Customer Effort Score (CES) Understanding & Measuring

06 Oct- 8 min read

Customer Effort Score (CES) Understanding & Measuring 1

The customer effort score question is one of the most essential issues to deal with in your business context. Thus, it’s better to take a closer look at a technique, the CES index, which can also be used to measure consumer loyalty alongside more popular metrics like NPS or other as it provides valuable insights of how your customers commit to your resource.

What is a customer effort score (CES)?

So, CES, or the Consumer Effort Score is aimed to evaluate the customer experience by means of measuring how much effort a customer might put in order to get an answer or find the solution to their problems. As per the metric creators, the less effort the client has, the higher the loyalty to the business and their stats extensively confirm this.

When to use CES versus other customer experience measures

To apply the customer effort score questions with the maximum use, there must be certain cases. So, use CES when the following events occur:

  • After a purchase.

Send a CES website survey directly after your customer has made a purchase on the website in order to get an idea of how easy or convoluted the process of purchasing was for them.

  • After a subscription sign-up.

Send a CES survey directly after your customer has signed up for your newsletter r whatever on the website in order to get a glimpse of how it was going, bad, good, smooth, etc.

  • After a customer service touchpoint.

Needless to explain that each time you have the event of interacting of your customers with the services you need to query on how easy or convoluted it was just anything else.

The different types of CES surveys

Customer effort may have various forms. So the different types of CES surveys may be picked as per what you’re going to access out there and in which particular case.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) surveys

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a measure of customer general satisfaction or a segment or experience such as pricing, services, support and more. Because numeric values ​​are often used, CSAT survey data is easy to work with. When a particular interaction receives a low customer satisfaction score, the company can address the issue and find ways to improve the customer experience.

CSAT survey questions are easy to answer and usually require just one click. It encourages people to get involved. For this reason, CSAT surveys have a high response rate.

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys

These surveys are accurate and on point. Customers here are asked to respond to a statement like this one: “[Name of the organization] made it easy for me to handle [name of the issue]” With a 1-5 or 1-7 scale rating, where 1: strongly disagree and 5 or 7: strongly agree. The less effort required, the better the CES is and, arguably, the higher the customer satisfaction. CES survey total is measured by finding the average of all responses.

Visual rating surveys

The most common example of visual ratings is the Likert scale, star rating, and slider. For instance, you will definitely see one of such when you visit an online shopping site and it asks you to rate your own shopping experience right away. It is a very popular choice for conducting market research, as well.

Custom surveys

As far as custom surveys are concerned, they offer a regular customer or an employee we evaluate some organization experiences to pass a survey and transform it into a piece of your brand. Thanks to such a branding survey, you help your customers associate your business product with respect.

Why you should pay attention to your CES

The customer satisfaction indicator is essential because it is often linked to a company’s overall success, as satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal brand advocates. They help build a strong brand reputation and keep customer acquisition costs low. Thus, retaining existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones because existing customers already trust the company. New or potential customers, however, require the company to invest in getting them through the early and costly stages of the customer life cycle. And the most common way to measure customer satisfaction here is through appropriate surveys.

How to measure CES

Customer Satisfaction Score is a measure of general customer satisfaction, or a segment or experience such as pricing, services, support, and more. So, there is a customer effort score calculation formula you need to use in order to get a figure.

The CES metric consists of just one question, but it can be measured in two ways. In the first case, the client is asked how much effort he spent on solving his problem. The answer should be scored on a scale of 1 to 5, where:

  • Very little effort
  • Little effort
  • Average
  • Some effort
  • A lot of effort

However, due to the possibility of double understanding (5 points are given for the answer with the lowest score), the question is modified.

The second CES metric format asks customers to agree or disagree with the statement that no effort was required to solve the problem. In this format, customers who “Strongly Agree” with the statement score 5 points, and those who “Strongly Disagree” score one point. The chance of confusion is minimal, so the second option has become more popular.

The easiest way to calculate CES is to use the average of all responses.

CES = (Sum of all responses) ÷ (Number of responses)

Some organizations use a formula similar to the one used for the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

In order to calculate a customer satisfaction score, your company first needs to establish a benchmark for good results. Then divide the number of responses that meet or exceed this benchmark by the total number of responses submitted.

Averagely as per CEB Global, a Customer Effort Score above 2.0 is considered a good CES score.

Interpreting the results

What is the customer effort score in a particular case? How do you interpret them? For example: take the total sum of your CES scores and then divide it by the number of responses you got. So, if you had 100 people responded to your Customer Effort Score survey and the total sum of their scores amounted to 700, which means your CES score is 7 (out of 10).

What is a good customer effort evaluation?

Sometimes CES calculation requires you to define the percentage of positive (very easy and easy) and negative (challenging) responses. Calculating customer effort score and evaluating it will depend on the type of survey you used. So, good evaluation is always a smart average indicator of specific survey analyses.

Tips for creating CES surveys

Before designing a survey, determine the three key components: the purpose, participants, and duration of the survey interaction.

Start with goals

What do you want to know? What stage of the buyer’s journey are your customers in? This will help you choose the best type of survey. For example, you want to determine how likely customers are to make a repeat purchase. In this case, you need a Net Promoter Score (NPS) Loyalty Index (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey. If you need to evaluate the quality of customer support, the Customer Effort Survey (CES) is the way to go.

Choose members

Then select the target customer segment and the appropriate channels to reach. For example, when do you need to survey customers: after a purchase, after using your product or service, or after contacting customer support? This will depend on the format of the survey.

Determine duration

Finally, determine the length of the poll. In order for as many respondents as possible to pass it, there should not be too many questions. However, at the same time, they should be enough for you to get useful data. If you need to create a long survey, motivate customers to complete it, for example, offer a reward for completing it.

Common ways to improve your company’s CES performance

There are multiple ways how you may improve your CES and make your different customers happy while taking it. Use some of these:

  • Test captcha,
  • Multiple payment types,
  • Mobile-Friendly website forms,
  • Click tracking,
  • Time-outs monitoring,
  • Contact number,
  • Online chat,
  • Email address for customer support, etc.

Save your respondents time by making short surveys with just a few important items. To make the process easier, add multiple choice questions. Thoughtful questions will ensure a high percentage of passage, and you will receive meaningful answers which will sure improve your company CES performance.


How often should you measure CES metrics?

The rate should be made after each survey you chose to apply for customer satisfaction measurement.

Can measuring CES have a negative impact on customer experience?

Since CES survey can be sent out after any interaction that in one way or another it could cause friction and result in a negative customer reaction, which is, however, is minimum if you use the ways to improve CES performance.

Whether you can do it without measuring CES metrics?

You can avoid those measures as per CES metrics if they don’t tell the whole business story and rather implement more surety options to complement each other and allow complex research to scale the company’s customer performance.

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