Customer Experience Benchmark Metrics That Matter

Satisfied customers stay; unsatisfied ones take their business to your competitors. Delivering an exceptional customer experience keeps customers. But today, their expectations are rooted in anywhere, all-the-time smartphone-informed experiences. And while omnichannel helps you meet these new customer experience expectations, you also need benchmarking data to spot and improve areas of weakness.

Most customer experience professionals generate plenty of benchmarking data in the contact center. But not everyone knows which metrics are most useful. ContactBabel, the leading analyst firm for the contact center market, explored this factor in their recent report, “The US Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide 2018.” This 110-page report summarizes the results of a survey they conducted with 234 senior customer experience leaders.

“The US Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide 2018” report covers a variety of topics, including customer experience benchmarking. Let’s take a closer look at what ContactBabel found.

Gathering Customer Experience Benchmark Metrics

As a customer experience professional, you likely track customer experience through several methods, including customer surveys, programs to gather employee feedback, complaint analysis and more. You might even take advantage of newer methods like speech analytics. The chart below shows which methods survey respondents use and how they rated each for its usefulness.

A large majority of respondents, 75%, found customer surveys to be a “useful” learning method, with 53% finding them “very useful.” No other option rated as “very useful” with more than 50% of respondents. No respondents rated the method as “not useful,” while 10% reported they do not use this method.

More than 80% of respondents report that they use customer surveys, employee feedback, and complaint analysis. And just 37% of respondents reported they use speech analytics, which was the most technologically advanced option. Of those that relied on speed analytics, most found it “somewhat useful” or “very useful,” making it more highly regarded among users than mystery shopping.

Rating Common Benchmarks

Respondents turn to results of methods like customer surveys, employee feedback, and others to generate customer experience benchmarks, including:

  • Quality Scores: Employees are scored based on multiple factors during various customer interactions; companies determine which factors contribute to the overall score.
  • Customers Satisfaction (CSAT) Scores: This generally involves tracking customer satisfaction rates in surveys using a scoring system, such as numeric scoring or satisfaction levels, determined by the business.
  • Net Promoter Scores®: This index measures customer loyalty based on factors such as how likely a customer is to recommend a company.
  • Customer Effort Scores: These scores rate the ease or difficulty of interactions for customers.
  • Customer Retention Rates: These rates are typically based on contract renewals, especially in contract-based industries like insurance.

For the benchmarking methods used, ContactBabel asked respondents to rate the usefulness of each. Interestingly, the highest-ranking customer experience benchmark—customer retention—is one that the contact center has little control over.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed found customer retention rate to be a “useful” customer experience benchmark, with another 24% finding it “somewhat useful.” Quality, CSAT, and Net Promoter Scores earned virtually identical ratings as “very useful,” but the customer effort score ranked slightly higher. Looking at combined numbers for “very useful” and “somewhat useful” responses, each customer experience benchmark used performed well. That’s hardly surprising; companies likely drop “not useful” benchmarks.

What the C-Suite Watches

Based on the ContactBabel report, we know that customer experience professionals are armed with a wealth of benchmarking data. And they can share that data with other leaders at their companies as well as C-suite executives. ContactBabel examined which customer experience benchmarks those executives look at first. They asked for the single metric that leaders rely on when judging the success of their customer experience program.


Interestingly, customer experience pros chose customer retention rate as the most useful benchmark—by a landslide. But only 12% of respondents report that leaders in their organization give that metric top priority. Instead, they are more likely to look to overall revenue, Net Promoter Scores and customer satisfaction to judge customer experience success. Few executive teams make first contact resolution a top consideration, though that metric is directly related to customer experience and lacks the subjective component of some other metrics like Net Promoter Scores.

Rethinking Customer Experience Benchmarking in Your Organization

You know which customer experience benchmarking techniques and scoring methods your organization uses and values. Reviewing the ContactBabel report gives you a window into what customer experience metrics other organizations rely on for insight. Consider sharing the report with your colleagues and use it as a springboard for conversations about how rethinking customer experience benchmarking could give your company an edge.

The survey provides a context for provocative topics and questions. Your team could brainstorm what your customer contact processes would look like if first contact resolution rate were your top metric.  It’s important to know when you should consider other factors, like speech analytics, and what would happen if executives made customer retention their top customer experience metric.

Download the report to start exploring what your peers are doing and how they think about customer experience.