Customer Effort Score (CES) Definition and Calculation

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Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer effort score definition

Businesses use the Customer Effort Score (CES) number to gauge how much effort and time customers put into interacting with them. You might use it to gauge how simple your product or service is for customers or how quickly and effectively customer care representatives can address their concerns. This score gives you a precise idea of the amount of work needed to interact with your business. It enables you to spot areas where the overall customer experience can improve.

What Is a Customer Effort Score?

If a customer has to browse through pages of knowledge base articles to find the one they need, they will put in a lot of work; however, if they call a service rep and get their refund processed instantly, they will put in minimal effort.

It would help if you understood the value of a customer to your company.

“There is only one person in charge, and the person is the customer. And by spending his money elsewhere, he may fire everyone in the organization, from the chairman on down.”

There’s a lot of evidence that the simplicity with which a consumer can complete a task is a more significant measure of loyalty than merely assessing customer happiness.

In 2010, CEB researchers discovered that minimizing the amount of work required for clients to solve their problems is a better predictor of customer loyalty than delight.

Companies can reduce customer service expenses and attrition rates by acting on this insight and reducing hurdles for the consumer.

Furthermore, loyalty is a fundamental basis of successful enterprises in an increasingly competitive environment.

Customer success teams love CES for this reason. Instead of asking how satisfied the consumer is, you ask them to rate the ease with which they could complete their task.

Customer Effort Score vs. Net Promoter Score

Advocates of two necessary customer experience measures are Net promoter score vs. Customer effort score. Regarding such a dispute, some of the most common queries are: which metric is better, are they mutually incompatible, or can they operate together?

Now that we’ve covered the customer effort score, let’s look at the net promoter score and how they differ.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer experience metric created by Fred Reichheld to assess client loyalty.

The consumers are promoters, passives, and detractors based on their scores.

The difference:

NPS is a valuable metric for determining whether or not your consumers would suggest your product or service to their friends and colleagues. 

As a result, you’ll have a better understanding of client loyalty and can follow up with detractors and convert them to promoters.

On the other hand, CES is a valuable indicator for determining the level of customer service your firm provides and striving to provide an uncomplicated experience based on the results.

An organization that relies on customer service aims to decrease or eliminate consumer efforts in particular difficulties. They offer sufficient help, ensuring that they have resolved customer problems.

While in Net Promoter Score, customers are more likely to tell their friends and colleagues about their negative experiences with a company. 

Asking the NPS question will reveal whether they are more inclined to share good or negative opinions about the organization with their friends and relatives.

A customer effort score is to assess areas for improvement in customer service.

On the other hand, NPS assesses customer satisfaction at every stage of the customer journey across all communication channels.

NPS is excellent for displaying your overall customer satisfaction, whereas CES demonstrates how well you handle customer complaints.

We return to the discussion of whether it is superior after delving into the specifics of NPS and CES. The influence on the answer is by the purpose of your customer feedback survey.

The dispute has no clear winner between a high customer effort score and a high net promoter score. One thing is sure: there is an intertwining between the two measurements.

Why Is a Customer Effort Score Important?

Customers want their concerns fixed as soon as possible and conveniently. Customers’ effort is measured by CES so that you may eliminate friction for a more seamless experience.

Companies should emphasize rapidly and successfully addressing issues rather than “exceeding expectations” and “delighting customers.”

A bad customer service experience comes at a significant price. You may lose not only a return customer, but you may also end up with bad reviews all over the internet. Early detection of concerns through CES surveys allows for proactive reputation management.

It aids your company in improving the most problematic aspects of your present customer journey, improving the entire customer experience. 

A better customer experience leads to more committed long-term customers, boosting your company’s bottom line.

CES highlights any issues that may result in a support ticket, easing the burden on the customer service personnel. 

The polls also show areas where better training and process improvements could speed up resolution and reduce the number of expensive repeat encounters.

Pros and Cons of Customer Effort Score

Customer Effort Score Benefits

  • A customer effort score allows you to concentrate on removing customer roadblocks by contacting customers who have provided critical feedback.
  • Low effort scores link to a high repurchase rate.
  • It offers value to your company’s customer experience and service program in the short and long term.
  • According to research, CES can tell you how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to others and how they would speak about it. Essentially, 81 percent of customers who indicated they put forth a lot of effort when engaging with a business stated they meant to criticize the company.

As a result, consumers who are satisfied with the minimal work required of them are likely to promote or at the very least talk favorably of the brand.

Customer Effort Score Drawbacks

  • There is no context for the whole customer experience.
  • This grading mechanism is just applicable to service, not your entire company.
  • There is no consideration of your cost, rivals, and product quality.
  • Another worth noting is that CES surveys do not allow customers to segment by kind. While Customer Effort Score surveys effectively forecast purchase intent, they confine to a small group of consumers who, for example, communicate with your support team or use your self-service alternatives.

Because CES is transactional, they are limited to specific transactions and thus a small number of users.

How To Calculate Customer Effort Score?

The formula for Customer Effort Score:

Customer Effort Score = Sum of all Customer Effort Scores ÷ Total number of respondents.

Assume you received 50 survey responses with a total value of 200. Here’s how you’d figure up your CES score: 200 ÷ 50 equals a CES score of 4.

What Are the Customer Effort Score Best Practices?

We live in a fast-paced, digitally dependent society with a short attention span. If your firm does not offer immediate benefits, you will lose clients. Now is the time to start calculating your CES.

You should send out CES surveys after encounters or specific touchpoints, such as product purchases or a customer support interaction.

Simply asking a consumer how easy it was to handle their issue when interacting with your organization can suggest whether or not they will return as a customer.

Because mobile devices account for more than half of all online activity, your survey must be mobile-friendly.

Remove any extraneous content, such as logos, unnecessary language, and external links, and place the positive alternatives at the top of the page, followed by the wrong options.

You should limit the survey to one or two questions and avoid using any leading questions.


What is a good CES score?

According to a CEB study, increasing a customer’s CES score from 1 to 5 (on a 7-point scale) improved loyalty by 22%. Increasing their CES score from 5 to 7 only resulted in a 2% boost in allegiance. Individual customer effort scores of 5 or above on a scale of 1 to 7 would be a good aim.

Give an example of a customer effort score?

Your CES would be 65 if 65 clients out of 100 gave you a 5, 6, or 7 on a 7-point scale.

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