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Delivering a great customer experience (CX) is essential to the success of any brand. Customer demands for quality and intuitive interactions are constantly rising, forcing brands to improve customer experience to keep pace. No two customer interactions are the same, so what constitutes success for one company might not make the cut at another. That’s why it is so important to determine ahead of time what ‘success’ means for you and your organization.

According to research firm Gartner, 89 percent of brands believe that customer experience is their greatest differentiator, but too many companies are using outdated or limited metrics for measuring customer experience success.

Net Promoter Score: Quick Benchmark, But Too Limited

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most popular ways to measure CX success. With NPS, customers are asked to answer a single question: “On a scale of zero to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company’s product or service to a friend or colleague?”

Based on the cumulative answers, companies are given a score between -100 (very, very bad) and 100 (perfect). Scores above zero are considered good, anything above 50 is excellent, and 70 and above is considered world class.

While NPS doesn’t offer a lot of depth, it does provide a single, easily digestible number that brands can use to assess how willing customers are to recommend a product. However, it doesn’t necessarily prove that customer experience is working. Instead, it simply identifies that someone is satisfied with the technology or product.

This isn’t to say Net Promoter Score isn’t useful — it is. NPS is a great way to compare against other companies in a chosen industry. It’s also something that can be pointed to across all departments and teams within an organization. But to get a full view of CX success, additional insights need to be gathered. Asking follow-up questions such as, “Please explain your answer,” can help collect useful qualitative information companies would be missing out on if they were solely using the NPS format.

Related Article: Everything You're Doing With Net Promoter Score Is Probably Wrong

Customer Satisfaction Score: Simple, But Lacks Standardization

Like Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a simple, low-effort way to measure customer experience. CSAT surveys also ask only one question: "How satisfied were you with your experience?" Respondents answer on a scale (often one to five), though there is no universal standard so it varies by company. Responses of five (very satisfied) and four (somewhat satisfied) are typically viewed as good scores. However, similar to NPS, asking respondents to explain their answer will often yield more insightful results.

The best time to ask users to answer the question is after they have completed an important task in the customer journey, such as checking out on an ecommerce site. The moment at which a user is prompted with a CSAT survey dictates the responses.

One huge benefit of CSAT that other metrics don’t offer is the ability to customize the measurement. Since there is no standard, CSAT surveys can be molded to fit a specific company, providing more freedom than some other metrics. NPS and the System Usability Scale (SUS), for example, can’t be modified at all without the results being incomparable to other similar organizations.

Related Article: Customer Experience Maturity: Cross the Chasm From Fluff to Tough

System Usability Scale: Addresses Ease-of-Use, But Misses Other Important Factors

Around for more than three decades, the System Usability Scale (SUS) breaks from the single-question trend. It makes 10 statements, with respondents indicating their sentiment based on five options ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Scores are then rated on a scale of 0-100, with 68 considered average.

SUS has been around for a few decades and has earned a reputation as a robust and reliable tool. It allows brands to understand how customers feel about an experience, particularly how easy it is to learn and use. However, as customer experience has evolved, new aspects of the experience have emerged which deserve to be measured as well.

Similar to SUS, USERIndex makes 10 statements about user experience. It doesn’t have the reputation SUS does because it hasn’t been around as long, but it measures more recent CX aspects like usefulness, satisfaction and reliability, along with ease-of-use and learnability.

One might use SUS to stick with something more proven and ubiquitous, but could use USERindex to collect a larger variety of metrics about the customer experience.

Related Article: Are You Measuring Part or All of the Customer Experience?

Custom CX Metrics: Consistent and Aligned to Specific KPIs

Every company has its own unique KPIs, so while pre-defined metrics like NPS and SUS offer a lot of advantages, it may be difficult to get target KPIs to align just right. Even CSAT, which isn’t beholden to a strict standard, doesn’t offer the flexibility of a custom metric because it only asks one question. By creating their own custom metrics, companies can ensure the questions are designed to measure their specific KPIs, while asking as many (or as few) questions as necessary.

In addition, custom metrics can be standardized across an entire organization, keeping measurements consistent regardless of product or department.

Related Article: Roadblocks to Epic Customer Experiences: Organizational Silos, Conflicting KPIs

Which Metric Is Right For You?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to customer experience. However, using a single-question survey like NPS or CSAT in conjunction with a deeper measurement – such as System Usability Scale, USERIndex, or even a measurement index designed in-house — will provide the most complete results.

Whatever combination of gathering customer feedback you choose to measure the success of your efforts, understanding your customers is only part of becoming a customer-centric organization. Responding to that feedback and improving your digital properties as a result will boost your entire brand.