Selecting your Primary Metric Question

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Suggested next article: Can I change my CX metric question?

Introducing metric types and their related questions

In this section, we'll explore Delighted's CX metrics and the questions that go along with their related methodologies. These question types have their own scales, unique scoring, and use cases. In short, each of these methods are designed for specific situations — so let's sort out the differences.

To understand CX metric types, view this excerpt from our Core training series. 

  • (Jump to the 2:50 timestamp to skip our brief "Help Center" orientation.)

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The eight CX Metric types

Click the links and review articles detailing each method—or keep reading to understand key differences between these unique survey methods.

NPS Projects Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, delivers a loyalty metric using an 11 point scale, from 0-10, that segments respondents into three groups — Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. Created in 2003 by Fred Reichheld at Bain & Company, this methodology has been shared so anyone can apply it. Bain also generates benchmarks for companies to measure against their NPS
5-Star Projects The highly popular 5 star graphic-based survey method works as flexible, lightweight, and approachable versions of a Likert scale, CSAT, CES, or other survey option — as long as the question text drives those types of measurable responses. 5 stars trend toward increased response rates and slightly higher scores than their numeric counterparts
CSAT Projects Customer Satisfaction or CSAT is usually a 5-point scale — with labels from 1: Very dissatisfied to 5: Very satisfied. Evolving to its current form in the 1970s, CSAT is so well understood that labels are less necessary than in the past. This means that Smileys can work well if the question drives a measurable CSAT response. 
CES Projects Customer Effort Score or CES are usually driven by 5-point or 7-point scales — where labels 5 or 7 = Strongly agree and 1 = Strongly disagree. Developed in 2010 by the Corporate Executive Board (now Gartner), CES measures “effort” as a key driver of repeat customers, loyalty, and word of mouth. A Smileys method works well if the question text drives a measurable CES response.
Smileys Projects The popular Smileys graphic-based method works well to capture emotion or feelings (ex. a visit to a hospital for pain management). Also, Smileys can be used as lightweight, approachable versions of a Likert scale, CSAT, CES, or other survey option, — as long as the question text drives those types of measurable responses. Smileys trend toward increased response rates and slightly higher scores
Thumbs Projects Thumbs surveys offer all the simplicity of a clear-cut vote — which is handy and unambiguous in many circumstances. However, with no scale to check for nuance, or with the lack of a follow-up text question to dig deeper into the why, the results are prone to the immediate biases of the moment
eNPS Projects Employee Net Promoter Score or eNPS uses a 0-10 point scale. Created to help measure employee loyalty and engagement within companies and organizations, eNPS uses the NPS scoring system which segments employees into three groups — Detractors, Passives, and Promoters
PMF Projects Product-Market Fit or PMF asks, “How would you feel if you could no longer use [brand/product name]?” with a 3-point emotion scale — ex. 1: Not disappointed, 2: Mildly disappointed, 3: Very disappointed. PMF is most often presented in a 3-point Smileys format, and should appear with labels to avoid confusion

Making the choice

To help decide which CX metric is your best choice, take a peek at their labels!

Low scale point labels High scale point labels
NPS 0 - Not likely
10 - Very likely
NPS is always an 11 point scale from 0-10
CSAT 1 - Very dissatisfied
5 - Very satisfied
CSAT is usually a 5-point scale with a scale range — ex. 5: Very satisfied, 1: Very dissatisfied, but can also be a 3-point scale
CES 1 - Strongly disagree
5 - Strongly agree
CES is most commonly a 7-point scale (although it can also be a 5-point scale),
with an agree range — ex. 5 or 7: Strongly agree, 1: Strongly disagree
eNPS 0 - Not likely
10 - Very likely
eNPS uses the 11 point NPS scale from 0-10
PMF 1 - Not disappointed
3 - Very disappointed 
PMF is a 3-point scale that can feel backwards, running from right to left  — ex. 3: Very disappointed to 1: Not disappointed, and often uses Smiley faces rather than labels
The CX survey flow

After providing a score, respondents are asked an open-ended follow-up question to provide context for their rating. You can also add Additional Questions. CX surveys end with a customizable Thank You page.

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Choosing a CX metric: Questions and scale points

To determine which CX metric is best suited for your research, start by clarifying the questions you wish to ask. Then, consider the method and scale points that will best drive the requisite responses.

