Customer Effort Score

Today’s business landscape revolves around providing exceptional Customer Experience (CX). It’s a critical ingredient for long term sustainable success and a proven way to grow.

Of course, perceived CX is objective and difficult to measure. However, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) are three popular customer satisfaction metrics that can help you gauge and measure the level of CX you provide. What gets measured, gets managed.

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

CX is fundamentally the sum of the experiences had at all the individual touchpoints that a customer interacts through with the company. In today’s world, this includes; online, social media, in-person, over-a-call, live chat, emails, and much more. There are endless possibilities to interact with your potential and existing clients, and we must be measuring and monitoring the CX we are delivering at each.

This also means we have multiple opportunities to delight our customers and maximise their satisfaction with our company. Since CX is perceived as a whole experience, focusing on all touchpoints and enhancing them is crucial. You cannot ignore a single touchpoint. 

Why measure CX?

In order to sustainably grow as a business, you have to attract and retain your customers. As we know, it costs substantially more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. CX measurement helps you achieve this goal in a predictable and measurable manner. 

A CX score gives you a direct indication of your current progress in satisfying customers – do they leave happy or not so much? The first step to improving anything is to measure before then evaluating. You need to know where you stand currently before we are in a position to take actionable, systematic steps to improve

Once you know what your customers like or dislike about your current process, you will be able to serve them better and satisfy them even more.  

Leaving customers thrilled with their experience with you is a sure-fire way to fend off competitors. Not all customers are created equally – they all have different expectations, wants and needs. So it takes time to understand and retain your loyal customers, but it is worth it. Loyal customers are less likely to churn to a competitor and spend more on average – nice!

In fact, 20% of your most loyal customers will make up 80% of your profits. You will sustainably grow your market share by simply engendering a loyal client base.

Also, since measuring CX involves customer participation, it helps to engage your customers and reminds them that they are important. It also instils in them the idea that you genuinely care about their experience, which further develops feelings of trust and loyalty among them. There is nothing worse for a customer than to feel like another name on a spreadsheet.

How to measure Customer Experience?

Customer Experience measurement takes a layered approach which includes customer feedback in the form of surveys and data collection. 

Feedback can be both, qualitative as well as quantitative. Both have their pros and cons but more on that later. 

Quantitative CX measurement includes Customer Satisfaction Metrics like NPS, CSAT, and CES. These three are the most common methods of evaluating CX. All three methods involve one quick question in which customers have to rate their experience on the provided scale.

Customer Effort Score

These require minimal effort from customers but provides you with a quick measure of where you stand.

Here, we will be discussing the Customer Effort Score (CES) in detail. 

What is the Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Customer Effort Score (CES) calculates the effort your consumers have to put in while interacting with your brand. This interaction can be of any kind physical as well as virtual. 

It is a score on a numerical scale, in most cases of 1-5. It is used to identify and then improve products, services, or areas that may frustrate customers and cause them to churn away. 

CES is an excellent way to know how seamless your CX is. Good CES numbers indicate that you are in the right direction and your customers have to put in minimal effort to complete a specific action. 

Why CES matters?


Customer Effort Score surveys help identify loopholes in your current system, which may annoy customers. You can remove barriers and solve problems only when you know what your customer pain points are. 

By reducing customer effort, you can expect high-quality interactions with your customers. This way, you may exceed their satisfaction levels and garner loyalty and trust among them. 

CES has the potential to boost customer loyalty and build brand advocates. When you simplify your processes and systems, your customers find it easy to engage with you, do business with you, and eventually recommend you to others. Dealing with your company should be a joy and pleasure. Customers should not be dreading having to interact with you. 

When you are delivering such seamless, enjoyable experiences, your loyal customers will be keen to spread the word. Positive word-of-mouth marketing has numerous benefits. Above all, it does not cost you a fortune to acquire new customers, as in the case of paid advertising.

How to Measure CES?

Right – so how do we measure it?

CES is measured with one question that is related to customer action. For instance, a company giving tutorials may ask its customers regarding the ease of their sign up process.

In some cases, you may also ask customers to give suggestions that would give you actionable insights for improvement. This would be in the qualitative follow up question. 

CES = sum of all scores / total number of responses

You can calculate your CES using the simple formula above. The scores, of course, depend on what scale you have chosen. 

What is a good Customer Effort Score (CES)? 

A good CES is one that indicates minimum customer effort is needed to accomplish a task. 

