B2B Customer Experience KPI's: Top 15 Metrics to Measure B2B CX

According to Zendesk’s 2022 Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report, 81% of customers say a positive experience increases the likelihood they’ll make another purchase.

Indeed, studies continually show that providing top-notch experiences at all touchpoints can significantly impact your business's bottom line.

Simply developing experiences is not enough, however. Just as with anything in business, you have to determine if something you built is working.

In this piece, we’ve listed the key metrics to help you keep tabs on customer experience in your business. You can incorporate those indicators into your strategy and improve in areas where needed.

What Are Customer Experience KPIs?

CX Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are units measuring the state of customers’ satisfaction, which may provide further insight into customers’ intentions to reorder from and advocate for your brand.

Why are customer experience metrics important?

As mentioned above and in our previous article on customer experience, CX is one of the key differentiators for modern brands.

In B2B, this means that business buyers are increasingly expecting well-developed, smooth, and personalized experiences that reflect their contractually agreed-upon arrangements and organizational structures.

Since a comprehensive CX in B2B has become an intrinsic part of a B2B marketing funnel, it’s no longer an option to disregard building better experiences. There’s no other way to know how successful those experiences are without measuring their impact.

To put it shortly, CX KPIs can help your organization address and answer the following questions:

  • What do customers think of your brand?
  • How efficient are your sales processes?
  • How easy is it to engage with your brand?
  • How much does your brand resonate with your customers?
  • How well is your support team functioning?
  • How many onboarding milestones are completed on time?
  • How many features do your customers actually use and find of value?
  • How often do your customers engage with your content?
  • How many customers are returning?
  • How many opportunities to upsell have been identified?

Top 15 Customer Experience Metrics

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of metrics available to measure CX. Instead, concentrate on the key indicators that reflect your company’s unique goals and will make a difference in your business.

It might make sense to break down the total experience into smaller insights that correspond to specific parts in a customer journey. This way it would be easier to identify areas that need urgent redress. Analysis of each touchpoint in a customer journey can also help you develop a goal-oriented approach to determining what KPIs matter most.

Below, you’ll find as many as 15 important customer experience metrics. Although it might be tempting to measure all, try to choose the key metrics that are most relevant to your business and your customers.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a commonly used KPI that tracks customers’ level of satisfaction with your business and its products or services. CSAT is typically measured through surveys that customers receive after interacting with a customer service agent, buying your product, or using your service. As an experience metric, CSAT includes multiple questions that focus on a particular part of the customer experience. For example, one of the survey questions might ask how customers would rate their interaction with the telephone service or a delivery agent.

CSAT= (Number of satisfied customers [those with answers above 4s] / Number of survey responses) * 100%

In calculating CSAT, you have to use responses that received only 4s and 5s, as they are typically thought to be the most accurate predictors of customer retention.

Businesses with high satisfaction scores are said to demonstrate customer-centric culture and meet or surpass customer expectations.

Customer effort score (CES)

A Customer Effort Score or CES is an experience metric that measures how much effort customers need to exert to get their issues resolved. The idea behind CES is simple – customers are more loyal to businesses that are easy to interact with.

The best way to measure CES is to ask your customers directly. As part of your CSAT surveys, include questions that can be measured numerically, such as ‘On a scale from 1 to 10, how easy is it to get your questions answered?’ Suffice it to say that CES obtained through surveys cannot be fully representative of customers’ real satisfaction – your customers might be happy with the service in general, but their recent interaction with your representative might not have been great. The best way to mitigate bias like this and get a better picture is to measure CES through time and combine it with other metrics.

Net promoter score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is considered one of the most vital metrics in customer experience programs. NPS measures the loyalty of your customers and takes the form of a single survey question that asks respondents to rate the likelihood of a recommendation of your company, product, or service to a friend or colleague. NPS is reported with a number from 0 to 100; the higher the number, the better. Based on responses, customers are segmented into three groups, such as promoters (score of 9 or 10), passive customers (score of 7 or 8), and detractors (score of 0-6).

To calculate NPS, use the formula below:

NPS = (Percentage of Promoters) – (Percentage of Detractors)

So, if 20% of your customers are detractors and 80% are promoters, then your NPS would be 60%. Ideally, your score will be close to 100.

Your NPS may change over time when measured at established intervals.

By identifying and examining issues that made customers detract from your business, you can improve those areas and turn your detractors into promoters.

Customer churn rate

Customer churn rate is the percentage rate at which customers are moving away from your business over a period of time. Learning how to tackle churn rates and implementing steps to reduce attrition will strengthen your efforts to retain your customers and keep them satisfied.

