What is the most important thing in your life? I mean: really important. For most people, the answer to this question is pretty straightforward: health. And, if you have children, your children’s health. What’s more important than being well and knowing that our children are well also?

But, even if health is the most important thing in our lives, what do we all do when we start to feel ill?
We go on Google and we search for the symptoms that we have.

This behaviour is key to understand the Customer Effort Score: people want to find the answer to their questions by themselves. They don’t want to contact your company, especially if it means contacting it via email or phone. No one wants to do that. Worse, we know that your customers not finding the answer they’re looking for by themselves and feeling that they have to contact you is the n°1 reason for them to be disloyal.

It doesn’t mean that people won’t contact you anymore. Sometimes, talking to someone to be reassured, to have tailored advice or to solve an issue is better than doing everything alone. But it must be a choice, not something they feel obligated to do because they don’t find how to do it on your website.

Since that effort that your customers feel they have to do to work is you has such an impact on your retention, being able to measure it is key. And this is where the Customer Effort Score can help.

Table of contents

What is the Customer Effort Score (CES)?

The Customer Effort Score is a metric that evaluates the amount of effort a customer has to make to use your product or service, to find the information they’re looking for or to solve an issue.

To measure it, you ask a simple question : [Name of Your Company] made it easy for me to handle [name of the task], on a 1-7 scale rating where 1 means “strongly disagree” and 7 means “strongly agree”.

In 2010, a study published in the Harvard Business Review and made on more than 100,000 customers of 400+ brands showed that high level of effort was the n°1 reason for your customers to start working with another company. It’s the most precise indicator to predict future customer behaviour. So being able to precisely track your CES is key and must be at the heart of your surveying strategy.

The less effort required, the better the CES and the more loyal the customers. In other words: to keep your customers, keep it simple.

How to measure your CES with Screeb?

With Screeb, you can add a CES type of question to your survey, from our questions library. Then, you can decide what happens depending on the score.

For example, if your customer gives you a bad CES rating, you can add a Short Text question for them to explain why. You can also connect that bad answer to your CRM for your Customer Success team to know that this customer is at risk.

When to measure CES?

The CES is collected after a single action or a single interaction with the company. It’s important that the customer answers directly after the event you want to measure, for them to be able to precisely remember the level of effort needed.

In Screeb, you can use our targeting engine to trigger your CES conversational survey and make sure the question will be asked at the right moment.

The 3 best moments to send a Customer Effort Score Screeb survey:

1️⃣ After an interaction with your customer service

As we already said, your customers don’t want to contact you. So, when they do, you have to be sure that everything went well and that it was easy to get a precise and efficient answer. Asking for a CES rating right after a customer service touchpoint is a good idea, so your customer still remember how it went and if its problem has been solved.

2️⃣ After a purchase

If the CES is the best way to predict loyalty, asking for it right after a purchase can help drive more repurchase from your customers. It will give you an idea of how easy it is to buy on your website and if your customer will do it again in the future.

3️⃣ After a sign-up

If you customers have to register to your service, as for Screeb for example, measure the easiness of the sign-up and the onboarding can help you identify ways of improving your retention and the success of future sign-ups. Use that opportunity to also ask what went well or bad, and why did they choose to sign-up!

How to compare CES to CSAT and NPS?

If the Customer Effort Score measures the loyalty of the customer by evaluating the level of effort required to work with your company, how does it compare to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) or Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

CSAT is an indicator of the current customer satisfaction with your product or service. Usually, it’s measured with a simple question like “How would you rate the assistance you received?” or “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with us?” and answers can be as simple as “I’m satisfied”/”I’m unsatisfied” or more complex with a 0 to 100% scale rating.

Since the question is pretty simple, the CSAT score is usually positive. So a sudden drop in your rating is a great way to detect an issue. But it won’t predict your customer loyalty as the CES does.

On the other hand, the NPS is a loyalty score measured by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your company to someone else, on a scale from 0 to 10. The score is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who gave a 6 and less score (the detractors) from the percentage of those who answered with a 9 or a 10 (the promoters).

Its more generic formulation makes it a great tool to get an global impression of how loyal and satisfied your customers are, but it’s less efficient when you want to measure a specific part of your product or service.

That’s why using CES in addition to CSAT or NPS is a great way to have the best understanding of your customers.

Understanding your CES

Calculating your CES is pretty easy: you just have to add all the scores you got and divide them by the number of respondents to get an average. In Screeb, we display your CES right in your dashboard.

If your CES is good: well, congrats 🎉 Don’t touch anything and continue to measure it to be sure it remains the same.

If it’s not: don’t panic. Use the Short Text answers you got to understand what’s broken and fix it. Once it’s done, measure your CES again and see if your result is better, to continue to make improvements over time.

Start measuring your CES with Screeb

Get an invite to Screeb and start improving your retention 👇