Beyond CSAT and NPS: Quality Metrics for Strategic C-Level Insights

Brijesh Deb
7 min readMay 17, 2024

C-suite executives continually seek holistic and impactful ways to gauge the success of their software and technology investments. While Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) have traditionally served as primary indicators of customer sentiment and product acceptance, they offer a limited view of the multifaceted nature of software quality and its broad implications. As businesses increasingly rely on digital solutions to drive growth and operational efficiency, the need for more comprehensive quality metrics becomes paramount. This article explores five unique and original quality metrics that provide a deeper, actionable understanding of software quality and its direct impact on business performance.

1. Customer Impact Score (CIS)

Software glitches bug customers. Customer Impact Scores helps us understand how much our software glitches are bugging you. It’s not just about happy or not happy, but how often and how badly these issues mess with your workflow. By focusing on the biggest pain points, we can fix the stuff that matters most to you.

Understanding CIS: The Customer Impact Score quantifies the severity and frequency of software issues from the customer’s perspective, offering a nuanced view of product quality.

Quality Impact: CIS shifts the focus towards a user-centric development philosophy, ensuring that software improvements prioritize customer experience.

Business Relevance: A direct link to customer satisfaction and retention, CIS helps in identifying areas that significantly impact the user experience and, consequently, the company’s bottom line.


Example: If a critical bug affecting check-out processes occurs 10 times in a month, with a severity rating of 5, and a minor display issue occurs 20 times with a severity rating of 2, the CIS would be:

2. Release Health Index (RHI)

Release Health Index is basically a report card for our new software updates. Before we unleash it on the world, we check for bugs, critical issues, and any hiccups that might cause problems. A good report card means a smooth launch, so you don’t have to deal with buggy software.

Understanding RHI: This composite score evaluates the overall quality of a software release, incorporating metrics like defect density and critical bug count.

Quality Impact: RHI encourages comprehensive quality assurance practices, providing a holistic assessment of release readiness.

Business Relevance: It informs the C-suite of the potential risks associated with new updates, aligning software deployment with strategic business objectives.


Example: For a release with 50 features, where there are 10 weighted defects, 2 critical bugs, and 1 failed deployment:

3. Quality Cost Ratio (QCR)

This is like a financial report card for our software quality. We add up the costs of preventing problems (testing, improvements) and the costs of fixing problems (bugs you find, crashes). The goal is to spend more on preventing issues upfront, so you experience less frustration and we save money in the long run.

Understanding QCR: This ratio compares the cost of ensuring quality against the costs incurred from poor quality, emphasizing financial efficiency in quality investments.

Quality Impact: QCR underlines the importance of proactive quality measures over reactive fixes.

Business Relevance: It highlights the balance between investing in quality and the implications of quality failures, providing insights into cost-effective quality strategies.


Example: If a company spends $200,000 on prevention and appraisal but incurs $100,000 in failures:

4. Feature Adoption and Satisfaction (FAS)

We add new features all the time, but are they any good? FAS helps us understand if you’re actually using these features and if they’re making your life easier. If not, it’s back to the drawing board to make sure our new features hit the mark.

Understanding FAS: This metric measures the rate at which users adopt new features and their satisfaction levels, linking feature development directly to user engagement.

Quality Impact: FAS drives alignment between feature development and user expectations, enhancing overall software quality.

Business Relevance: High FAS scores indicate successful feature implementation and positive user reception, crucial for user retention and product growth.


Example: If 800 out of 1000 users engage with a new feature, with an average satisfaction score of 4.5:

5. Operational Efficiency Gain (OEG)

Operational Efficiency Gain is all about how our software improvements help you get more done. Think of it like a time-saving superpower. We measure things like increased productivity, less downtime, and cost savings to see how much smoother things run thanks to our software updates.

Understanding OEG: Quantifies the impact of software improvements on operational efficiency, highlighting the real-world effectiveness of software development.

Quality Impact: Focuses on the tangible benefits of software quality improvements in operational contexts.

Business Relevance: Demonstrates software quality’s role in driving operational performance and cost savings, aligning technology investments with business efficiency goals.


Example: If operational efficiency improves from 70% to 85% after a software update:

To determine if or when the metrics make sense in your context, you should consider the following guidelines:

  1. Establish Clear Objectives:

Define what success looks like for each metric. Ensure that each metric aligns with your organization’s strategic goals.

2. Set Benchmarks and Targets:

Internal Benchmarks: Use historical data from your organization to set benchmarks. Look at past performance to determine reasonable targets.

External Benchmarks: Use industry standards or competitor data to set external benchmarks. This helps to understand where your organization stands in the market.

3. Contextual Relevance:

Ensure that each metric is relevant to the context in which it is used. For example, a metric that measures customer churn rates would be more relevant for subscription-based services.

4. Regular Monitoring and Reporting:

Implement a regular monitoring and reporting system. This helps track the metrics over time and provides insight into trends and patterns.

Dashboards: Use dashboards to visualize metrics in real-time. This aids in quick decision-making and spotting anomalies.

5. Qualitative Insights:

Supplement quantitative metrics with qualitative insights. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews to understand the underlying factors affecting the metrics.

Customer Feedback: Gather feedback directly from customers to understand their experiences and perceptions.

6. Comparative Analysis:

Year-over-Year Comparison: Compare metrics over multiple years to see long-term trends and improvements.

Peer Comparison: Compare metrics against similar companies or business units to gauge relative performance.

7. Correlation with Business Outcomes:

Analyze how each metric correlates with key business outcomes such as revenue growth, profitability, or customer retention. This ensures the metrics are driving the desired results.

8. Adjustments for External Factors:

Account for external factors that may influence the metrics, such as economic conditions, regulatory changes, or market trends. Adjust targets accordingly.

9. Actionable Insights:

Ensure metrics provide actionable insights. If a metric indicates an issue, there should be a clear course of action to address it.

10. Review and Revise:

Regularly review the relevance and effectiveness of each metric. Update them as necessary to reflect changes in business strategy or market conditions.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that the numbers from your quality metrics are meaningful and actionable, providing strategic insights that align with your organization’s goals and context.

Final words

As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of digital transformation, the adoption of comprehensive quality metrics like CIS, RHI, QCR, FAS, and OEG provides C-suite executives with a multidimensional view of software quality. These metrics not only highlight the direct impact of software quality on customer satisfaction and operational efficiency but also guide strategic decisions that align technological excellence with business objectives. Moving beyond traditional metrics like CSAT and NPS, these innovative indicators offer a more nuanced understanding of quality, ensuring that software development efforts translate into tangible business value.



Brijesh Deb

In God we trust, everything else I Test! Views expressed here are personal.