One of the metrics that directly affects churn rate is CES (as discussed above), which measures the difficulty or ease with which customers complete part of their shopping journey. The more difficult it is to do business with you, the higher your churn rate will be. However, neither CES nor any other experience metric can be a sure predictor of churn. To understand attrition and the reasons behind it, you need to look at operational insights (such as a decrease in repeat purchases or reduced purchase amounts) across all touchpoints and identify what factors may cause your customer churn.

Use the following formula to arrive at a customer churn rate in your business:

Customer Churn Rate = (Customers at the beginning of the month – Customers at the end of the month) / (Customers at beginning of the month) * 100%

For example, if at the beginning of the month you had 2,500 customers and by the end of the month you had 2,455, then the customer churn rate is 1.8%

Use data analytics tools to help you predict which customer accounts are likely to churn, investigate the reasons behind the data, and, most importantly, implement steps to retain those customers.

First response time

It’s a no-brainer that companies that value their customers' time are more likely to have repeat customers. In a fast-paced economy such as ecommerce, time is the most valuable commodity. Customers expect fast replies, one-click buys, speedy returns, and one-day deliveries.

Measuring the first response time can be a useful operational metric to ensure the effectiveness of your sales, technical, or customer service teams.

To arrive at the time it takes to respond to the customer’s first request, perform the simple calculation below:

First Response Time = (Time of first response) – (Time of customer request).

The below benchmarks can serve as a starting point for developing benchmarks of your own.

  • Email or online form: ≤ 24 hours
  • Social media: 60 minutes
  • Phone: 3 minutes
  • Live chat and messaging: instant

First contact resoltuion rate

The First Contact Resolution or FCR rate is the percentage of incoming requests solved during the first interaction with the customer.

Although this rate varies depending on the industry and other factors, the standard benchmark is 70-75%.

Below is the formula for calculating the first contact resolution rate.

First Contact Resolution Rate = (Number of incidents resolved during first contact) / (Total number of incidents) * 100

A high first contact resolution rate is likely to correlate with your Customer Effort Score or CES, as it takes customers less effort to reach out to your organization. Additionally, you may calculate the average number of replies (or the amount of time) it takes to resolve the customer's issue from the time the customer submits the first ticket.

Average resolution rate

To calculate the average time it takes for a customer service representative to resolve a customer issue, use the following metric:

Average resolution time = (Total number of tickets) / (The number of tickets resolved)*100

Average resolution time is one of the key indicators in customer service, which directly relates to those aspects of customer experience when buyers require human interaction to resolve their issue. If you can’t provide adequate support, the rest of your sophisticated digital experience can crumble, leaving buyers reluctant to do business with you again.

To improve the average time it takes to resolve issues, analyze the questions and see if there is a way to speed up their resolution. Creating a comprehensive FAQs page can significantly reduce the number of tickets you receive and free your salespeople from answering recurrent questions.

Conversion rate

Optimizing conversion rates means increasing the percentage of users who take a desired action. The archetypical example of a conversion rate is the number of website visitors who buy something on the site.

Good conversion rates mean that prospects are moving along your sales funnel (and their respective shopping journeys) and are sufficiently incentivized by the customer experience.

According to various estimates, the median conversion rate for B2B ecommerce websites is only 2.2%. However, for good-performing websites in the top 10 percentile, the rate goes up to a staggering 11%. The key to increasing conversion rates in B2B might be simpler than you think. Having a well-developed CX ensures the expectations of B2B buyers are met.

To arrive at your conversion rate, perform the following calculation:

Conversion rate = (The total number of users who take the desired action) / (The total number of users / visitors to your site) * 100

Anything between 2 to 5% is considered a standard conversion rate. There’s no one-size-fits-all percentage, but a good conversion rate, however, is somewhere around 10%.

Cart abandonment rate

The cart abandonment rate measures the percentage of users who add items to the cart, but abandon it before completing a purchase. The typical cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60% and 80%. For B2B, the situation is similar, if not worse, as business buyers have a long list of requirements before they commit to purchasing.

The abandoned rate formula, in general, is calculated as follows:

Cart abandonment rate = (The number of successful sales ) / (The number of visitors who added an item to the cart) * 100

You can significantly reduce your cart abandonment rate just by redesigning the experience. According to research by the Baymard Institute, the average web store has 39 potential areas for checkout improvements. That means there are nearly 40 different ways to boost your sales!

Feature utilization

Feature utilization is an engagement metric that measures user behavior toward a particular product feature, as opposed to the overall product.

