What is the Customer Effort Score?

The Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric of how efficiently customers interact with your business – in using your product or service, obtaining necessary information about it, and interacting with your company personnel (such as the support team).

A KPI similar to NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), CES was developed in 2010 by the Corporate Executive Board when research indicated that customer ‘effort’ was a key indicator of customer retention.

There’s only one question used to determine CES – “Company X made it easy for me to handle my issue.” As with NPS and CSAT, CES can be measured on a Likert scale (often from 1-7), but polls and happy / unhappy emoticons can also be used to evaluate customer responses. The percentage of satisfied respondents is divided by the total number of responses, giving the CES.

CES is a relevant metric for your support team to monitor.

Why is the Customer Effort Score important for support teams?

Customer Effort Score is important, as research shows that customers demand easy, efficient experiences. In other words, customers want to go through as few steps as possible to reach a desired goal, whether this goal is obtaining support, finding information, or even using your product / service itself.

Indeed, low customer effort to obtain a desired good or service might be the most important metric of customer satisfaction – that’s how much consumers prize ease of access. So paying attention to your CES should be among the most important things your support team should do, and the findings from CES should take top priority in assessing your company’s relationship with its customers.

How to calculate Customer Effort Score

As with NPS and CSAT, you’ll divide the number of “satisfied” or “agree” responses–in this case, 5-7–by the total number of survey responses.

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Best practices for Customer Effort Score

The best practice for CES is to remain in regular contact with your customers. Do so by prompting your customers to participate in surveys, especially after they have purchased your product or had an encounter with your customer support department. Be aware of the reality of survey fatigue: while Likert scales will prompt more detailed responses, a simple set of happy / neutral / sad emoticon faces allows your customers to express their opinion in literally seconds.

Ultimately, however, the very best way to increase your CES is to do the work on the front end, to ensure your product / service and support team are streamlined and running as smoothly as possible for your customers.

Other KPIs similar to Customer Effort Score include:

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