Definition

customer effort score (CES)

Contributor(s): Laura Fitzgibbons

Customer effort score (CES) is a system for evaluating how much effort is required on the part of a customer to achieve satisfaction in their experience with a company. Usually calculated by averaging the response to a single follow-up survey question after a customer support experience, the customer will be asked to rate the interaction on a scale of "Very Difficult" to "Very Easy." This score comes from the idea that customers are more willing to punish an organization for poor user experience (UX) than reward them, therefore weaknesses need to be identified and addressed.

The higher the CES, the easier the experience is from start to finish for a customer trying to meet a specific need. Actions that can be measured with customer effort scores include making a purchase, resolving an issue, registering for a service or visiting a website. Evidence has shown that amount of effort needed is often correlated with how likely the consumer will continue to use, subscribe or pay for a company's product or services.

Customer effort scores can be improved by streamlining support channels, minimizing the repetition of information and decreasing the amount of wait time or transfers necessary during a phone call. Measuring the CES can lead to higher overall customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), better customer loyalty, more efficient support documentation and lower customer service costs.

The net promoter score (NPS) vs customer effort score (CES)

The net promoter score (NPS) and customer effort score (CES) are both popular measurements of the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. The NPS scores consumers based on the question, "How likely are you to recommend this product/service/organization to a friend or colleague?" It then categorizes this feedback into promoters, passives and detractors for the company. This metric can be used to predict the future health of an organization, by quantifying word of mouth marketing. CES, on the other hand, measures individual customer experiences based on specific processes rather than products or services.  

This was last updated in November 2018

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