How Do I Choose the Right Metric?

Right Metric

How Do I Choose
the Right Metric?

key takeaway

Determining which primary metric should be used in a given survey depends on the type of feedback being collected, relational or transactional.

Best Practice

For feedback on the overall customer relationship, Net Promoter Score (NPS), is the best practice primary metric. It is the globally recognized, time tested measurement of loyalty with proven links to behavior and financials.

NPS is determined based on responses to the Likelihood to Recommend question which must be displayed on an 11-point, 0 – 10 scale with 0 on the left to eliminate a positive bias.

The Likelihood to Recommend question reads as follows:

“How likely is it that you would recommend to a <friend/family member/colleague>?”

In cases where a “real” likelihood to recommend is not applicable as customers are not in a position to recommend or the brand is not visible, a hypothetical scenario can be woven into the Likelihood to Recommend question. For example, government employees may be prohibited from recommending vendors, so the question could read “If policy allowed, how likely is it that you would recommend to a <friend/family member/colleague>?”

While these principles for relational feedback hold true in a B2B scenario, there may be exceptions in a B2C scenario. For instance, when the transaction itself is the extent of the “relationship” with the brand, either Overall Satisfaction (OSAT) or Customer Effort Scores (CES) may be used just as it would be for transactional feedback collection as outlined below.

For transactional feedback collection, measuring the experience of a particular interaction, the best practice primary metrics are Overall Satisfaction (OSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES).

The nature of the touchpoint interaction determines which is appropriate. OSAT is a more all-encompassing measure than effort and will fit a wider range of interactions than CES. CES is best at identifying process inefficiencies and is most often used in a call center/support center environment. We recommend OSAT to be on either a 7-point or 5-point scale. CES, developed by CEB, the Corporate Executive Boards is on a 7-point scale.

The OSAT question reads as follows:

“Overall, how satisfied were you with you recent < specific interaction including date when possible> experience?”

The CES question reads as follows:

“To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: made it easy for me to handle my issue.”

Using NPS to measure a specific transactional experience or event, even when adjusting the Likelihood to Recommend question specifically to the experience, has proven confusing to organizations as they have trouble distinguishing relational NPS with transactional NPS. For this reason, we do not recommend use of the Likelihood to Recommend question or the Net Promoter Score in transactional data collection.

go beyond basic nps metrics and scales

Foundational practices related to NPS metrics look primarily at data you get when seek direct feedback from customers. It’s limited by response rates – a problem that only gets worse over time – and response bias. Taking metrics to the next level means transforming robust, always-on streams of operational data into calibrated, AI-created scores, so that you have a personalized Net Promoter Score for every customer based on their ongoing interactions with your company. To get there, download our guide, take our comprehensive training course, or read about the future of NPS.


The Complete Guide to NPS Basics and Beyond


Leading an Outcome- Oriented
CX Program


The New NPS


The Complete Guide to NPS Basics and Beyond


Leading an Outcome- Oriented
CX Program


The New NPS Manifesto


OCX Cognition delivers the future of NPS. We ensure customer experience success by combining technology and data science with programmatic consulting. In our Insights section, we present a comprehensive and evolving collection of resources based on our research and expertise, collected for CX leaders committed to delivering business outcomes.