What Is Customer Effort Score (CES)? Definition And Calculation

Kixie Team
What Is Customer Effort Score (CES)? Definition And Calculation | Telephones for business

In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, customer service has emerged as a critical differentiator for companies aiming to thrive and succeed. Customer service representatives and managers play a pivotal role in shaping the customer experience, and understanding the key metrics that drive customer satisfaction is essential for achieving service excellence. One such metric gaining significant attention is the Customer Effort Score (CES). 

In this article, we delve into the world of CES and explore how it empowers customer service representatives and managers to elevate their strategies, enhance customer interactions, and drive long-term loyalty. 

What is CES?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric used to measure the level of effort required by customers to interact with a company or complete a specific task or transaction. It is a customer satisfaction metric that focuses on evaluating the ease of the customer experience rather than overall satisfaction.

CES is based on the principle that reducing customer effort leads to higher levels of customer loyalty and satisfaction. The underlying idea is that customers who have to put in less effort to resolve an issue or achieve a goal are more likely to have a positive perception of the company and its products or services.

In theory and often in practice, CES is valuable because it helps companies identify pain points and areas where customers may be experiencing high levels of effort. By understanding these pain points, companies can take proactive measures to improve processes, streamline interactions, and enhance the overall customer experience.

customer service representative helping a customer

How is CES Measured?

CES is typically measured by asking customers a single question after a specific interaction or experience, using a rating scale. The question commonly used is: “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?” The customer is then asked to rate their effort on a scale, often ranging from “very low effort” to “very high effort.”

The responses are aggregated and analyzed to calculate the CES score, which can range from 1 to 7 or 1 to 5, depending on the scale used. A higher score indicates higher customer effort, while a lower score indicates lower effort. The score can be benchmarked against previous results or compared to industry standards to assess the company’s performance in terms of customer effort.

Let’s break down the steps to measure and calculate the customer effort score for a specific aspect of your business:

  1. Determine the interaction or experience: Identify a specific customer interaction or experience that you want to measure. For instance, it could be related to a customer’s experience in resolving a technical issue, reaching out to customer support, or implementing a new feature.
  2. Design the CES survey question: Craft a clear and concise question that asks customers to rate their effort. For example, you could use the following question: “On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 represents very low effort and 7 represents very high effort, how much effort did you personally have to put forth to resolve [specific interaction or experience]?”
  3. Collect CES ratings: After the customer has completed the interaction or experience, send them the CES survey question via email, an online survey, or another suitable channel. Ensure the survey is easy to access and complete. Collect the CES ratings from the customers who respond.
  4. Calculate the CES score: Calculate the average score of the collected ratings to obtain the CES score. For example, if you received ratings of 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, the average score would be (3+4+5+6+7) / 5 = 5.
  5. Analyze and interpret the CES score: Evaluate the CES score to understand the level of effort experienced by customers. A higher score indicates higher effort, while a lower score indicates lower effort. Benchmark the score against previous results or industry standards to assess your performance.
  6. Take action based on CES feedback: Use the CES feedback to identify pain points and areas of improvement. If the CES score is high, analyze the reasons behind it, such as complex processes, lack of resources, or unclear communication. Implement measures to reduce customer effort, enhance the customer experience, and address the identified pain points.

Remember, CES is most valuable when used as part of an ongoing customer experience improvement strategy. Regularly measuring CES and taking action based on the feedback received can help your company foster customer loyalty and satisfaction as part of a larger effort to improve customer service.

customer effort score and feedback

How To Use Insights Gained From CES

Once the Customer Effort Score (CES) has been calculated, customer service professionals can move beyond the numbers and delve into the valuable insights it offers. CES serves as a powerful tool to understand the specific pain points and challenges customers encounter during their interactions.

Armed with this knowledge, customer service representatives and managers can take targeted actions to streamline processes, reduce customer effort, and enhance the overall customer experience. By leveraging the insights gained from CES, they can proactively address customer needs, optimize training programs, and measure the impact of service improvements. Let’s explore in detail how customer service professionals can harness the power of CES to drive exceptional service and foster greater customer lifetime value.

  1. Identify pain points and bottlenecks: CES provides valuable feedback on the level of effort customers are experiencing during their interactions. By analyzing CES data, customer service professionals can identify specific pain points and bottlenecks in the customer journey. They can pinpoint areas where customers are facing challenges, encountering friction, or experiencing high effort. This knowledge allows them to focus their efforts on resolving these issues and improving the overall customer experience.
  2. Streamline processes and reduce customer effort: Armed with CES insights, customer service professionals can streamline processes and eliminate unnecessary complexities. By understanding the specific touchpoints or tasks that contribute to higher customer effort, they can take targeted actions to simplify these processes. This may involve optimizing self-service options, improving response times, enhancing website navigation, or providing clearer instructions. The goal is to minimize customer effort, making it easier for customers to get their problems resolved or achieve their desired outcomes.
  3. Enhance training and coaching programs: CES data can highlight areas where customer service representatives may need additional training or support. By analyzing customer feedback and identifying common pain points, managers can tailor training programs to address these specific areas. They can provide guidance on effective communication, problem-solving techniques, and empathy. Additionally, CES insights can serve as a basis for coaching sessions, allowing managers to provide individualized feedback and mentorship to their team members.
  4. Proactively address customer needs: CES not only helps identify current pain points but also enables customer service professionals to anticipate and proactively address future customer needs. By understanding the factors that contribute to higher customer effort, they can implement preventive measures. This may involve enhancing self-service options, providing comprehensive FAQs or knowledge bases, offering proactive notifications or alerts, or anticipating common customer issues. Being proactive in addressing customer needs reduces effort and demonstrates a commitment to exceptional service.
  5. Measure the impact of service improvements: CES serves as a quantitative measure of customer effort. By regularly measuring CES before and after implementing service improvements, customer service professionals can assess the effectiveness of their initiatives. They can track how changes in processes, training programs, or customer support tools impact customer effort. This data-driven approach allows them to monitor progress, make data-backed decisions, and avoid customer support pitfalls.

In Conclusion

Customer Effort Score (CES) has emerged as a valuable metric for customer service professionals and managers seeking to elevate their strategies and deliver exceptional service. CES provides actionable insights into the level of effort customers experience during their interactions, enabling businesses to identify pain points, streamline processes, and reduce customer effort. By leveraging CES, organizations can proactively address customer needs, optimize training programs, and continuously measure the impact of service improvements. 

With CES as a guiding metric, customer service professionals have the opportunity to drive customer loyalty, satisfaction, and ultimately set their businesses apart in today’s competitive landscape. By embracing CES and its insights, companies can cultivate an exceptional customer experience that leaves a lasting positive impression on their customers.