CUSTOMER EFFORT SCORE: Definition, Calculation, How to Improve & Best Practices

Customer effort score
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The Customer Effort Score (CES) assists your company in measuring customer loyalty and discomfort. It provides quantifiable data to assist you in predicting customer behavior, fighting churn, and increasing customer lifetime value (CLTV). In this article, we’ll be telling you the meaning of customer effort score, how to improve it, calculation, and best practices, and also we will describe a customer effort score survey.

Customer Effort Score

Customer effort score (CES) is a service metric that evaluates the amount of work expended by customers during their interactions with your company. These interactions may involve things like how difficult it is to make use of your service or product or how simple it is for them to address a problem with your customer service representatives. A customer would have to put in a lot of work to look through pages of knowledge base articles to find the one they need, but they wouldn’t have to do much work if they just called a service person and got their refund right away.

There is substantial evidence that the simplicity of a given experience is sometimes a more accurate indicator of consumer loyalty than measuring customer satisfaction alone. Also, loyalty is a real cornerstone of great businesses in a world where competition is growing.

This is why customer success teams love CES. Instead of asking the customer how satisfied they are, you ask them to rate the convenience of their experience. 

Customer Effort Score Survey

The Customer Effort Score (CES) survey is a tool that allows you to measure your CES. It is a type of customer satisfaction survey based on a single purchase. It means that it is used after certain contacts with the company, at certain points along the customer journey. A customer effort score survey is a brief questionnaire that is sent to current customers to find out how easy or hard the task at hand was for them to do.

  • In a CES survey, you could start by asking specific questions about the effort itself:
  • Were you able to reach our team via your preferred method?
  • Was the service easily accessible?
  • What was the most challenging or time-intensive aspect of this experience?
  • What contributed to the ease or difficulty of this experience?
  • Were you able to readily locate the information you sought on our website or app?
  • Were the instructions that you received comprehensible and executable?
  • Were your expectations met by the amount of effort invested in this matter?

Next, Consider Alternatives or Inquire About Yet-To-Be-Released Services:

  • Would you rather have ________? (For example, self-service through knowledge content, real-time chat with us, texting our team, video-based assistance, and so on.)
  • What is an acceptable response time for your problem?
  • What could we have done differently to raise your score by one point?
  • What product or service would have made your experience significantly better?

How do you simplify the procedure for those who are your customers? These questions can lead you to a change in UX, UI, or process, or they can help you add a new channel or more pieces to your knowledge base. Reduce friction by getting a better idea of where the points of contact are.

Conclude Your Customer Effort Score Survey

Finally, you can ask some questions in each survey to round out the response and allow customers to give feedback without your guidance. Although these questions are frequently ignored or answered with “nothing to add,” they are a treasure trove of information when they are used.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
  • Are there any specific comments you’d like to make to the service provider?
  • How would you rate us in all of your interactions with us?

Each of these lengthy response questions allows the respondent to vent, applaud, criticize, or express their worries without being forced to choose a single answer or answer a question that is irrelevant to their experience.

How to Improve Customer Effort Score

As a measure of customer satisfaction, CES is built on the idea that lowering customer resistance is more important than giving them great service. This theory suggests that making essential processes as simple as feasible and increasing the customer effort score may improve customer retention and decrease customer churn.

#1. Website Purchasing Process

Online sales have grown quickly over the last ten years. They now make up about 12% of all retail sales and are expected to keep going up. Due to the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores are closing or reducing their hours, so more businesses than ever are opening their doors online. A complex online shopping experience is a common source of low customer effort scores. When it comes to Internet shopping, these methods are ways to improve the customer effort score.

#2. Test Your Purchasing Process

Test the buying process before starting your online store and occasionally afterward. Use mobile and desktop devices, browsers, and plugins like adblockers. Tests may reveal issues with your online shopping process before customers encounter them.

#3. Test CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA, which blocks bots and spam, can frustrate users. It can potentially make purchases inaccessible if improperly designed. CAPTCHA can help your site, but test it first. Consider alternatives if customer effort scores indicate CAPTCHA is a problem.

#4. Provide Multiple Payment Types

Some customers prefer PayPal or Stripe to submit their credit card information on certain platforms. Customers may struggle with your online store’s restricted payment options. Add payment methods.

#5. Make Website Mobile-Friendly

Smartphone and tablet shoppers are increasing. Customers will be frustrated if your site isn’t mobile-friendly. Improve your customer effort score by using responsive website templates.

#6. Monitor Time-Outs

Put the timer in a prominent location so that customers can easily see how much time they have left.

Customer Service Experience

Customers approach service representatives with queries and complaints. If no one is present to assist customers, things might rapidly get challenging and drive them away. Improving customer service access and the customer service experience will increase your customer effort score rapidly.

