Customers want good products and services, of course, but do you know what else they want? They want effortless interactions with companies. How about a website that is simple to navigate, and a seamless checkout process? Bingo. They also want it to be quick and painless to resolve any issues they may have with your company. Recognizing and improving upon this customer feedback is where a CES survey comes in handy!
Research shows that when your company makes things easier on your customers and delivers on the promises, it drives more customer loyalty than the companies that focus more on improving the overall experience. It has become pretty common to have a good overall experience, so it’s those companies that truly make dealing with them easy and painless that enjoy more loyal customers.
If you’d like to see an example of a ready-made CES survey, come and use our CES survey template right away.
What Do We Mean By Customer Effort Score (CES)?
The customer effort score measures if interacting with a business is as easy as stealing candy from a child (avoid that by the way) or as difficult as finding that pair of glasses that you forgot you are already wearing (feels good, right?). For example, getting an answer to a question, purchasing or returning a product, or resolving an issue. We express CES as a number, and a higher number, you guessed it, indicates better customer service.
Researchers with the Corporate Executive Board discovered in 2010 that the more effort exerted by customers, the lower their level of customer loyalty. From this, a customer satisfaction survey was born, which determines the level of effort required by customers when interacting with a business.
Brian Solis who advises leading brands, startups, and celebrities, speaks plainly on the topic. He says, “Welcome to a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by those who experience it.”
How Do I Calculate Customer Effort Score (CES survey)?
Customer effort score calculation is the average of all customer responses. Customer responses create a number rating, and and then you total and divide these numbers by responses to arrive at the average number – your CES (read: magic 🧙🏽♂️) score.
For example, five customers respond to your customer effort score question, and they give responses of 5, 4, 7, 6, and 4. The total of those numbers is 26, and divided by the number of responses – five – it gives you a CES of 5.2. Well done!
A CES is fluid – we recalculate and update constantly with more customer responses over time.
But Wait… How Do I Measure Customer Effort Score?
There are a few ways to measure your customer effort score via CES survey. Typically, you’ll see either a 5-point or 7-point scale. Let’s break it down a bit.
Usersnap’s CES survey approach
In our ready-made templates, we start with a 4-point scale. Why? In our experience, more choices = more complexity. We’ve tested CES surveys, and determined that for foundational analysis, the 4-point scale is more appropriate.
Certainly, some power users or enthusiasts will want to be very precise in their selections. However, if you’re just starting to build and test a part of the product, you want a starting point with some sort of statistical significance.
This is why you’ll see the Usersnap 4-answer approach. But do note: just because our ready-made template uses a 4-point scale, the survey is fully customizable. Feel free to go bananas 🍌🍌🍌.
With that in mind, another option is the 7-point likert scale.
CES survey with 7 answer choices
Another method of measuring CES is on a scale of 1-7. If you decide to employ this option, keep in mind that it will create more user friction to answer (because of more choices), but the quality of your responses could be accurate in aggregate.
Customers choose their level of agreement with a prompt such as, “The company made it easy to address my concerns.” A number corresponds with each answer as follows:
- 1 – Strongly disagree
- 2 – Disagree
- 3 – Somewhat disagree
- 4 – Undecided
- 5 – Somewhat agree
- 6 – Agree
- 7 – Strongly agree
A Good Customer Effort Score
What is a “good” CES number? Honestly, that’s for you to decide for your product. Surveys worded in different ways are likely to produce varying results.
In general, since numbers 5-7 indicate positive responses, a score above 5 is good. You’re on the right track! Additionally, if you’re signing up with Usersnap and trying our ready-made template, you’ll want to get scores above 4 out of 5 (that match the corresponding answer).
A Bad Customer Effort Score
On the other hand, a score lower than 4 leaves plenty of room for improvement since this indicates mostly negative responses to the survey prompt.
