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Decoding the Customer Effort Score (CES)

Have you heard people toss the term CES around the conference room? Struggling to understand just what it means?

In this article, we are decoding the customer effort score (CES) so you understand how it can help your business.

What is the Customer Effort Score?

In the simplest terms, the customer effort score measures your customers’ perception of how easy or hard you company made it for the them to complete their chosen action. (tweet this)

This could be anything really. For example, how easy or hard was it for:

  • A customer to buy something from your website or in your store.
  • Someone to resolve an issue with your staff.
  • A customer to register a product.
  • Your website visitors to navigate your website.
  • A person to leave you a review.

So, you can see that while the CES most often involves your service and support staff, it doesn’t always.

You can use the CES metric to evaluate how easy it is for your customers to deal with your business in a myriad of ways. One of the most common uses it to learn how easy it was for your customers to find a resolution to their problem with your service team.

In the 21st century and age of social media and review sites all over the internet, you know your customers want to do business with companies that are easy to work with. And, all too often, if they had a bad experience, they’ll spread it all over the internet.

You don’t want this to happen. It’s imperative that your customers are happy with their solutions and that they feel their issues were handled promptly and simply.

The CES allows you to determine if this is actually true.

When Should You Use the Customer Effort Score?

Best practice is to use the CES right after a customer has had an interaction with your business.

For example, you would send the survey after a customer purchased a product or service or had an interaction with your customer service department.

Your goal is to get real-time feedback. If you let too many days or weeks go between the interaction and the survey, you are likely to lose valuable data.

How to Measure Customer Effort Score

As we mentioned, you want to send out your CES survey shortly after any particular interaction.

The survey includes only one statement.

A sample question may look like this: “Your company (X) made it easy for me to handle my issue (buy a product, purchase a service, talk to support, use your website, figure out how to use a product).

The possible answers would be: strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, neutral, somewhat disagree, disagree, or strongly disagree.

You might also ask the question like this: “How easy was it to solve your problem with (name of your business) today? The answer choices might be: very difficult, difficult, neither, easy, or very easy.

It’s also possible to send out your one question CES survey with just Yes/No as the possible answers.

Some businesses even include the option of allowing their customers to leave a comment. This can often provide a better look at what happened to that particular customer.

You’ll find many successful businesses measure CES right alongside the Net Promoter Score.

Why Use the CES

If you want to instill customer loyalty in the people who shop with you and retain them in the future, you want to explore the customer effort score.

The CES tells you in the most basic terms whether or not you are providing the best customer experience. If you are, great. If you aren’t, you know it’s time to improve if you want to better the customer experience.

When you reduce customer effort in all aspects of your business, but especially when it comes to service, you build customer loyalty.

Bottom line – you differentiate your business from the competition when you help your customers by providing them a quick and easy way to purchase from you, use your products or services, and work with your service staff.

Why Customer Effort Matters

You’ve been there before. You ordered something from a business, it didn’t work, and you called customer service. Then, you spoke with the first tier, second tier, and third tier, and yet you still don’t have a resolution.

That means you expended way too much customer effort. You probably won’t return to that business again, and you certainly won’t recommend them to others, and you may even broadcast your bad feelings about them.

Now, you don’t want that to happen to your own business, and that’s why your customers’ effort actually matters.

By reducing customer effort, this is what you get:

  • People who will recommend you to others in the form of positive word of mouth. This is where your Net Promoter Score can come in.
  • Customer retention increases, and your customers purchase from you again.
  • Your costs decline because you solve customers’ issues quickly instead of spending additional money on labor costs.
  • Employee retention also rises because they are happy to provide a better customer experience, so they incur less stress and frustration.

How CES Helps You Improve Your Team

If you have staff members or customer service agents who above normal CES results in negative territory, you can recognize that they either need additional training or a new job.

Knowing your CES score can help you identify where you can help your team grow which ultimately makes your company stronger.

Do be cognizant though of your service staff who regularly handles the most difficult and complex cases. Naturally their CES score may be less than the agents that handle the easier issues.

Final Thoughts

Measuring the customer effort score ultimately helps you grow your business. Combine it with your Net Promoter Score, and you’re well on your way to providing the best customer service.

Today’s customers demand a good shopping experience, and they’ll shop elsewhere if they don’t find it with you.

Effortless customer service will improve your bottom line. Make a concerted effort to eliminate hurdles and hassle for your customers, and they’ll soon be shouting your praises.

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