Glossary of Customer Experience Terms

From Net Promoter Score to Customer Ease Surveys

Confused by the acronyms and terminology of used in customer experience? This glossary of terms clearly explains the most commonly-used terms and phrases.

The complexity starts with the mass of terms and acronyms that are used within the industry. To help you navigate the difference between NPS and CES, or UX and Journey Mapping, we have written this glossary of the terms you will encounter with a simple explanation of what they mean.

Advocacy refers to the impact customers can have in recommending an organisation, its products or services to their friends, colleagues or co-workers. This network effect can be incredibly powerful and positive (when the feedback is good and the customer recommends the service) or, equally, it can be very negative when customers have an experience so bad that they share this across their network.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a good way of gathering, measuring and identifying customers who are detractors or promoters and the potential impact of their word-of-mouth reviews of your organisation across their network.

Customer analytics refers to all of the individual measures that track customer behaviour. This data is then analysed to provide graphical and trend information that can help you better understand how your customers interact with and do business with your organisation so helping you make better business decisions.


This is one of the common customer metrics used to monitor the commercial success of an organisation by measuring and reporting how many customers leave you or stop doing business with you. (Note: the counter measure is Retention rate.)

Customer Effort Score is way of measuring the effort a customer has to make when interacting with your organisation or using your products or services. The methodology is based on the simple theory that if there is a low effort, the customer should be happier; high effort can often be translated to a customer who not so happy.

The survey is similar to a standard Net Promoter Score survey and asks a single question with a scale answer. Typically, this is:

"How easy was it for you to use our product xxx today?" or "How easy was it for you to find the answer to your question on our website?"

The scale is normally a 1-5 scale (though, confusingly, sometimes this is 1-3 or 1-7) where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree.

The survey normally has a follow-up free text question "Why did you give this score?" or similar wording.

Like NPS, you can group the responses into promoters/satisfied (score 4 or 5), passive/neutral (score 3), detractors/dissatisfied (score 1 or 2).

Calculating your CES score:

CES has a score that can range from 0-100 and is calculated by dividing the total number of respondants who score 4 or 5 out of 5 (ie were very satisfied) and dividing this by the number of total respondants. The score is then multiplied by 100 to get a score in the range of 0-100.

As a worked example:

You have had 150x respondants, 30x score 4 or 5 and 120x score 1, 2 or 3.

Your CES score = (30/150) x 100 = 20

Customer Experience is the overall experience a customer will have of your brand or product as they interact with you, your company, and your products and services.

It is not just what a customer thinks about your brand or company, it is the whole experience from the moment a customer asks you an initial pre-sales question to the support they get if they have a problem.

The companies that put the customer at the heart of everything they do ensure that every team works together to help solve any customer problems and continuously look at ways to improve the interactions the customer has (perhaps improving the usability of your software, the way your sales team interact, or the language on invoices from the billing department).

In short, it is every interaction a customer might have with your organisation.

Customer Experience Design refers to the process of designing products and services that are based on customer insights and covers every point of interaction between your organisation and the customer (as mapped out in your customer journey map). This ensures that every interaction you have with your customer meets their expectations and follows your messaging. User Experience (UX) is one part of CXD and refers to the way a customer interacts with a product; CXD refers to the way a customer interacts with your organisation, its products and services.

All of the tools, plans and processes you have put into place as part of your strategy to analyse and act on feedback to improve customer experience (ie your customer experience management strategy).

Your Customer Experience Program might include a number of metrics you measure in different departments, with clear guidelines about how and what to say to customers who experience problems, and internal feedback systems that will help the whole company learn what is important for your customers (which will be very different from what is important to customers of other companies).

Customer Satisfaction Score is a way of measuring customer satisfaction as part of their interaction with your products or services.

The survey (like NPS and CES) normally asks one simple question and the customer can answer this using a scale. This is followed-up with a free-text question

The question is not as strictly worded as NPS and is normally similar to "How did you feel about the product you used today?" or "How satisfied were you that our service solved your problem?" or "How satisfied were you with BrandX?".

The customer rates this on a scale of 1-5 with 1 = not at all satisfied and 5 = very satisfied.

The follow-up is a free text question that asks "Why did you give this score?".

Like NPS, you can group the responses into promoters/satisfied (score 4 or 5), passive/neutral (score 3), detractors/dissatisfied (score 1 or 2).

Calculating your CSAT score:

CSAT has a score that can range from 0-100 and is calculated by dividing the total number of respondants who score 4 or 5 out of 5 (ie were very satisfied) and dividing this by the number of total respondants. The score is then multiplied by 100 to get a score in the range of 0-100.

