What is Customer Effort Score (CES) & How to Measure It?


Disloyal clients are costing companies billions. But what really triggers disloyalty? Former CEB Global’s analysis (now a part of Gartner), defined that the extent of effort shoppers put into interacting with a model has a direct impression on loyalty ranges. In reality, in accordance to CEB Global, plainly round 96% of shoppers that reported having issue fixing an issue have been extra disloyal.

How have you learnt how simple it is on your purchasers to work together with what you are promoting, although? Well, that’s the place Customer Effort Score comes into play.

What Is Customer Effort Score?

A basic Customer Effort Score definition describes it as being a kind of buyer survey that measures how simple it was for a consumer to work together with what you are promoting (fixing a problem with buyer assist, making a purchase order, signing up for a trial, and so forth.).

Consumers are typically requested how they agree with an announcement (“The firm made it simple for me to remedy my drawback,” as an example), to charge their degree of effort, or to simply reply a query (“How simple was it for you to remedy your drawback at the moment?” for instance).

CES Survey Types

There are a number of metrics you should utilize to measure your Customer Effort Score, however understand that they’ll change the way in which you calculate and rating surveys:

  • The Likert scale –  This technique entails a “Strongly Disagree/Strongly Agree” scale which is structured as such: Strongly Disagree – Disagree – Somewhat Disagree – Undecided – Somewhat Agree – Agree – Strongly Agree. The solutions are often numbered 1 to 7, and you may as well colour code every one to make all the things extra visually intuitive for respondents (having “Strongly Agree” inexperienced and “Strongly Disagree” purple, as an example).
CES Survey - Likert scale
CES Survey – Likert scale
  • The 1-10 scale – This metric entails having respondents provide a solution within the 1-10 vary to your query. Generally, the 7-10 phase is related to optimistic responses (when you’re asking clients how simple it was to do one thing, as an example). However, in case your query is asking the respondent to charge the extent of effort, the 1-3 phase shall be related to optimistic outcomes as a substitute (since they symbolize low effort).
CES Survey - 1 to 10 scale
CES Survey – 1 to 10 scale
  • The 1-5 scale – In this case, the reply choices are as follows: Very Difficult – Difficult – Neither – Easy – Very Easy, and they’re numbered from 1 to 5. The order can be reversed.
CES Survey - 1 to 5 scale
CES Survey – 1 to 5 scale
  • Emotions Faces – While this metric is fairly easy, it’s helpful when you run a variety of CES surveys for minor features of your product/service/web site. Plus, it additionally makes it simple and intuitive for respondents to rapidly reply. Basically, you utilize a Happy Face, Neutral Face and Unhappy Face photographs as responses, with the Happy Face often that means there was little effort required.
CES Survey - emoji
CES Survey – emoji

When Is the Right Time to Send a CES Survey?

Generally, CES net surveys are despatched to clients throughout these key moments:

After an Interaction That Led to a Purchase

Sending out Customer Effort Score surveys after a consumer interacted along with your product/service or service group and ended up making a purchase order is a good way to gather real-time suggestions about what enhancements you want to make to streamline the shopping for expertise.

For instance, it’s best to all the time ship out a CES survey after a buyer indicators up for a free trial or finishes the onboarding interval. It helps you rapidly discover out when you want to make any modifications to make different folks extra possible to purchase from you.

Right After a Client’s Interaction with Customer Service

Sending out a CES survey after a customer support touchpoint (like e mail assist tickets) enables you to rapidly learn the way environment friendly your assist group is, and if any modifications want to be accomplished to enhance the general effectivity. You also needs to think about sending out such a survey after a buyer finishes studying a Knowledge base article, since it is going to provide help to learn the way helpful your content material is.

In this case, it’s not obligatory to ship out CES questionnaires at a selected interval. Since the query is asking respondents how a lot effort that they had to put into fixing an issue, it makes extra sense to ship the survey after customer support touchpoints.

After Any Interaction Surfacing Usability Experience

The CES survey might be despatched out after any interplay that in a approach or one other may trigger friction and end in a destructive buyer expertise. This might be associated to the launch of a brand new characteristic so as to follow-up on its adoption and inquire on potential ache factors, to be taught extra in regards to the effectivity of your inside processes or the general usability expertise. 

