woman standing at the top of a staircase
CX metric programs play an intrinsic role in any company's customer experience program — but too few are proving effective PHOTO: Georgie Pauwels

Customer experience (CX) metrics programs are a critical component of any company’s CX efforts. Unfortunately, many programs fail to drive sufficient action.

A CX metrics program is much more than a dashboard of numbers reported out at regular intervals. Instead, a CX metrics program should support a company’s business and brand objectives by guiding how a company tracks CX performance, identifying improvement areas and prioritizing customer-centric focus areas. 

Separating Strong CX Metrics Programs From Weak

In its research, Temkin Group identified four competencies that differentiate strong CX metrics programs from weak CX metrics programs:

  1. Consistent: The entire organization is aligned around one core set of CX metrics. Using a consistent set of CX metrics helps to build a clear vocabulary, which allows an organization to have more productive discussions about CX.
  2. Impactful: Employees across the company consider CX metrics in their day-to-day work and in strategic decisions. Companies identify metrics that are meaningful enough to drive decisions and then act on them.
  3. Integrated: Employees regularly discuss CX metrics and consider the impact changes to the business will have on the metrics. Companies integrate CX metrics into their decision-making processes.
  4. Continuous: The company has processes for reviewing CX metrics and continuously making changes based on the metrics. CX metrics are an ongoing tool used to run — not just measure — the business.

When Temkin Group asked companies to rate their programs across these four competencies, we found only half of large companies have continuous metrics, while less than one-fourth have consistent, integrated or impactful CX metrics.

CX Metrics Programs

5 Steps to a Strong CX Metrics Program

How can companies build a strong CX Metrics program? By following these five steps:

Step 1. Determine a Core CX Metric

Companies first need to identify a core CX Metric — an easy-to-understand overarching relationship metric that measures the health of customers’ experience across the entire organization. Defining this single high-level metric enables companies track their CX progress, spot improvement opportunities and determine where to allocate resources. 

The company must clearly define the purpose of this Core CX Metric, making it clear which brand or business objectives it supports and affects. Most importantly, this metric should be easy to understand and explain to all levels of the organization. While there is no one “right” metric, common examples of Core CX Metrics include overall satisfaction, likelihood to repurchase, Net Promoter Score and others.

Step 2. Set Goals

For a Core CX Metric to be meaningful, an organization needs to set realistic goals for the metric based on an understanding of how it relates to its business and financial objectives. For example, there may come a point where achieving a higher NPS or customer satisfaction score no longer increases revenue and begins to cost the company money. 

How the company sets these goals — how lofty or achievable they are — signals how much effort the company is willing to invest to improve its customer experience. And the goals around the Core CX Metric may vary across different areas of the company (e.g. new product offerings versus more mature products) and by customer segment. Goals should not be set as absolute values (e.g. an overall satisfaction score of 68 percent,) but as an acceptable range (64 to 70 percent) to minimize excessive focus on incremental increases or decreases.

Step 3. Identify Key Drivers

Not every interaction or customer is going to affect the Core CX Metric equally. To pinpoint precisely where to focus its improvement efforts, a company needs to identify the touchpoints, journeys, interactions or customers that have the biggest impact on its Core CX Metric. Companies can determine these key drivers through analytics such as correlations, driver analysis and predictive analytics as well as through qualitative input from front-line employees.

Step 4. Establish Key Driver Metrics

To keep employees and executives focused on improving these key drivers, companies must create mechanisms for measuring them. Stakeholders from each functional team should help define these key driver metrics so that they are appropriate for and understood by the employees responsible for impacting them. Companies can use existing operational, transactional and journey metrics — though they may also be required to craft new metrics.

Step 5. Make the Suite of Metrics Actionable

Metrics provide only limited value if companies don’t use them to drive day-to-day business decisions. While the Core CX Metric should be shared and understood by employees across the entire business, key driver metrics need only be distributed to the relevant functional teams. 

This suite of metrics should influence the company’s strategic decisions, particularly when it needs to make trade-offs between short-term and long-term goals. Companies should base incentives off these metrics to reward employees who help improve the scores, while organizations can use compensation to drive desired behaviors more broadly across both individuals and groups.