When it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily. - Harvard Business Review

Many businesses focus on Customer Satisfaction Scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS), but there is one other important score that is often overlooked, and it directly correlates to both scores mentioned above.

That is the Customer Effort Score (CES).

Time is the most valuable thing a person can have because it can’t be brought back. With the number of options out there today, consumers like myself like to have the fastest and easiest experience possible when dealing with businesses. Make it easy for me to do business with you and I will come back.

In this article, I will discuss the importance of the Customer Effort Score and how you can make it easier for customers to be loyal to you.

What is Customer Effort Score?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a type of customer satisfaction survey that measures the ease of an experience with a business.

It is a one simple question survey asking the customer how difficult it was to accomplish what they wanted (if at all) during their most recent interaction with a business.

Customer Effort Score Example

This doesn’t necessarily need to be a purchase. It can be finding the product or service on your website, contact information or shipping and returns policy.

Why is Customer Effort Score Important?

Customer Effort Score is important because it focuses on the effort required for a customer to achieve a specific task. The lower the effort required from the customer, the more likely they will return.

According to the originator of the Customer Effort Score CEB Global, CES is “1.8x more predictive of customer loyalty than customer satisfaction (CSAT) measures, plus it is two times more predictive than Net Promoter Score (NPS).”

Here is a quick breakdown of the differences between CSAT, NPS and CES.

CSAT: This type of survey asks customers questions about how satisfied they with a specific interaction with a company. This can be after a purchase or a recent customer service interaction.

alt

NPS: This type of survey asks customers about the overall feeling towards a company and how likely they are to recommend a company to others. This can be a generic survey that gets sent out on a scheduled basis.

alt

CES: This type of survey asks customers how much effort was required to accomplish what they needed with a company. This is usually related to a customer service inquiry, product information gathering, website usability and any type of process you want a customer to complete.

alt

The important thing about CES surveys as well as other types of surveys is having a follow-up process whenever you receive a low or negative score. By connecting with the customer at a personal level, you can gain more insight as to why the low score was given and fix any issues to make the process easier.

When Should You Send a Customer Effort Score Survey?

Because CES surveys are more tied to specific interactions, you should always send a CES survey right after the interaction.

CES surveys can be sent after a website visit, after a purchase, and after a customer service experience via phone, email, social media or live chat.

Email is the most common form of sending CES surveys but if you want to increase the chances of getting a response, you can try other channels like social media, mobile app, website popup, or even a simple text message.

How to Improve your Customer Effort Score?

There are several ways to improve your Customer Effort Score based on your customers’ journey.

In today’s digital world, there are multiple customer interaction touchpoints to consider:

1) Improve Your Website

Your website may be the most common way customers first interact with your brand. When people visit your site, they want to know what you offer and how it can help them. Make it easy for website visitors to find the information they need quickly so they don’t get confused or frustrated and leave your site.

There are many tools out there to see how your website visitors behave including heatmap tracking. If you see that many people are visiting your pricing page, make it front and center on your homepage so there are no additional steps needed to see that information.

Having a user-friendly website can make a huge difference in getting more customers vs. losing them to a competitor who makes it easy.

2) Improve Your Customer Service Process

Did you know that companies lose more than $62 BILLION per year due to poor customer service?

Providing great customer service is harder than it sounds. If it was easy, every company would have perfect service.

Speed and convenience are two crucial component of great customer service. Make it easy for customers to reach you whenever they need help by providing multiple ways to contact customer support.

This goes back to the usability of your website. Make it easy for customers to find your contact information directly on your website. Also provide multiple options to reach you including website form, live chat, email, phone, social media, and text messaging. Your customers’ preference in contacting you may differ depending on time and location to make it easy on them and provide multiple options.

The other part of it is you must make sure you respond quickly. Even if you don’t have an answer right away, you should always respond to all customer inquiries, even if it’s just to confirm that you received it and is working on getting a response in a timely manner.

3) Make the Feedback Process Easier

If you want to improve your customer experience, you first have to get feedback. However, getting customers to respond to your surveys is a challenge. Research shows businesses only hear from 4% of dissatisfied customers.

There are several possible reasons why customers don’t give you feedback. It may be that they are busy, the survey is too long, or there are too many steps to take the survey.

Regardless of the reason, you must make it as easy as possible to for customers to respond to your survey.

The good thing about the Customer Effort Survey is that it is only one question, so the length of the survey should not be an issue. It’s how you execute the survey that will make the difference between them responding or not.

Since CES surveys are directly tied to a specific experience or interaction with your business, make sure you send out the survey minutes after the interaction.

Again, your customers have different communication preferences and it may change so similar to providing multiple ways of contact, also provide multiple ways to send CES surveys. This may include website, in-app, email, phone, social and text messaging.

The more ways you can reach your customers for feedback, the more likely they are to respond. It’s all about timing.


Knowing how your customers feel about your business is extremely valuable as you can make improvements as well as build a stronger relationship with your customers. However, only using CES surveys may not give you all the information you need.

As a best practice, use multiple survey types like NPS, CSAT, CES, Website Usability, Retention Analysis and more to truly understand your customers and continue to improve their experiences.

You May Also Like: 5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience for 2018 and Beyond