent.

What Is CSAT?

Similar to NPS, customer satisfaction with the company (CSAT) asks a single survey question: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your recent experience at BRAND X?” A question like this allows for any scoring methodology to apply to it. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of CSAT?

Since CSAT is an easily customizable survey, your brand can ask this question to target specific areas of focus. For example, you can ask about the customer’s experience with a certain product, customer service, or the website. Not only is CSAT customizable depending on what you want to find out, but it also lends itself well to distribution. An CSAT survey can be sent via text, email, web, etc. to reach a greater sample size. 

You can leverage CSAT to analyze satisfaction at key touchpoints in the customer journey, but not for the overall performance of your brand. CSAT is useful for capturing the smaller interactions in your CX program, not the bigger picture. Another consideration, especially for companies in international markets, is that rating satisfaction could be understood differently depending on the country. Even if two people from dissimilar cultures feel the same way about their experience, their individual understanding of “completely satisfied/unsatisfied” could be entirely different.

What Is CES?

Customer Effort Score or CES is a customer experience survey metric that follows up an interaction by asking the customer how much they agree or disagree that “the company made it easy for me to handle my issue.” Customers answer on a scale of 1-7 with 1 being “Strongly Disagree” and 7 being “Strongly Agree.” To calculate the score you take the number of those who answered with 5 and above then divide by the total respondents. This allows brands to measure the ease of customer interaction and resolution.

What Are the Pros and Cons of CES?

Similar to CSAT, CES allows flexibility in questions, so you can specify things like “how easy was it to checkout?” or “how easy was it to make an account?” This way, surveys will give you a clear indication of what experiences need improvement. Another pro is how CES differentiates from CSAT and the category of satisfaction by focusing on convenience instead, something customers value highly.

Since CES is so specific to the efficiency and ease of a certain experience, it doesn’t encapsulate other qualities like loyalty or retention. The CES lacks context needed to judge overall experiences. Also, though CES tells you which experiences need improvement, it fails to provide any information regarding why exactly a specific experience isn’t successful.


Of course, there are still many pros and cons to all of these CX metrics, but these are the ones we believe are most helpful to know. If you would like more insight into these metrics, click here to read our CX Metrics Cheat Sheet.

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