How Is Customer Effort Score Calculated?

Creating an online account. Completing a digital transaction. Chatting with customer service to get an issue resolved. Your customers are engaging these and countless other interactions with your brand on a daily basis. The question is, are you making it easy for them to get these things taken care of?

Customer effort score—CES for short—is what enables businesses to answer this very question. But just how is customer effort score calculated? We’re here with answers.

Hint: To get started, you need to go straight to the source—asking your customers directly.

From there, you’ll have all the information you need to know how easy (or hard) it is for your customers to find and do what they need when they want to, whether that’s getting assistance from customer service, finding information on your website, navigating your app, or completing another important task.

How to Calculate Customer Effort Score

Step 1: Ask Customers to Self-Rate Their Customer Effort Score

To calculate CES, the first step companies often take is to gather feedback using voice of the customer survey questions like this one below, asking individuals to quantify the amount of effort—on a scale of 0 to 7—that they have to exert to get something important taken care of along their customer journey, with 0 indicating a high-effort (poor) score and 7 indicating a low-effort (excellent) score. 

How Is Customer Effort Score Calculated?

These kinds of surveys are usually deployed immediately following relevant customer interactions, such as right after someone seeks support from customer service, completes a transaction, creates an account, reads self-service help center content, or does something else that could impact their likelihood to keep doing business with a brand.

Step 2: Use This CES Formula

Step 1 above enables companies to measure individual customer effort scores. You can calculate your company’s overall CES by adding up the total number of survey takers who agree that a given interaction is easy (i.e. those who self-report a rating of 5 or higher) and then divide this number by the total number of customers surveyed, using this formula below.


Calculate Customer Effort Score


The Value of Measuring CES Alongside NPS, CSAT, and Other Customer Service Metrics

When companies take a data-driven approach to customer service, this can help them set and align on priorities across the organization, improve processes and performance, keep customer service agents engaged, and deliver stronger customer value.

Key customer service metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS) indicate how well organizations are meeting the needs of their customers and how likely these customers may be to refer these businesses to their friends and family. 

Companies keep track of NPS to assess how loyal their customers are. Savvy CX leaders keep track of CSAT in real time to understand how every touchpoint along the customer journey impacts overall customer experience and lifetime value. 

CES, on the other hand, can shed light on how likely customers are to continue spending money with a given organization. 

In fact, researchers have found that 94% of customers who report low-effort experiences say they will keep doing business with a brand, while only 4% of customers who report high-effort interactions say they will keep doing business with a brand.

See our guide on Everything You Need to Know about CSAT vs NPS vs CES to learn more about these popular CX key performance indicators (KPIs), what makes each measurement unique, and when it makes the most sense to use each.

Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Customer Effort Score

Strong customer effort scores and customer service team performance are linked.

That’s why key strategies for improving your customer effort score include optimizing agent training, introducing more effective micro-coaching, encouraging and rewarding agents for practicing self-correcting behaviors, and taking immediate action when negative feedback arises. 

Find out for yourself how world-class entities and Stella Connect clients like ESPN, Williams-Sonoma,, and FabFitFun have achieved gains in CES, CSAT, and more using our powerful suite of real-time customer feedback, QA, and coaching solutions to supercharge their service delivery and performance. Schedule your Stella Connect demo today