Having trouble choosing a metric for your organization’s survey programs? You’re not alone.
Plenty of companies just like yours are wondering how best to put customer perception into context. The question is simple—“How do customers feel about my brand?”—but the answers can be so varied and complex that you may not know what to do next.
That’s why we recommend choosing a single metric to start. Of course, even that’s easier said than done—so here’s what you need to know.
Your North Star Metric
The metric you choose will go by many names: beacon metric, main metric, key metric. However, Forbes calls it your organization’s North Star Metric, elegantly describing how this measurement can illuminate your path forward and guide you home. It also shows that, while other metrics may be attractive (like all the other stars above), trying to follow too many at once will just get you lost.
While your key metric guides the direction of your surveys, it will also communicate important details to your survey takers. For example, it may show where your priorities are, how you view your customers, what your brand’s personality is, and more. Much like the North Star itself, it’s important that your beacon metric is clear and straightforward to users.
However, unlike the real North Star, this beacon metric isn’t named for its position in the sky. Instead, you get to choose which metric is your guiding light. Of course, with so many options to choose from, you may start to wish astronomers would step in and decide for you.
Luckily, the first step is simple: understanding which metrics you have to choose from (no telescope required).
At Alida, we’re all about letting customers tell their stories. That’s why we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about metrics—and in our ruminations, we found three important categories:
Relationship metrics measure the overall perception a customer has of your organization—your north star metric will be one of these. These metrics are based heavily on feelings—which are, of course, vital to any healthy relationship—but may branch out a bit to consider the value proposition of your brand.
Your goal is to ask customers to tell you a story about your place in their lives. Here are a few questions that could get the storytelling started:
- “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” LTR, or Likelihood to Recommend, is an important way to tell whether you occupy a customer’s mind or are oft-overlooked in their inbox. You can use this information to create a Net Promoter Score (NPS), helping you visualize how many customers may be actively supporting your brand outside of direct purchases.
- “To what extent do you agree that we provide quality products, services, and/or experiences?” Deloitte’s Trust Index poses questions to determine how comfortable a customer feels with your brand. For example, if customers feel you openly share motives, consistently deliver on promises and guarantees, and treat everyone with respect, the Trust Index indicates they’re likely big fans.
- “How satisfied are you with the value for money from our brand?” Value is an ever-important metric, and asking this question shows customers that you care how your products or services are received.
These measure the perception a customer has over a collection of touchpoints required to complete a task. Journey-based metrics provide valuable insights into how and why customers interact with your organization, and how satisfied they are when they do. They can help you figure out which interactions drive the relationship north star metric. According to McKinsey, “most companies perform fairly well on touchpoints, but distinctive performance on journeys can set a company apart.”
Journey-based metrics rely on two things: Overall Satisfaction and Customer Effort Score.
- Overall Satisfaction, or OSAT, gives customers a chance to rate their experience using certain touchpoints, like your online curbside pickup process or your AI chatbot features for answering high-level questions.
- Customer Effort Score, or CES, asks how easy it was for users to perform a necessary task. This can include appointment scheduling, account navigation, installation processes, and more.
Like journey-based metrics, touchpoint metrics are based directly on customer experience—however, instead of asking about a variety of touchpoints, these questions focus on only one at a time. This provides a narrower view and can often be used to get insights into the performance of specific areas, like your website or contact center.
OSAT and CES are relevant to these metrics as well. However, the phrasing of the questions is different, prompting more targeted responses:
- OSAT: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our product?”
- CES: “How easy was it to get in touch with a customer service representative?”
Choosing Your Key Metric
With so many metrics to choose from, you may be wondering how to decide on just one main metric.
Technically, there’s no right answer. Your north star metric is all about your customers, your brand, and the story you tell together—so it’s something you’ll have to choose on your own. However, it’s important to ask yourself what you’ll do with the metric itself. Customers have taken the time to answer your survey—what will you do with the valuable information they’ve provided?
If you said “take action,” you’re absolutely right. When you take customer feedback and shape it into actionable responses, users will be more likely to take the next survey, knowing their opinion matters—and leadership will be more likely to follow your north star wherever it takes you.
To learn more, be on the lookout for an upcoming blog post on Closed Loop Feedback.
Paul Hagen, Principal Director, CXM at Alida
As Principal Director, Paul Hagen leads thought leadership and product direction for experience management at Alida. His work uses design thinking methods to change the way organizations interact with people to deliver better experiences and value to customers, employees, partners and the community. He builds connections across organizations -- C-Suite, sales, marketing, operations, and IT –to define a strategic vision and take action.
Amy Ko, Principal CX Consultant at Alida
Amy is a Principal CX Consultant on the Professional Services team at Alida. She is responsible for thought leadership, best practices, and shaping the CX Practice.