There are many ways to calculate feature usage, depending on what actionable insights you want to derive from your calculations. However, simply focusing on the total number of feature users is not very helpful. Instead, calculate a percentage of feature users out of total product users to see how widespread the feature usage is.

If, for example, out of 200 customers who use your app every day, only 5 end up using the configure-price-quote (CPQ) feature, which comes out to 2.5% of unique users who actively utilize the feature.

To arrive at a feature usage percentage, use the following formula:

Feature Usage = (Number of unique users of feature) / (Total number of unique users)*100

After calculating your feature usage, you may want to dig a little deeper and analyze exactly how a particular feature is being used and in what context. By analyzing typical user behavior with regard to the feature in question, you can uncover further actionable insights, which can help you improve its existing functionality and devise ways to stimulate feature adoption among users who have not implemented it yet.

Onboarding time to value

Onboarding time-to-value measures how much time it takes, beginning the moment your customer onboards, to the time they can derive value from your product or service.

The supporting metric here is onboarding time, which accounts for the time it takes for users to get through setting up their accounts. Your customers might need to invite colleagues to collaborate, import their data, and finish other onboarding sequences before they can start using your platform. The sooner it takes to onboard the customer, the faster they can derive value from the experience.

There are multiple strategies you can employ to shorten the existing time-to-value. You may want to assign each customer a personal success manager who can guide them through the experience. You might also want to use different types of content, such as video tutorials and how-to guides, which you can send to your users before the onboarding begins.

Customer lifetime value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a forecast of the net profit derived from a customer over the whole period of the relationship between the business and the customer. Increasing the value of your existing relationships is very important, as it’s no secret that it costs less to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones.

To arrive at CLV, use the following formula:

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) = (Customers' average purchase value) * (Average purchase frequency) * (Average customer life span), where:

Average Purchase Value (APV) = (Total revenue) / (Total number of purchases)

Average Purchase Frequency (APF) = (Number of purchases) / (Number of unique customers)

Average Customer Lifespan (ACL) = (Sum of customer lifespans) / (Total number of customers)

As CLV calculates overall business value derived from a customer, it can either directly or indirectly influence the amount of investment you can afford in building new experiences or improving existing ones. If the LTV of your average customer is $20,000, then you can spend no more than $20,000 to acquire a new one. If you spend more over the course of an average customer life span, there’s a chance you might be losing money.

Marketing campaign effectiveness

One way to measure the success and effectiveness of your marketing campaign is to calculate its return on investment (ROI). ROI measures how much you invested versus how much you earned back.

To arrive at ROI, use the following formula:

Return on investment (ROI) = (Net income) / (Cost of investment) * 100.

For example, if you spent $5,000 on an ad campaign on LinkedIn that led to a $30,000 sale, then your ROI is 500%.

However, calculating ROI is never enough – there are at least a dozen other metrics you can use to estimate varying degrees of the campaign’s effectiveness, such as cost per lead, cost per conversion, pages views, social reach, and so on.

All of these metrics should be evaluated in comparison to your goals. In the next sections, we’ll look at a few metrics that can give you different insights regarding buyer behavior and overall customer experience.

Website traffic

Measuring your website traffic regularly helps you better understand what marketing campaigns are working and where your prospects are coming from. If you see the numbers drop, consider troubleshooting, optimizing your site, or improving existing experiences. There are a few more important metrics you can measure to better understand your customers and their behavior on your site, such as:

  • Traffic by source helps you analyze where your visitors come from;
  • New vs. returning visitors metric shows how relevant your website is long-term and how many people keep returning to your site;
  • Average session duration measures the amount of time a visitor spends on your website;
  • Bounce rate calculates how many people leave your website after only viewing a landing page; and
  • Page views estimate the total number of pages viewed per session, which helps you determine which pages attract less traffic.

Social media monitoring

Although social media doesn’t directly relate to the experiences you build on your site, monitoring social platforms can give you important clues about your customers and their feelings regarding your brand or product.

As many customers turn to social media to voice their praises or frustrations, it’s important to watch for those comments and actively engage with them. Consider harnessing these applications and using customer feedback to improve CX on the site.

Conclusion

While there’s no magic approach to measuring customer experiences, using a combination of different metrics might make the most sense. You might want to start with some fundamental indicators or customer surveys and build your way to developing a comprehensive measurement system that would look at customer experiences from different angles through the prism of your company’s objectives and business goals.

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Marina Vorontsova
Technical author and eCommerce advocate