Say, you choose 1 to represent very less effort, then a lower score in CES is preferred. However, if you select 1 to express a very high effort, then higher CES will mean less effort was needed, and this delivered a better user experience. 

How to best analyse and act on the feedback you gather?

So you’ve gathered some Customer Effort Scores, now what’s next?

CES proves to be a powerful tool when it comes to specifying problems and loopholes. Companies use CES to understand where their product or service is meeting expectations and where it lacks in doing so. 

CES results should be analysed to make significant improvements in product quality, design, customer support and everything else that is directly related to your customers. 

In this super-competitive marketplace, customers have to be pampered to get instant gratification. Tracking CES helps you achieve your goal of fostering user happiness and retention. 

The millennial generation is as lazy as you can think it can be. They need things done quickly, and they don’t have the patience to wait for something. They value experience over the product. That’s the very reason most of them prefer online shopping over buying in-stores.

In such a wake, it’s crucial to optimise all such processes that require more customer effort. The responses help you identify such processes that need your attention and immediate improvement.

From the results you get, identify the problematic areas and make a list. Start by correcting small issues and finally tackle the more complex ones. Also, reach out to those customers who faced problems to let them know you acted on their feedback and invite them to experience the change for better!

3 Tips to do CES the right way

1. Send the survey right away

Since CES is calculated about a specific touchpoint, sending out the survey just after or online with that particular interaction will yield rewarding scores. Sending a follow-up email or a text is also a good practice to adopt. 

Analyse the score and look for trends. What are most customers complaining about? What can be done to rectify the issue? Is it all customers or just a particular customer segment? Does it happen every time or occasionally? What could be the possible reasons? Think about all potential questions and their answers to understand the issue and work to prevent it from happening. 

3. Engage with customers!

Engage with customers who scored you low. Apologise to them for their bad experience. Make up for it in some way if you can. Send an appreciative message to customers who scored you well. Encourage them to buy from you again and offer them perks to refer you to others! More on that here.

All You Need to Know About Customer Effort Score (CES) 1
Digital CX Pyramid

3 Quick Tips to Reduce Customer Effort

1. Offer self-service 

It’s evident how in the past few years, trends changed from human-operated counters to automated kiosks, cheque payments to mobile banking and over-the-call bookings to in-app real-time bookings. This is because modern times call for people to do most of their work without seeking help from others. If you genuinely want to reduce customer effort, provide ways in which customers can self-serve. Provide all possible resources online like FAQ, user manuals, etc. Your customers do not want to wait for 24hrs for your team to respond to their support request. 

2. Reduce Employee Effort

Employees who are directly involved in customer interaction have to remain attentive at all times. Their attitude and work ethic matters a lot when it comes to customer service. It can be the difference between a 20 minute super friendly response or a 24hr robotic unhelpful response. They must never get over-burdened. The more their mind is focused on hitting impossible support ticket quotas, the less they will be able to serve the customers like actual human beings. 


3. Be Fast (but not furious)

Efficiency and speed are vital to lowering customer effort. Having to wait on a resolution from support personnel is more stressful than having to search a knowledge base in the same amount of time. Customers want to feel like progress is being made, so always keep them in the loop.

How Can GroHawk Help?

Automated customer feedback systems like GroHawk help you collect customer feedback and CES in real-time. You can implement these surveys to triggers after any meaningful interaction your customer has with your brand. GroHawk provides you with practical customer insights for you to fire up your CX! 

Book a live demo here and see what wonders GroHawk holds for your business. 

What is CES?

CES stands for Customer Effort Score. It’s a satisfaction metric to gauge effort your customers have to exert while completing an interaction with the brand. The goal is to keep the score to a minimum indicating lowest effort required on the consumer end.

How is CES calculated?

The CES is calculated by dividing the sum of all individual customer effort scores by the total number of respondents. The final score is in a range of 1 to 5 and the lower the score, the better.

Why should I consider CES?

CES is an excellent tool to gauge customer effort. The goal is to minimize customer effort as much as possible in order to achieve higher customer satisfaction levels. Once you calculate the CES, you’ll know what things need immediate attention and improvement.

Are CES and NPS the same?

No, CES gauges customer effort while NPS calculates the likelihood of new and repeat business. Both CES and NPS are similar in a way that both indicate customer satisfaction level.

How to reduce customer effort?

First, measure the Customer Effort Score (CES). Then analyze the pattern of issues and assess where improvements can be made. For example, if the problem arises in payment procedures, then integrate more efficient payment methods and make the process smoother.

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