A score less than 4 indicates that the customers didn’t get their concerns resolved, or they got resolution, but at high effort on their part. Perhaps it took them some time to track down the proper way to get in touch with your company, or maybe they unfortunately explained their issue to multiple service representatives. Someone is in trouble…let’s carry on!
Average Customer Effort Scores
One customer experience software company found that the average CES for its customers is 5.5. A CES in this range is ideal. It shows that your customers are having mostly positive interactions with your company.
This score still leaves you with something to work on as well. Every increase in CES corresponds to another satisfied customer who is more likely to return and purchase from you again.
Customer Effort Score (CES) Pros & Cons
CES surveys can provide valuable information that allows you to make improvements in your company and foster customer loyalty. However, CES does have its limitations. The pros and cons of customer effort scores are as follows:
The level of effort is one of the largest indicators of whether a customer will return to your business for future purchases, so do not overlook it. Additionally, even if the customer had a difficult experience, just giving feedback because you asked makes them feel as though they matter.
Using the results of a CES report can also help you reduce costs in your business. If you work to resolve issues that customers are experiencing, there will be fewer instances in which the customer requires assistance, and that means less strain on your customer service team.
One downfall of a CES is that it gives you a look at only a brief moment in time and does little to give you an overall view of the customer experience. This can be somewhat remedied with surveys at various points during the customer experience to give you glimpses at several different points and provide a better overall look.
CES focuses particularly on customer service. It generally does not reflect on your product quality, price point, or how your company compares to your competitors.
Another pitfall of CES is that since it is such a snapshot of time, you can have a loyal customer who has one bad experience, and looking only at the CES, it would appear he or she was a customer who would never re-purchase.
How Often Should I Run a CES Survey?
Since CES surveys measure a specific interaction with the customer, the best time to run them is immediately following that interaction while the experience is still fresh in their mind.
Post-Purchase CES Survey
A great time to offer a CES survey is following a purchase. The ideal time to offer the survey is while the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind. And their adrenaline is high for having something new and shiny in their hands…not me, I’m not like that.
A post-purchase survey will give you an idea of the customer’s satisfaction navigating your website and choosing products as well as checking out and making payment. It also works as a replacement to the standard CSAT after checkout.
After A Customer Service Interaction
Offering a CES microsurvey after any interaction your customer has with customer service will give you a feel for how effective your customer service team was in handling the concern and show any areas for improvement. Offer the survey immediately following the interaction, so the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind.
Post-Delivery CES Survey
You can also offer a CES survey after delivering a product r service as well. This survey will give you a measure of customer satisfaction with shipping and an early opinion of the product or service itself.
Following a delivery may also be an opportune time to send a feature satisfaction survey, which determines a customer’s reaction to new or improved features. Come and use the feature satisfaction survey to see what it’s all about.
Tips for building CES Surveys
When building a user experience (UX) or CES survey, you will want your questions to be conversational and friendly. They should be targeted enough that you get a response to the question you’re asking, but they shouldn’t lead people to a specific answer. You’ll want the surveys to be sent out automatically following a specific interaction. Also, consider the following points:
- Optimize the survey for mobile users, who comprise more than 50% of online interactions
- Add a thank you message to the end of the survey, so customers feel valued for giving a few moments of their time to help you
- Share data with all people who can benefit from the feedback – customer service representatives, leadership, training, etc.
If you want to go a little deeper beyond just the immediate CES survey, some UX survey questions examples include:
- Rate your first impression of our website.
- How likely are you to recommend us to a professional colleague?
Add Usersnap use case
When To Use CES VS. CSAT VS. NPS?
The three main types of surveys used to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty include
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Each of these methods has its own unique benefits, and used together – but at separate times – they supplement each other and can give you a better overall picture of what drives loyalty and satisfaction in your customers. They should not, however, be viewed as interchangeable. See this guide to CES survey for a better idea of which survey to run and when.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
As discussed, the CES measures only specific interactions and is run immediately following each interaction. It measures customer loyalty but doesn’t provide the entire picture.