It’s necessary for the query to revolve round that interplay and be triggered upon its completion in order that the recollections are correct and the obtained suggestions is actionable.

How to Put Together a Good Customer Effort Score Question

For starters, you want to be certain the wording is as unambiguous as doable. Don’t ask clients about something that doesn’t have to do with buyer effort. Also, the tone of your query must be impartial, in order that the respondent doesn’t really feel such as you’re making an attempt to favor a sure reply.

Ideally, you also needs to keep away from utilizing the phrase “effort” (ironic, we all know) as a result of the phrase’s meanings can differ from language to language, so there’s an opportunity you would possibly get irrelevant solutions.

And be certain your CES survey query marks off an space of study – be it the general expertise a buyer had along with your web site/model, or only a singular buyer interplay second (like dwell chat).

Lastly, there are 2 methods to format the query:

  1. Make it an announcement – This format is very helpful when utilizing the 1-7 Likert scale. Here’s a Customer Effort Score query instance of that: “How a lot do you agree with the next assertion: The firm’s web site makes shopping for objects simple for me.” 
  2. Make it a direct query – This format is extra suited to surveys that use the 1-10 and Happy/Unhappy face metrics. Here’s an instance: “How a lot effort did it take to remedy your drawback?”/”How troublesome was it for you to remedy your drawback?”

We personally advocate utilizing the assertion format – each as a result of the 1-7 Likert scale is extra correct to work with when calculating your CES rating, and since the direct query format often depends on utilizing the phrase “effort,” which we already talked about is usually a bit problematic in case you have a global consumer base. If that’s not a priority, although, the direct query format can work nicely too.

Tips for a good CES survey question
Tips for a superb CES survey query

How to Interpret Customer Effort Score Results

One of the best methods to measure CES outcomes is to simply get a mean rating (X out of 10). This is typically accomplished with the 1-10 Customer Effort Score scale. You simply take the full sum of your CES scores and divide it by the variety of responses you bought.

Customer Effort Score Calculation - Method 1
Customer Effort Score Calculation – Method 1

So, if 100 folks responded to your Customer Effort Score survey, and the full sum of their scores quantities to 700, meaning your CES rating is 7 (out of 10).

If you’re utilizing different metrics (like Happy/Unhappy faces or an Agree/Disagree scale), you could possibly additionally strive performing a Customer Effort Score calculation by simply subtracting the share of people that responded positively from the share of respondents who supplied a destructive response. The impartial responses are usually ignored.

Customer Effort Score Calculation - Method 2
Customer Effort Score Calculation – Method 2

For occasion, let’s say you had 400 respondents, and 250 of them responded positively, and the remaining negatively. By subtracting 37.5% destructive solutions (150/400 x 100) from the 62.5% optimistic solutions, you get a CES rating of 25%.

If you’re utilizing the 1-7 Disagree/Agree scale, we additionally discovered it’s finest to simply divide the full quantity of people that supplied a 5-7 response (Somewhat Agree – Agree – Strongly Agree) by the full variety of respondents. Afterward, simply multiply the outcome by 10 or 100 (relying on whether or not you’re utilizing a 1-10 or 1-100 scale). You may do the identical with the 1-5 scale (with 4 and 5 being the optimistic responses).

Customer Effort Score Calculation - Method 3
Customer Effort Score Calculation – Method 3

Here’s an instance – when you had 100 respondents, and 70 of them supplied a optimistic response, your CES rating will both be 7 or 70 (70/100 x 10/100).

What Is a Good Customer Effort Score?

The reply is a bit tough – principally as a result of performing a Customer Effort Score benchmark towards opponents is troublesome since there is no clear industry-wide commonplace to evaluate towards, and in addition as a result of whether or not or not your CES rating is a superb one is determined by your Customer Effort Score query and the metrics you utilize.

After all, when you use the Disagree/Agree scale for solutions, the place “Strongly Disagree” is numbered with 1 and “Strongly Agree” is numbered with 7, and have an announcement like “The firm made it simple for me to remedy my drawback,” you’ll clearly need to have a excessive CES rating – ideally one which’s over 5/50.

On the opposite hand, in case your CES survey response scale associates 1/Happy Face metrics with “Less Effort” and 10/Unhappy Face metrics with “A Lot of Effort,” and immediately ask clients how a lot effort that they had to put into performing a sure motion, it’s best to try to have a low CES rating.