#1. Provide a Contact Number

Customers will want to speak with you immediately if they have a pressing issue or query. Give them a phone number for your office and a staff member who knows what to do when they call. Show when the phone number is active so customers know when to call.

#2. Provide Online Chat

If a customer is having trouble buying online, an online chat is a simple and convenient way to get answers. Like a phone number, indicate when it’s manned. A chatbot could answer frequent queries or route clients to the right FAQ section. Ensure customers don’t anticipate a real person if you use a chatbot.

#3. Provide Customer Service Email Address

Emailing customer service is a quick way to get answers to questions and problems fixed. Please provide your email address and the information needed to remedy the issue. This way, customers can fix their problems while doing other activities. This can significantly enhance your customer effort score.

In-Store Experience

If your brick-and-mortar business generates the majority of your sales, this is the ideal place to concentrate and the best approach to improving your CES. Making your store easy to navigate and easy to get to, and making the check-out process as easy as possible, will help to lower barriers and increase customer trust.

#1. Organize Items Intuitively

If a customer can’t find what they’re looking for in a store, it can be hard for them to shop there. Use more surveys or ask customers whether you can arrange the products in a more logical manner.

#2. Give Staff the Tools to Solve Problems

The staff knows how to help customers with their problems and questions. But the staff can’t tell you anything they don’t know. Staff can solve problems and improve their customer effort score with the help of thorough training and easy-to-find guides. Also, give your employees the power to solve problems or make things right, such as by giving discounts or making returns easy.

#3. Make Purchasing Easy

The purchasing procedure should be easy and uncomplicated, both online and in-store. There may be too many steps if a consumer is unsure of where to check out or is required to enter their zip code or email address. You should weigh the importance of the data you collect against how quick and simple the checkout process is.

Distribute a customer effort score survey before you can improve the customer effort score. Ask your customers to rate the ease or difficulty of the processes they find most valuable. To find out where customers are encountering problems, ask specific follow-up questions. Once you are aware of the difficulties your consumers are facing, consider implementing the changes mentioned above.

Customer Effort Score Calculation

The Customer Effort Score calculation is easy. Use this formula:

CES = Total number of answers divided by the number of answers

Your Customer Effort Score is the total amount of answers you receive divided by the number of answers you get.

Let’s imagine you ask a CES question with a numerical range of 1 to 5:

How simple was the Y product to use?

The total of 200 answers was 700.

In this case, here’s how to figure out your CES score: 


On a scale of 1 to 5, you received a CES score of 4.

Using a tool like Refiner, you can monitor your progress by tracking the change in your CES score on the reporting dashboard.

Customer Effort Score Best Practices

The following are CES best practices:

#1. Implement a CES Survey at Critical Points of the Guest Journey.

Examine the areas in which an effort on the part of the customer is required, and make it a goal to measure your CES in these key areas.

The act of purchasing tickets, the arrival experience, and the manner in which visitors’ requests are handled are all good times at which to persuade customers to participate in the CES survey. When looking for the guest’s reaction, keep in mind that it should be quick, easy, and not overwhelming for the guest.

#2. Proactively Identify Where Effort Might Be

You shouldn’t wait for your scores to come in before beginning to create methods to minimize work just because your CES will identify where potential sources of friction are. Take an active look at the entirety of the guest experience, paying particular attention to any points that may be sources of friction, and work to reduce the amount of effort that is required to do the activity.

#3. Regularly Review Your CES and the Most Significant Friction Points

Review your CES on a continuous basis as new data comes in to identify any areas in which customer effort causes friction in the guest experience, which may ultimately result in a drop in satisfaction levels.

The next step is to make the elimination of friction throughout the entire guest experience your primary priority, using your customer experience score (CES) as a reference for the most important issues to address.

How Do You Calculate a Customer Effort Score?

The customer effort score varies between 0 and 100. Your CES is calculated by dividing the number of customers who agree their interaction was simple by the total number of responses. For instance, if 65 out of 100 consumers gave you a rating of 5, 6, or 7 on a 7-point scale, your CES would be 65.

When Should You Use Customer Effort Score?

When to Make Use of the Customer Effort Score. Immediately following a conversation that resulted in a sale or subscription. Immediately following a customer service interaction or service-related experience. to supplement UI and UX testing by product teams.

What Is Customer Effort Score or CSAT?

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures how satisfied a customer is with a specific interaction or with their overall experience with your company. The customer effort score (CES) quantifies how easy (or difficult) it is to interact with your organization.

What Is Customer Effort Score 5 Point Scale?

For the Customer Effort Score 5-point scale index calculation, you subtract the percentage of very low-effort customers from the percentage of (very) high-effort customers. The result is displayed as an absolute score ranging from -100 to +100 rather than a percentage.

What Is the Goal of Customer Effort Score?

Customer effort score (CES) is a customer service metric that evaluates the perceived amount of effort that customers must expend during a certain engagement with you in order to complete their tasks or accomplish their objectives.


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