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Business Intelligence


Measuring Customer Experience Comes Down to 3 Elements

Business Intelligence / 9.2.20 / By Diana Osgood

Defining Customer Experience

Ever wonder how to secure a read on customers’ perceptions of your business? Understanding customer experience and gathering feedback goes beyond a simple satisfaction metric. In fact, we recommend a holistic approach that includes three key elements: customer satisfaction (CSAT), likelihood to recommend (NPS) and customer effort (CES).

A CSAT score is a nearer-term measure to understand how customers feel about a particular aspect of your business or interaction with your organization. The question is easy to answer and can be tailored to fit the situation:

”Overall, how satisfied are you with Company XYZ (or aspect ABC of Company XYZ)?”

When interpreting CSAT, organizations often look at those who indicate they're satisfied (higher end of the rating scale) and track that measure over time. Though a valuable measure, satisfaction is more specific in nature, and can easily be coupled with loyalty measures for a more in-depth analysis of the customer experience.

Net Promoter Score, or NPS for short, is a metric that measures customer loyalty and is captured through one simple question:

“How likely are you to recommend Company XYZ to a friend, family member or colleague?”

This seemingly straightforward question gauges how likely it is that a customer would put their reputation on the line to stand behind a company and its products or services.

Customers are categorized as promoters (loyal brand advocates who support the brand and make referrals), passives (indifferent customers who are at risk for considering the competition), or detractors (unhappy patrons who may tarnish the brand through spreading negative experiences).

Finally, measuring customer effort (CES) helps to determine how easy it is for your customers to do business with your company. Often, CES is related to a specific interaction like getting a question answered, ordering a product or returning an item. This can help your brand pinpoint areas for improvement.

And, while companies previously asked about effort, to determine this score, a newer version of this question helps to keep the scales for all three questions moving in the same direction.

“Company XYZ made it easy for me to handle my issue.”

Interpreting Customer Experience

Tying all three measures into a regular tracking exercise for your company will help determine areas of focus to guide both near and longer-term initiatives. These metrics are especially relevant because consumers today choose, switch, avoid or boycott brands whose values are not in alignment with their own. This relationship between brands and consumers is pushing businesses to become advocates for a better society. Belief buyers are exceptionally high among Millennials.

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® Data shows that nearly 7 in 10 US Millennials consider company values when making a purchase.

At Dixon Schwabl, our curiosity drives us to dig deeper. We help companies define and measure their customer experience regularly to keep a pulse on their customers’ brand perception. By combining these three measures, we can create a holistic view of a brand, ensuring their business is meeting, exceeding, or falling short on their customers' expectations.

Have we sparked your curiosity?

Have questions or want to learn more? Look no further, we’d love to hear from you! Connect with Melissa Jusianiec at or 585.899.1922.


Diana Osgood

Diana Osgood is DS+CO’s vice president of strategy and customer insights, helping our clients understand their audiences and the right positioning to drive action.