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Customer Effort Score (CES)

What is customer effort score (CES) & how do I measure it?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a single-item metric that measures how much effort a customer has to exert to get an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, a product purchased/returned or a question answered.

CES surveys typically ask the question, “on a scale of ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult’, how easy was it to interact with [company name].” The idea is that customers are more loyal to a product or service that is easier to use.

1. When to use CES vs other customer experience metrics

There are three main customer service metrics: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES).

These metrics can complement each other, and your organisation must experiment to understand which combination is right for you.

  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES is an easy survey to deploy and track over time and is best for measuring customer loyalty. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always give the full picture and should be used in tandem with NPS. For instance, your customer may have a great relationship with your company but had a bad interaction this one time. If you only looked at CES you would think he wouldn’t be a loyalty customer, but that might not be the case.

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS measures long-term loyalty and determines which customers are brand ambassadors and which could defect to other products. It looks at the entire relationship between the customer and the organization and is a great indicator of company growth. NPS can be used in concert with CES because while CES measure a single touchpoint, NPS is measured by the experience as a whole, including the product attributes, price, brand, and customer service altogether. Higher NPS typically means higher, long term customer loyalty.

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

CSAT measures the short-term happiness of your customers. It’s a versatile metric that allows you to ask a variety of questions about a single interaction or touchpoint. CSAT targets a “here and now” reaction to a specific interaction, product, or event, but it is limited when it comes to measuring a customer’s ongoing relationship with a company or loyalty.

2. Tips for building CES surveys

  • Optimize for Mobile: More than 50 percent of online interaction occur on mobile devices, so your survey must be optimized for mobile.
  • Automated Triggers: Surveys should be automatically sent out after an interaction with a customer service representative or specific touchpoint.
  • Keep it Simple: The survey should only be one or two questions and you should avoid using any leading questions.
  • Share Your Data: Results should be shared with those who can take action and leadership across multiple departments should collaborate to implement a strategy.

3. Common ways to improve the CES score at your company

Customers want easy transactions and will switch to a different provider if they’re having a difficult time getting their questions answered.

You can quickly improve your CES by implementing a few tools which are listed below:

  • Provide multiple channels for contact/feedback– Your business should be meeting customers in all channels of digital support, so they can choose the realm they feel the most comfortable with. Some popular options include social media support, email, chat, in-person support centers, and call centers.
  • Use self-service tools- Many customers would rather solve the issues themselves instead of speaking to a customer service representative. By providing self-service options, you make it easier for the customer to get their question answered and reduce customer effort. Forms and self-help articles are a great place to start.
  • Reduce wait times– Customers want their issues resolved quickly and they don’t want to wait on the phone to talk to a live representative. If you have high wait times, use a callback system or employ more staff during your busiest hours.

It’s important to always close the loop with a customer if they’re unhappy and fully understand what you could do better to keep their business. You’ll also want to make general improvements to your products or customer service program based on the cumulative survey results.

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