One Number to Assess Your Digital Customer Experience

Don Peppers  |  October 17, 2018

Don Peppers  |  October 17, 2018


In a previous article I suggested that when you try to evaluate the quality of your customer experience, you shouldn’t rely on subjective voice-of-customer (VOC) feedback all by itself, whether you use NPS (Net Promoter Score) or some other survey. Because in addition to the subjective opinions of customers, you need objective, observational metrics – metrics that are based on actual things that happen when customers are dealing with you.

You can’t treat customers right simply by listening to them. You also have to see what’s actually happening.

In evaluating a digital experience, objective data would include things like mouse track patterns, page-loading times, form completion rates, and so forth – the kind of metrics that Decibel, a company I’ve been working with recently, makes available to its clients. 

Tracking objective data on your customer’s digital experience allows you to discover things that would likely never be discovered through VOC feedback alone.

One of Decibel’s clients told me, for instance, that they had been illustrating what credit cards they would accept by showing pictures of them on their order page. The images themselves weren’t hot links, but they saw that sales were being lost because a number of users were trying to click on the pictures, thinking that their credit card would come up, and some users simply left the order page in frustration!

The client said they were able to correct the problem immediately by simply eliminating the images altogether, but it’s not likely they would ever have discovered it was an issue by relying solely on their VOC surveys.

One of Decibel’s clients is TUI (formerly Thomson), the world’s largest tourism company, with €18 billion in revenue worldwide. Mark Johnson, head of TUI analytics in the UK, told me that TUI uses Decibel to make changes in the customer journey. “Experimentation is at the heart of our digital change and requires detailed analysis between variations. Decibel is fundamental to us understanding customer behavior and refining these tests.”

“Experimentation is at the heart of our digital change and requires detailed analysis between variations. Decibel is fundamental to us understanding customer behavior and refining these tests.” - Mark Johnson, Head of Analytics at TUI

And, according to Johnson, “the most exciting thing I’ve seen in the last several years in web analytics” is what Decibel just released this year: the “Digital Experience Score,” or DXS®. A single, easy-to-track number that incorporates objective data on several different aspects of the digital experience, DXS® will allow companies to spot opportunities to improve their digital experience immediately, providing a kind of real-time, all-encompassing quality monitoring.

More specifically, the Digital Experience Score is based on five distinct components known as experience pillars, each of which can be directly observed with Decibel’s technology:

  • Frustration. A customer’s level of emotional frustration can often be detected directly from their online behavior – multi-clicks, erratic scrolling, or the “bird’s nest” mouse track patterns I discussed in my previous article, for instance.
  • Engagement. When a customer shows careful reading, or depth of scrolling through a site, or remains active for a longer time, it indicates the user is genuinely engaged with the content.
  • Technical. In addition to simple mistakes or omissions, an online session might be plagued by JavaScript errors, poor responsiveness, slow page loading or other problems. (Slow loading pages, according to Decibel’s data, generate 72% more bounces and 68% fewer pages read!)
  • Navigation. If a customer jumps back and forth between pages, or repeatedly resorts to text searches, or uses footer links too much, then the website’s navigation features need to be improved.
  • Form completion. Does a user have to start all over again every time they generate a form error, for instance? And how quickly can a form be completed?


TUI’s Johnson said DXS® is an important addition to the repertoire of objective quality data he needs, because TUI has 15 to 20 million sessions per month, but they only get a few thousand VOC survey responses per month. DXS®, however, is based on a 100% capture of the digital experience. And note that by assessing the overall digital experience in this way, a company no longer needs to rely solely on customers taking the time to complete a survey or to rate their experiences.

The point is, if you really want to eliminate the friction in your digital customer experience, then you ought to be tracking more than a simple NPS number or CSAT score. You should be tracking what’s actually happening


I hope you found this article useful. If so, you can learn more by joining Decibel’s CEO Ben Harris and me for a free webinar on Tuesday, October 23, at 11:00 AM Eastern, “Measuring the Digital Customer Experience, Objectively.” Register here now, so that even if you aren’t free at that time you can access the playback. 

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Don Peppers

Written on October 17, 2018 by:

Don Peppers

Recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on customer-focused business strategies, Don Peppers is a best-selling author, blogger, keynote speaker, and co-founder of the management consulting firm, Peppers & Rogers Group.


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