The best use of CES is in improving how your company interacts with its customers since it specifically tells how much effort they must make to have their issues addressed.
As an example, if a customer requested a refund from your company, and they indicated on their survey that it wasn’t an easy process, you could look into the refund processes and policies in your company and determine whether there are areas you could improve.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT is a metric that studies general short-term customer satisfaction with both the product and the service they received from your company. It should run after the customer has been with you for some time. With CSAT, you can ask various questions to determine the customer’s current reaction to a product, interaction, service, or event.
One thing CSAT does not measure is the customer’s loyalty or long-term relationship with a company. It is the middle ground between the short-term CES and the long-term NPS.
Another survey that may fit into this time frame is the product-market fit (PMF) survey which asks customers how disappointed they would be if the product stopped existing. Come and use the PMF survey template to get more details.
NPS is a survey that is an important metric to track as it is a good indicator of a company’s growth. Ideally, you’ll run it at regular intervals since it measures customer loyalty on a more long-term scale. It looks at the whole relationship between the customer and the company.
NPS measures the entire experience, including price, product, and brand, along with customer service. A higher NPS generally points to a higher level of long-term customer loyalty. These loyal customers are a source of free marketing for your business as they leave positive reviews and recommend your products to their family and friends.
“Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans,” according to speaker, author, and business consultant Ken Blanchard. This statement illustrates the importance of NPS.
Common Ways to Improve the CES Score in Your Company
To make the CES scores at your company skyrocket, it is crucial to address the areas where customers indicate that they are having issues. If the scores are low following a purchase, you can look into your website and checkout process. On the other hand, if the scores following customer service interactions are lagging, it may be time to implement some new practices with your customer service team. (Brian, just be nice to people, please!)
Some areas that can make a difference in CES include:
- Website – slow loading, poorly organized products, complicated interface
- Purchasing – limited payment options, slow shipping
- Customer service – being transferred from one representative to another, an unhelpful employee, long waits on hold
See this other guide on CES and how to improve it for more tips on improving your CES number.
Conclusion on CES Surveys
A CES survey is a vital tool in increasing your customer loyalty by making sure that their experience with your company is as easy as possible. It identifies the pain points at which you may be losing customers and allows you to take measures to address those points.
Other surveys, such as CSAT and NPS, have their own value. They can and should be used harmoniously along with CES to get a better overall picture of your business. CES shows you the immediate effect of how customers feel following each interaction with your company. CSAT gives you a short-term picture of both your product and service. And NPS shows the long-term view of customer satisfaction as well as how likely those customers are to recommend your company to their family and friends.
Putting a focus on raising your CES translates to happy customers who will want to come back to you whenever they want to feel that shopping spree rush again. Studies show that raising your CES from 1 to 5 increases customer loyalty by 22%, so this is a number you definitely don’t want to ignore.
The most important thing to remember about CES is that people talk, and they will share about their experiences with your company. As stated by Dave Kerpen, the number 1 LinkedIn influencer of all time, “It’s important to think of every customer as an online celebrity with followers, friends, and above all, influence.”
If you’re ready to improve your company’s CES and customer loyalty, come sign up and use this template now.
If you still have some questions lingering around in your busy mind, see below.
How Is CES Measured?
The client will pick a score from 1 to 4, 5 or 7 for each question. A 1-4 or 1-5 method is used for foundational evidence in a CES survey. A 1-7 method is used for drill-downs once you’ve established the opening evidence in your first few CES surveys. Once you have all the scores for a certain question, you add them up and divide by the total number of answers you got to reach the average.
When Would You Use a CES Survey?
A CES survey should be used right after a client has interacted with your business. This way you will immediately know if they are happy or not and how to improve their experience.
What Is a Good CES Score?
Generally speaking, a score above 5 is considered good, but there is no definitive answer.
What Is a CES Survey vs NPS?
CES means Customer Effort Score and NPS Net Promoter Score. While the CES measures specific interactions between client and business, the NPS is indicated when you want to evaluate the whole customer experience.
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