In the expanding digital economy, customer experience is king. Staying ahead of the competition requires every business to meet—and exceed—users’ ever-rising expectations for online platforms. This is where customer experience (CX) metrics come in.
CX metrics are general web metrics, contextualized around the customer, their satisfaction, and how successfully they can use a website or app to accomplish what they came there to do. From the speed with which the experience loads to the visual design and words on the page, myriad factors play a role in customer experience. An essential first step in assessing the success of a CX platform, however, is understanding that not every business has the same priorities when it comes to metrics. To optimize your customer experience, you must always look at metrics in the context of your brand goals.
At Nansen, we specialize in designing platforms that deliver ease and satisfaction throughout the customer journey, for a wide variety of businesses. We help those diverse clients improve customer satisfaction efficiently, by focusing on the specific data and optimizations that matter most in achieving their ultimate business goals.
Tracking customer experience metrics provides key insights that should help guide decisions about how you can enhance the customer journey on your digital platform. But remember: a low number is not always bad; neither is a high number always good. Always consider CX data in the proper context.
With that in mind, here are five customer experience metrics that will help you assess and optimize the user journey for your customers.
Conversion rate is the fundamental customer experience metric. It is the best measure of whether your digital platform is achieving its primary objective and helping customers accomplish what they came there to do.
The precise user action that your conversion rate will track depends on your brand, your platform, and your goals. “Conversions” can be almost any action that you specify. Some of the most common examples are submitting a form, making a purchase, or downloading something.
How to measure conversion rate: There are a number of tools that allow you to track conversion rate, or the percentage of users who arrive on your platform and take your desired action. Google Analytics is a ubiquitous and popular tool for measuring conversion rates, among many other metrics. MixPanel and Amplitude are two others that we work with frequently to help clients track their digital conversions.
How to improve conversion rate: Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has become a specialty all unto itself, involving the rigorous A/B testing of every touchpoint of the customer experience. Throughout the digital customer journey, each page, background color, and call-to-action can be assessed, tweaked, and optimized. Once you’ve measured the conversion rate of your landing page or app, work with your team or agency partner to begin the process of testing and learning.
Bounce rate is a perfect example of a customer experience metric that must be assessed in the context of the platform’s specific brand goals. Traditionally, you might think of a high bounce rate (meaning that a large percentage of visitors to a certain page leave your site or app without going to another page) as a negative result. After all, shouldn’t you want people to spend as much time on your platform as possible?
In fact, for many businesses, a high bounce rate from a specific page indicates that customers were able to accomplish what they came there to do. Think of a recipe page. In the context of delivering the information a user needs to prepare a meal, a high bounce rate, in fact, speaks to a successful customer experience. On the other hand, for platforms like news websites or shopping experiences, you want to see users click through multiple pages. In those contexts, seeing a high bounce rate data point indicates room for improvement.
How to measure: To track the number of users who come to a page on the site and then leave before taking any further action, you can rely on Google Analytics or other standard web analytics tools.
How to improve: If you’re seeing a high bounce rate on pages where you want your customers to be taking action instead, there are a few specific things to assess. The first is site speed. A common reason for a high bounce rate is that the page simply loads too slowly, and users don’t like waiting. The second potential issue is that you’re bringing the wrong type of traffic to that page. Use an analytics tool to see where visitors are coming from, and if you’re running any paid media, make sure you’re targeting receptive audiences. Finally, like with conversion rate optimization, you can do A/B testing to optimize various components on the page, like copy and content structure.
Barring companies that sell a once-in-a-lifetime product, if your digital platform delivers a successful customer experience, it’s likely that you’ll see some of the same users return. The percentage of visitors who come back to your platform within a given time period is your rate of retention. (This metric is sometimes assessed in the opposite direction, as “churn rate” or the percentage of customers who don’t return or renew.)
For some brands, like SaaS products, retention is among the most significant indicators of success. For others, retention is less of a do-or-die metric, but still worth keeping an eye on in the effort to constantly improve customer experience.
How to measure: There are many ways to assess your success with customer retention. Depending on the product or service you’re offering, you may want to see users come back to your site every day (news websites) or once a month (shopping experiences). Decide which timeframe makes the most sense for you, then use a tool like Amplitude to collect and assess your rate of retention.
How to improve: To start, we suggest addressing a low retention rate by testing different ways to nudge your customers to come back. If you’re not doing any reminders via email or social media, implementing a content strategy may be the ticket.
However, a low retention rate or high churn rate may indicate that there’s a mismatch between what you’re offering customers and what they’re looking for. Dig into the data to see what types of users are coming back and which aren’t. It’s possible, for example, that you need to improve the customer experience on iPhone specifically, if those users, in particular, are not returning. If the customer data doesn’t suggest any specific opportunities, then it may be time to look at your product—is it good enough to keep people coming back to use it again?
As the customer experience moves online, new ways to track and optimize traditional measures of service—like “wait time”—have emerged. Customer support teams matter as much in the digital economy as they did when phone calls were the primary mode of inquiry, and every business should be tracking how long it takes for customers to get a response to their request, whether offline or online.
How to measure: Customer support platforms like Zendesk and others offer a multitude of ways to track the response time to customer inquiries. With so many options for support channels, from phone calls to website bots to Facebook Messenger, a comprehensive tracking tool is a must.
How to improve: Assuming that you have a strong customer support team, a slow response-time metric should prompt you to try one or more of the following optimizations. First, if you’re getting a high volume of inquiries about a specific topic, update your FAQ or Help website page. Helping users troubleshoot issues themselves makes for a smoother customer experience.
The second opportunity for response-time improvement is building up your online support documentation, so that support teams can quickly find the information they need. And finally, you should consider facilitating community-based support. Set up a Facebook Page or a Slack channel for your customers, so that “power users” can help answer questions from other customers, quickly and easily.
Countless studies have shown that website and app users make decisions about content or products in one to three seconds. Clearly, this means that getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time is key to delivering a successful customer experience. But how can you assess the “clarity” of your online platform? Actually, there are multiple ways to measure and improve this CX metric.
How to measure: Tactics for assessing the information clarity of a digital experience fall into both qualitative and quantitative categories. On the more qualitative side, at Nansen, we always recommend that our clients do customer surveys, interviews, or user observation based on their experience of online platforms. These tactics are almost always eye-opening in terms of the insights that can be gleaned directly from customers. (And tools like Qualaroo and others can make surveying simple.)
To assess information clarity in a more quantitative way, heat-mapping or scroll-mapping is a powerful way to determine how users understand the flow of an online platform and what content is keeping their attention—or losing it. Using a tool like CrazyEgg or others, you can create a “map” of where customers are looking and how far they scroll down on any given page.
How to improve: The results of your customer surveys, interviews, and observation sessions will highlight any barriers or failures that exist in the customer journey on your platform. And as you work to improve the customer experience based on those insights, heat-mapping will allow you to optimize your digital presence, from written content to buttons and more, based on your customers’ actual behavior.
Enhancing customer experience is an ongoing process, one that usually requires focusing on multiple metrics at once. Partnering with a customer experience agency like Nansen will allow you to collect data, develop hypotheses, test, and optimize on multiple fronts at the same time. From design and development to CRO and surveys, we handle everything in-house, so that your business can keep pace with rising expectations and demands to deliver a superlative customer experience.