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PHOTO: Sami Boudjelti

There are so many ways to measure customer experience (CX) efforts. For B2B brands, the ultimate measure is renewal rate, or, for those whose CX includes account management, your NCVI (net contract value increase) rate. 

But rather than rehashing a list of frequently discussed CX metrics, I thought it would be interesting to approach measurement through the lens of the acquisition, engagement and retention framework. 

Customer Acquisition

You might be thinking, “Wait, acquisition is about sales.” But the truth is customer experience staff (a.k.a. all staff?) are always selling. To measure how effectively they’re doing that, I recommend looking at metrics such as: the number of users as a percentage of those contracted for (this number should trend up over time), the percentage of functionality in use (this number should trend up), and the number of products owned (for multi-product companies). 

These metrics will give you insight into just how completely “acquired” a customer is.


Related Article: Closing the Loop on Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement

A customer’s engagement level (i.e., how much you and your product are part of their day to day) is a key indicator of their commitment to you and your solution. Engagement metrics worth considering include:

  • Number of support tickets. Note the “target” here will vary based on where the customer is in their lifecycle. Right after onboarding, they should contact support frequently and then, over time, less. But there’s a minimum threshold for contacting support. Determine what this threshold is during the first 90 days, the first six months and thereafter. If the customer isn’t meeting that threshold, something’s just not right. And keep in mind that the amount of contact should spike when a customer buys a new product from you.
  • Attendance at trainings or webinars and/or consumption of online content such as recorded webinars, blog posts and knowledgebase articles. Even if a customer is knowledgeable, attending events and reading online content is a strong sign of continued interest. Without that, the customer is using your product based on what they learned at the outset, which is sort of like a race car driver trying to win after taking a driver’s ed class. They just can’t be as effective as they should be to get all the value they should, making it likelier they will churn.
  • Willingness to advocate. Here, you can either measure willingness in general or you can measure for types of advocacy. For example, being willing to be a reference or to speak at a conference on your behalf shows a higher level of engagement than, say, being mentioned in case study.If, roughly halfway through their initial license period, the customer isn’t willing to advocate for you at some level, there’s an engagement problem.

Related Article: Why Are Companies Investing in Customer Retention?

Customer Retention

The most obvious retention metric to use is the renewal itself. With that said, the metric doesn’t help much in terms of churn prevention. For that, I recommend using a health score that provides insight into what is likely to happen at renewal time. A number of CX platforms can really help with this, but if you’re not quite ready to invest in CX software, you can build a primitive Excel-based health score on your own. The list of components can go on and on, but the two most critical are:

  • Usage. This can be something as simple as the last time a user logged in or it can be the number of uses (whatever that means for your product) in a given time period. If you choose the latter, the number should stay stable or trend up.
  • “Sticky” feature usage. When talking about acquisition above, I mentioned tracking how many features the customer is using as an indicator of how “acquired” the customer is. This is different. The best example of a sticky feature is Salesforce’s forecasting capability. Once a company is hooked on that, there’s no unplugging SFDC. What is that feature for your product, the one thing a customer just can’t live without once they’re using it?

As I said at the start, there are any number of ways to measure CX, but you can get pretty far with just the few I mention here in support of acquisition, engagement and retention.

Related Article: The Dirty Secret of the SaaS World: Customer Churn