Are you Measuring Vanity Metrics in CX? The Limitations of CSAT and NPS Explained


What metrics are you measuring as part of your customer experience strategy? We asked CXOs and CX leaders from across several industries this question and the answer wasn’t surprising–CSAT or NPS. These key metrics were cited as being “incredibly important” to leaders and teams in customer service. It’s the reigning number that has caused lost sleep and influenced CX strategies world-wide. But are they the right metrics to be tracking?

When asked what metrics were considered pure vanity, the top answer was again CSAT and NPS. The results were shocking. How could the most reported on metrics also be considered pure vanity? 

Luke Skarzynski from Rhone said, “CSAT and NPS are thermometers. A thermometer will take your temperature, but it doesn’t provide the diagnosis of why you’re sick or healthy.” Many who were asked felt the metrics were easily manipulated or missed the mark on measuring the full customer experience. 

This was echoed at the 2020 CXLife Virtual Conference by Julie Hogan, the VP of CX at Drift. “The problem with NPS, and only NPS at a specific point in time, is it gives you just that data point.” In other words, you miss the full scope of the customer’s journey when you break it down to just that one number at a specific point in time. So how do you get the full story? What metrics are actionable and provide deeper insight into how your customers are experiencing your brand?

Daniel Rodriguez, CMO of Simplr, explained that in our first-of-its-kind study about the relationship between customer service and e-commerce growth, research revealed two out of three large brands connect their CX directly to revenue. 

They report on metrics like:

  • Customer Retention
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Sales Attribution from Customer Service

By focusing on how customer service ties directly to revenue, they get a more robust view of customer sentiment and transform their call centers focused solely on optimization into a revenue engine. 

During her keynote presentation on Fueling Reliable Revenue Through Customer Experience, Julie Hogan broke down her key strategies in measuring CX. At Drift, they break down their customer experience into three elements: product experience, satisfaction with key interactions, and loyalty. “So by thinking about what we deploy, when we deploy it, and how we gather it…helps us deeply dial into those specific points along a customer’s path and determine what we need to improve and focus on…”

What we learned throughout our research is that CSAT and NPS, while popular metrics to track and report on, have limitations. The fastest-growing brands go beyond those metrics and look at the entirety of a customer’s journey. By gathering and analyzing data from every point along the customer lifecycle, you’ll find very actionable and revealing information. And as we all know, providing incredible customer experiences at every turn is key, especially during these unpredictable and turbulent times.

Julie noted the power of great customer experiences by saying, “…65% of consumers find that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than your advertising…so imagine the business impact you could have by having those positive experiences work for you. And right now, this is more important than ever. Customers are standing by the brands who listen, who know them, who helped them.” 

For more about vanity metrics, check out “Beyond Vanity Metrics: 3 Data Points to Fuel Growth“.

You can download Simplr’s 2020 Scaling CX Report here.