3. Customer Effort Score (CES)
Where NPS and CSAT scores are focused on creating a more enjoyable experience for customers, CES is focused on reducing the customer effort. Customer effort is defined as the amount of effort a customer needs to make in order to get his customer job done (like paying a bill, for example).
The CES score got introduced by CEB in 2010 and is mentioned in the 2013 book “The Effortless Experience”. Although it is often used to only measure effort for handling an issue with customer service, tracking the customer’s effort can be seen as an important business objective for each service interaction. In order to determine the CES score, companies need to ask the following question after an interaction:
“On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest effort, please indicate the total effort that was required by you to complete your [insert interaction here]”
The responses will provide a Customer Effort Score as follows:
Sum of All Customer Effort Scores
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —— = Customer Effort Score
Total number of responses
Research by Oracle showed that customer satisfaction increased from 61% to 93% when customers reported low effort. Additionally, a one point decrease in CES (a 20% decrease in your score) shows a 14% increase in intent to repurchase.
If you’re thinking of using CES, I have some advice from a service design perspective;
- Map it out. CES will only be of value to better your service by using the customer journey as a framework and analyse CES on an interaction level; this will identify specific points of friction and opportunities for improvement.
- Ask why. The CES score traditionally doesn’t ask customers why they find a certain interaction effortless or not. By asking the why question after the rating, you will gain insight into the barriers that prevent a service interaction to be easy and effortless.
- Make it objective. Where CES surveys the perceived effort customers put in, you can also survey objective measures, such as task success rate, time on task or user error rate. These measures will objectively show you where customers have difficulty completing their task or interaction and where they experience barriers to do so.