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What Is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

No matter how great your team members are, issues are bound to come up for your customers. It’s how companies handle these challenges as they arise that sets leading companies apart from the rest and it’s the care they take to make things right that helps cultivate brand loyalists while driving customer lifetime retention and customer lifetime value.

That’s why understanding what your company’s customer effort score (CES) is matters so much.

But what is customer effort score, anyway? We’re glad you asked.

Let’s dive into what CES is, when this customer service metric should be used, and why keeping track of your CES really matters when it comes to improving your brand’s overall customer experience. 

What Is Customer Effort Score (CES), Anyway?

Customer effort score—CES for short—is an important KPI that tells us a lot about the type of experience customers have when interacting with your company, specifically about the level of effort individuals have to take to complete a task, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, finding information on your organization’s website, or reaching out to customer service for help. 

Companies may use a voice of the customer survey question like the one pictured below to ask customers to self-report their perceived customer effort score on a scale of 1-7, prompting customers to share how easy or difficult it is to find answers, get support, make a purchase, or take care of something else along their customer journey. 

What is Customer Effort Score?

This customer service data then gets used to calculate a company’s cumulative CES, which enables organizations to assess their customer service team performance and understand how efficiently their agents are able to help customers—without making them jump through hurdles to get the support they need. 

When Should You Ask Customers to Report Their Customer Effort Score?

For the highest engagement and most accurate responses, you should follow up with your customers to get their honest take on what level of effort is involved in interacting with your brand immediately following a relevant customer experience, such as after:

  • An in-person shopping trip
  • Completing an online order
  • Finishing a sign-up process
  • Using a self-service tool or portal
  • Contacting customer service

Why Your Customer Effort Score Matters

Customers always have a choice when it comes to the brands they decide to engage with and support. One faulty product or service, one confusing website experience, or one challenging conversation with a customer service agent, and they may decide to take their business elsewhere.

All of these touch points make up your brand’s collective customer experience, and it’s the quality of this collective customer experience that influences customers’ long-term retention and lifetime value. 

That’s why it’s so important for your business to be able to measure your complete customer experience, so you can pinpoint opportunities for improvement and find ways to optimize things over time. One such way is by keeping track of your customer effort score. That way you can spot where customers are having challenges.

For instance, your company’s CES may be higher for your website visitors but lower for in-person locations. Customers may be more satisfied with chatting with your customer service representatives, but have a harder time finding what they’re looking for when using your brand’s Helpdesk or video tutorials.

It should come as no surprise that customers that report low-effort experiences are more likely to do repeat business with organizations, compared to those with high-effort scores.

That’s why strengthening your customer effort score should be a priority, one that can help you cultivate customer loyalty and business growth. 

What You Can Do About Your Customer Effort Score

From ESPN and Williams-Sonoma to Jet.com and FabFitFun, Stella Connect’s powerful suite of real-time customer feedback, QA, and coaching solutions are empowering world-class teams to transform their service delivery, performance, and customer experience KPIs, including the all-important customer effort score.

To learn more about how we can guide your company in optimizing your agent training, introducing more effective micro-coaching, making things right for your customers, and, ultimately, improve your CES, schedule your Stella Connect demo today