The power of measuring customers’ experience
Article

The power of measuring customers’ experience

Take aways
  • NPS does not capture the overall customer experience.
  • Businesses must decide the objectives and application of NPS alongside other metrics.
  • When NPS is used alongside other metrics, quick fixes in customer experience are revealed.


As customers often interact with an organisation through various channels, Net Promoter Score (NPS) alone is not sufficient to accurately capture customer experience. More accurate insights are generated when NPS is used alongside the customer lifecycle and other measurements, and when the organisation follows up with customers who give a low score to find out what exactly goes wrong. Such follow up usually reveals customer hotspots, and enables the organisation to prioritise what should be fixed first.

Customer-related measurements such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES) and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) have gained popularity across sectors. They help organisations understand and “fix” customer issues and concerns. While these measurements do improve customer transactions, they do not reveal much about the underlying issues that affect customer experience.

NPS has grown in popularity

Over the last decade, NPS has gained prominence in organisations as the measurement of customer satisfaction. In sectors such as telecoms, energy and insurance, NPS has become the standard against which companies measure themselves and benchmark others. Many organisations have incorporated NPS in their internal performance and reward systems.

The customers’ experience of a visitor to London is a combination of many impressions and interactions that relate to public transport. Asking an NPS question at different points of a tourist journey yields varied results.

Experience is more than a transaction

NPS measures a customer’s response to a single question, usually after completing a transaction with the organisation. It immediately reveals what goes wrong in the transaction that makes the customer unsatisfied.

In some organisations, NPS is elevated to being a measurement of customer experience. It is problematic because customers experience an organisation across multiple interactions and touchpoints, not just over a single transaction. Therefore, it is crucial to also employ other customer measurements alongside NPS in order to gain more accurate customer insights.

Follow up with unsatisfied customers

NPS yields more meaningful insights only when the organisation follows up with the customer in the event of a low score. For instance, a low score on an interaction with the call centre. A follow up enables the team and the call centre to understand the problem, and address it maybe with more training, process adjustment, better communications, etc. Reaching out to unsatisfied customers shows that you care, and you may be able to win them back in the future.

The main advantage of Net Promoter Score is that it gets companies to be serious about performance metrics that are customer-based.

Multiple touchpoints render NPS less informative

However, when customers interact through various touchpoints, NPS may not tell you exactly which interaction goes wrong. For instance, a customer gives a positive score following an online transaction, only after that the customer contacts the call centre regarding a problem in the delivery. The call centre gets a negative score from the customer, although the problem is in the delivery channel.

Lose sight of the overall

When NPS is tied to internal performance, that might encourage departments to try to improve their NPS in isolation, losing sight of the overall customer experience. This negative effect, fortunately, can be mitigated by combining NPS with other more qualitative measurements that are conducted in regular intervals, and by coaching staff about the purpose of NPS.

Relate NPS to the customer lifecycle

Feedback from customers becomes more comprehensive when you combine NPS with the customer lifecycle. Hotspots emerge when you relate transactions to the different stages of the customers’ interactions with your organisation. Further investigation of the hotspots, together with staff and customers, reveals underlying issues and areas where quick fixes are possible in order to improve the overall customer experience.

More rigor is needed

If the product or service is complex, at least from the customer perspective, the use of NPS requires more rigor. Businesses must decide the purpose, objectives and application of NPS, and complement it with other qualitative and quantitative measurements. The real value lies in mapping all these input into an overarching customer lifecycle.