As a worked example:

You have had 150x respondants, 30x score 4 or 5 and 120x score 1, 2 or 3.

Your CES score = (30/150) x 100 = 20

This term refers to a (visual) way of representing all of the interactions a customer has with your organisation. Read more about NPS surveys and the customer journey

This sounds very broad, and it is! Mapping a customer journey will include all of the points where a customer interacts with your organisation: from website, emails, telephone calls, letters, marketing, to sales visits, customer support and renewing business.

Each of these touch-points is an opportunity to delight your customer or, if there is little thought behind the process, the opposite is also true and customers can be easily disappointed with your organisation because of a poorly thought through interaction.

Each of the points in the journey map will involve an interaction between your organisation and the customer, but might not be face-to-face or even human-to-human. They could be automated emails, the text in an online shopping cart, the message when on hold in a telephone call, or advertising marketing messages.

This is a measure of the total commercial value of a customer whilst they continue to have a relationship and do business with your organisation.

Customer satisfaction refers to how happy your customers are with your organisation and its products and services. It is a shorthand that represents the way your organisation and its products and services match the expectations of your customers.

Unfortunately, because this is all about the way your organisation deals with individuals on a personal level, and it is almost impossible to gauge the different expectations of each of your customers, it is incredibly difficult to measure and calculate.

As a result, there are a couple of metrics that are used to represent many of the elements of customer satisfaction. These are Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and, in some cases, Customer Effort Score (CES). Both of these metrics rely on the customer completing a standard survey, so they bring a uniform way of gathering and interpreting feedback.

Customer sentiment is how and what a customer feels about your business or brand or services. Sometimes, this might be about a particular element (maybe they’ve just had a helpful call with the service team or a difficult email with the sales department) or it could be about your overall brand.

This is one part of the overall Customer Experience and can be focussed on one element or step in the process, or about a particular interaction, wheras Customer Experience considers the whole experience. For example, a customer might have had a very frustrating time trying to setup a direct debit online, but they still really like your brand and product.

The important consideration is would the customer recommend you or buy from you again? You can measure this by asking for feedback at specific points in the process, or by asking a customer satisfaction question (like NPS) and then analysing the free text comments.

This is very similar to Customer Experience, but focusses on the interactions the customer has across digital platforms. This means it's your website, your emails, the onboarding, online billing, help center, look and feel and design of your online products, and so on.

Net Promoter Score is one of the best established methodologies to gather and analyse customer experience through a survey. The results help measure customer loyalty as well as help provide actionable feedback to address specific problems in a customer's interactions with your organisation, products or services.

Net Promoter Score asks one simple question "How likely are you to recommend [company/product] to a friend or colleague?" that is rated on a scale of 0-10 (where 0=not at all likely to 10=very likely to recommend).

This simple score is then followed up with a second question asking the customer why they gave this score and allowing the customer to provide comments or detail.

The NPS methodology provides a score that ranges from -100 to +100 and starts by grouping the feedback into three groups according to the score a customer gives between 0-10.

   Promoters score either a 9 or 10

   Passives score either an 7 or 8

   Detractors score between 0-6

The final NPS score is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of detractors. For example, if out of 100 respondents, 40x are detractors, 10x are passives and 50x are promoters then the NPS score is 50%-40% = +10

This measure is normally expressed as a percentage and reports how many customers continue to to do business with you (ie you retain them as customers) each month.

Single View of Customer is a way of gathering in one database all the data and feedback about interactions between your organisation and a customer. This normally includes data, often both objective numeric and subjective text data (quantitive and qualitative), together with financial transactions, telephone calls, emails, letters, and visits.

This is normally within CRM (customer relationship management) software, but can be a specialist database. It is common for surveys and feedback platforms to gather information and then store this in a central SVOC database).

Voice of the Customer (VoC) refers to the theory and process of collecting feedback from csutomers. The feedback can include written and spoken comments, and could be from individual customers or focus groups. The channels and formats used to collect the feedback could include surveys, telephone calls, social media, forums, or review sites.

The comments gathered in your Voice of the Customer process is qualitative data (and will work alongside your quantative data such as usage and metrics).

Three of the most established ways of gathering VoC feedback are as part of survey methodologies such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys. For example, NPS combines both a single score (quantative data) with a follow-up free-text comment field to include Voice of the Customer (qualitative data).

This feedback or comment data (also called verbatims) can then be analysed to identify key phrases and sentiment to help support your improvements to customer experience.

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