Question types

CX surveys can be placed into categories:

Satisfaction: If measuring how pleased customers are with your brand, product, or service at a specific point in time, then satisfaction surveys are for you. Satisfaction survey types include CSATSmileys, and 5 stars
Loyalty If you’re tracking how likely customers are to refer your brand, product, or service to others, or if you need a measure of the strength of your brand and its relationship with customers, the  NPS loyalty method is a great fit
Effort If measuring how easy it is to use, find, or navigate your product, support system, app, or online resources, then effort surveys are a fantastic tool. CES is the leading standard for measuring customer effort and product friction
Employee Experience Employee Experience, or EX, is a measurement of the employee journey—how well are you delivering a positive experience for those who work for you. eNPS measures EX by asking how likely employees are to recommend working at your company to others
Product Experience Product Experience, or PX, surveys help you to design and improve your product offerings by inviting the customer into the product development process. Likert-scale surveys, like 5 stars, are a good fit. Delighted’s Product/Market Fit (PMF) surveys are distinctly unique and can help you identify how well your products align with customer needs
Binary Binary, or yes/no surveys, ask a simple question with less nuance, but are very easy for respondents to answer. Thumbs surveys are a good fit here — just be sure to ask a truly binary question, otherwise respondents might be confused about how to respond

Scale points

Matching your questions to the proper scale translates your responses into informative reports and head-turning dashboards that can help drive subsequent actions. 

11-point scales At the upper end is the 11-point scale made popular by Fred Reichheld’s Net Promoter Score® system, which is used to predict customer loyalty by thousands of top brands around the globe. This scale also applies to eNPS surveys
7-point scales  A 7-point scale, ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, is used to measure effort in 7-point CES surveys. The longer 7-point scale allows respondents a bit more nuance than the 5-point scale CES alternative
5-point scales Grouped in the middle are the more traditional Likert-style, 5-point scale survey questions which measure intensity ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree or from Very Satisfied to Very Dissatisfied. These survey types are often used to measure satisfaction (as in CSAT) or effort (as in CES), but can be presented more playfully with 5-stars or Smileys surveys
3-point scales 3-point scale surveys are easy to respond to, but provide less nuance. PMF surveys use a 3-point scale to measure whether your products are aligned with market needs. Delighted’s 3-point CSAT survey type combines the traditional CSAT survey question with the easy-to-understand smiley faces to offer a survey type ideal for measuring quick touch points
2-point scales Finally, there are 2-point scales. These are useful when an Up/Down vote or a Yes/No response is required—for example, “Was your question answered?” or “Did you enjoy your shopping experience at Hem & Stitch?” Turn to Thumbs surveys to utilize a 2-point scale

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Use cases: Exploring CX metrics & methods

In this part:

1 The coffee table: Using 7-point scales for CES
2 All smiles at the doctor's office: Capturing emotion with Smileys
3 Binge mode: Using Thumbs to quickly gather feedback

1. The coffee table: Using 7-point scales for CES

Let’s say you purchase a coffee table that requires assembly. As you put the table together, you find a package of assembly hardware, none of which seems to fit your table as the instructions suggest. You re-read the guide, search the site online, and watch a YouTube video on the assembly of the table…no luck. Only later do you reach a solution by calling a customer support number, when, after waiting for 38 minutes, an installation consultant promises to send you a new package of assembly hardware that will arrive three days later. Ouch.

This is where Customer Effort Score surveys come into play. A CES study may reveal that the instructions need to be reworked, or that the online support pages are weak, or that wait times in your call center are too long. It may reveal that there is a problem in the packaging department that has packaged the wrong set of installation hardware with the table, or that a three-day delivery schedule may prove problematic for customer happiness. All of these insights can then be used to implement changes to improve your customer experience.

2. All smiles at the doctor's office: Capturing emotion with Smileys

A Smiley scale is often used in a doctor’s office or hospital, where you’ll find a colorful “Pain Scale” pinned on the wall. The scale ranges from a jubilant smiling face to a profoundly sad, crying, or angry face. The pain scale helps medical professionals assess levels of pain severity, ranging from pain-free to the worst possible pain.

This scale is effective because patients can easily map their emotions and feelings of pain to the sentiment depicted by the faces on the chart—even if they can’t vocalize how they’re feeling. The same principle can apply to brands and products—no need to read the scale labels or review a prompt on how to answer!

3. Binge mode: Using Thumbs to quickly gather feedback

Imagine you’re watching your favorite streaming series. Not only do you love the series, but this has been your favorite episode—keeping you laughing for 30 minutes straight. After the final joke drops and the credits start rolling, you’re prompted with the question, “What did you think about this episode?” which can be answered with a quick thumbs up or thumbs down. Thumbs up is the obvious choice.

Thumbs surveys distill feedback down to just two options, allowing respondents to make split-second decisions. Even more importantly, Thumbs provides for easily scalable, reportable, and actionable collection of responses. With just two bodies of data (thumbs up or thumbs down), your team can digest the feedback at a glance and gain immediate insights.

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Can I change my CX metric question and start over?

It depends. Click on the description that best fits your situation:

  1. I am creating a new CX project—and I've changed my mind
  2. I started the project with NPS—but I want to switch to CSAT or CES
  3. My survey is collecting feedback! Can I change my CX question type?
  4. My NPS results are rolling in—but I now want CSAT results instead

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