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Customer Effort Score (CES): The Complete Guide

Customer Effort Score

The very reason technology exists since times immemorial is that it makes our jobs easier. With more and more sophistication in the way we work, technology has reduced the efforts in getting our jobs done. People have started valuing effortlessness and time in any technology they use – be it for work or personal tasks. The maturity of any organization is demonstrated by the ease of operations it handles in all its business processes. There is no limit to the level of optimization we can reach in various business units. And when it comes to the business unit dealing with the customers, customer effort score (CES) is an important metric that comes into play.

What is the Customer Effort Score?

CES is a metric that measures the amount of effort a customer has to put in while using the product or getting any issues resolved. It is a kind of customer satisfaction survey wherein a customer is asked to rate the effort they had to put in getting their issues resolved. This is measured on a scale from 1 to 7. The lower the CES score, the better it is. Hence, customer satisfaction is higher for a low CES score.

To measure the efficiency of any process, companies usually conduct this survey on most of its customers. This is usually sent to them as they complete their interaction with the company. Out of all the responses customers send, the company takes an average to measure the CES for any process. This helps them in optimizing the process further to make it as easy and seamless as possible for the customers.

CES is a clear indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction. Customers giving high CES tend to be more disloyal to the company. They also tend to switch to a competitor much easily when given a chance. According to research in the book The Effortless Experience, 96% of customers giving a high effort score tend to become disloyal to the brand as compared to just 9% of those who give a low score. Hence, it becomes paramount for companies to keep this score low for higher customer retention.

Pros and Cons of Customer Effort Score

Most of the data collection methods have their own pros and cons. None of them are completely beneficial without some degree of limitations. And CES is not an exception. Below are some pros and cons of CES.

Pros

  1. CES is one of the strongest indicators of a customer’s future choices. Surveys have shown that a large percentage of customers with low scores tend to purchase more from the same brand.
  2. It is also a good tool to predict the tendency of a customer with a low score to become a future brand advocate. The opposite of this is also true. Customers with high CES tend to speak negatively about their experience with your brand to others.
  3. It gives a clear picture of the efficiency of any business process. Through this customer’s feedback, companies can take actions to refine their processes.

Cons

  1. One of the limitations of CES is that it gives only momentary sentiments of a customer. A customer might give you a low score for a particular incident but his overall perception of your brand may still be positive.
  2. It doesn’t take into account the customer’s response based on its customer segment. Hence, sometimes the same process can collect higher CES from the customers with lower technical knowledge. Whereas a tech-savvy customer may find it all smooth and easy.

When to use Customer Effort Score Survey?

Customers interact with your brand multiple times. All the representatives with whom they interact depend on the stage of a customer journey. Hence, it is wise to know when to use CES to leverage it for the best outcomes. The best timings to collect this feedback are:

  1. After the purchase of the product: When customers start using your product for the first time, the way they feel about the product is quite important for you to know. It is like the response of the audience when they watch the first show of a movie. Hence, this is the best time to send them a customer effort survey through which you can predict the probability of product adoption.
  2. After a service query: When you collect the CES immediately after a service call, you get to know customer sentiments at that very moment. It is a clear indicator of the efficacy of your customer service team.
  3. To measure the overall customer experience with your brand or product: When CES is measured at specific points, e.g. after product experience, service calls, review meetings, etc., final scores can be collated to calculate the overall score of the product and brand.

How to improve the Customer Effort Score?

How to improve the Customer Effort Score?

Companies must always aim to reduce CES as much as possible. The more you value your customer’s time and effort, the better the customer experience score you forge for them. When you implement a flawless process that makes a customer’s job easier, it often doesn’t go unnoticed. Hence, below are a few ways you can do so.

  1. Providing multiple channels for interaction: When customers are given multiple options to interact with your brand, it enhances your brand’s perception in them. Channels like social media page, customer service, in-app support, direct emails, etc. would give multiple options to the customer to interact as per their comfort.
  2. Self-help tools: Many times, it has been proven effective and much faster for the customers to resolve the issues by themselves. Hence, keeping an option open for them is also beneficial. This includes help articles, user manuals, video tutorials, etc.
  3. Operational efficiency: All the touchpoints you have with your customers must be examined thoroughly to find if there are any gaps. Then filling those gaps and streamlining the process with utmost efficiency would give a seamless experience to the customer. It would also reduce the waiting time for the customers which is an integral part of an efficient process

Wrapping Up

Customer Effort Score becomes most prominent when you are committed to fine-tuning your business. Most of the companies say they are customer-centric but often don’t know how to go about it.

CES is usually adopted by evolved companies who have grown over the basic requirements of serving the clients. They usually become so mature in building customer relationships that they want to curb even the slightest discomfort to their customer. For example, a UK-based mortgage company teaches its customer reps to quickly assess the customer’s personality type and tailor their responses accordingly.

Remember, it is always through the collection of positive moments during every interaction the overall brand perception is formed. And if you make your customer’s life easier, they would remain loyal to your brand.

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