As within the case of different buyer satisfaction scores, so as to get a grasp of the place you stand, it’s best to evaluate the CES along with your rating over a selected time frame, to see in case your efforts are paying off. If you might be experiencing a rise, it means you might be heading in the right direction, in any other case it’s best to dig deep into buyer suggestions to see what you might be lacking.

Customer Effort Score – The Good and the Bad

CES has each good and unhealthy sides, however let’s see if the cons pale as compared to the professionals of utilizing such a survey.


One of the good issues about CES surveys is that they’re actionable and particular – they’ll rapidly present which areas want enchancment to streamline the shopper expertise.

Besides that, Customer Effort Score outcomes have been discovered to be a robust predictor of future buy conduct. In reality, in accordance to this HBR’s analysis, roughly 94% of shoppers who reported they skilled “low effort” in interactions with a enterprise mentioned they might purchase once more from it. Also, 88% of these shoppers mentioned they might spend more cash too.

The identical analysis additionally exhibits us that CES can provide you an thought how possible your clients are to refer your model to others, and the way they might converse of it. Basically, round 81% of shoppers who reported they put in a variety of effort when interacting with a enterprise mentioned they meant to converse negatively of the model in query. So, it’s doable to assume that buyers who’re proud of the low degree of effort requested of them will possible advocate the model to others or on the very least converse positively of it.


While CES drawbacks aren’t actually a deal-breaker, they’re value highlighting. For one, Customer Effort Score can’t actually inform you what sort of a relationship a client has along with your model normally. A low effort rating can enhance the shopper satisfaction ranges, but it surely doesn’t essentially level to loyalty in direction of a model. Also, CES can’t inform you how your clients and their scores are influenced by components akin to your opponents, merchandise, and pricing.

Another problem value mentioning is the truth that CES surveys don’t provide a approach to phase clients by sort. While the Customer Effort Score surveys have good predicting buy energy, this is restricted to solely a selected group of shoppers who for instance work together with the assist group or undergo your self-service choices. Since CES are transactional in nature, they focus solely on particular interactions, and due to this fact – a restricted group of customers.

As one-off surveys, CES provides information with short-term relevancy, due to this fact it is crucial that they’re triggered proper after and wherever the mentioned interplay or transaction takes place (be it e mail, in-app or chat), in order that the suggestions is tied to context.

And lastly, CES surveys can inform you a buyer had issue fixing an issue, however they don’t inform you why. For instance, if a client says it was laborious for them to attempt to get one thing your model can’t really provide, that’s not likely a related outcome for what you are promoting.

Customer Effort Score: Pros and Cons
Customer Effort Score: Pros and Cons

Is Only Using Customer Effort Score Surveys Enough?

While CES app surveys are an amazing supply of buyer perception, it’s higher while you pair them with a satisfaction-oriented survey – like Net Promoter Score, for instance.

For the sake of this text, we’ll throw in a fast definition: NPS is a buyer satisfaction survey that asks shoppers how possible they’re (on a scale from 0 to 10) to advocate your model to different folks. NPS surveys enable you to ship follow-up questions to ask why the shopper gave a specific score, basically letting you discover out precisely what you want to enhance to enhance buyer loyalty.

Using CES alongside NPS will allow you to precisely measure each client effort and loyalty. The two metrics successfully complement one another and allow you to give attention to two very important features of what you are promoting as a substitute of only one – particularly since NPS enables you to phase clients. Moreover, it appears that top-performing low-effort firms have a tendency to have an NPS that is 65 factors increased than top-performing high-effort companies, additional exhibiting the hyperlink between Customer Effort Score and Net Promoter Score.

Bottom line

CES is yet another transactional instrument in your toolbox that may provide help to pinpoint weaknesses throughout service interactions and a product’s ease of use. Since buyer expertise expectations are ever evolving, constantly keeping track of effort scores, total buyer satisfaction and tendencies within the information is already a necessity. However, extra information isn’t essentially higher information. The metrics have worth solely when the respective suggestions is transformed into follow-up actions and product enhancements. 

Whether you’re looking  for a single buyer satisfaction metric or a extra complicated method, Retently received you coated. You can have all of your information – NPS, CSAT, CES – below one roof with insightful analytics serving to you sift via the conglomerate of suggestions. Sign up on your free trial to see for your self how simple it is to get began.

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