In digital initiatives, many leaders track “lagging indicators” like user growth, user activity and NPS—without understanding the underlying contributors to those metrics. To reliably hit growth targets, leaders should also add leading indicators such as UX metrics that reflect workflow intuitiveness and ease of use to their KPI scorecard.
On top of the standard financial KPIs such as revenue and profit, many digital initiatives are measured by their Net Promoter Score (NPS), number of active customers, new sign-ups and similar metrics that are expected to reflect customer loyalty and engagement. But leaders are often ignorant of the power of user experience (UX) metrics.
What are UX metrics and why are they so important?
UX metrics numerically describe a product or service's usefulness, intuitiveness and ease of use. A low metric reflects that a product fails to meet customer expectations while a high metric indicates the opposite. As with other KPIs, UX metrics can be compared to industry benchmarks to let you know how your products and services stack up.
Most importantly, UX metrics serve as leading indicators to (and correlate significantly with) the metrics that leaders often hyper-focus on: NPS, customer adoption, revenue, etc. By stepping back and looking closely at UX metrics, we can understand why our NPS is in the gutter, or why our revenue is not where we’d like. Adding these UX metrics to our KPI scorecard gives us a wider scope of knowledge that lets us engineer solutions with incredible downstream effects, and solve problems before they impact our bottom line.
This explains why companies investing in UX reap significant financial rewards above those who don’t—with an astonishing average ROI of 10,000% on every dollar spent. In short, leaders can no longer afford to leave UX metrics off their KPI scorecard.
Tracking UX metrics through the product lifecycle
Besides predicting lagging KPIs, UX metrics can and should be tracked throughout the entire product or service lifecycle—from the conception of the idea, to prototyping, to alpha, beta and later releases, and even as the product or service goes live.
The value of measuring UX metrics throughout the product or service lifecycle is that low metrics will point to areas in the product that fail to meet customer expectations or needs. This allows the team to immediately address issues that underly the low UX scores. Further, if testing of the metrics is done on concepts, prototypes or even releases to limited audiences, then the team has a chance to fix issues that might be causing a low UX metric without jeopardizing other KPIs (i.e. without launching a sub-par product to the whole intended audience).
Experienced product and services teams know to continue to refine their solutions and pilot them until a certain UX metric target is reached. Only then are the solutions fully launched. And then, they yield desired lagging KPIs such as NPS, revenue and customer adoption.
The bottom line
So even if your main concern is revenue, sign-ups or NPS, you’ll absolutely want to keep your eye on UX metrics. And remember to track them frequently—as you develop and prepare to launch your product or service—to really optimize your KPIs.