What is a Customer Effort Score?

Gladly Team

Read Time

6 minute read

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Sometimes, it truly is the little things that count. And when it comes to sales and customer experience, improving something as simple as your customer effort score (CES) can be the difference between success and failure.

CES measures how much effort is required for a customer to complete a specific interaction or transaction within a business. Customer effort score measures the ease at which a customer can make a purchase, transaction, or interaction – so a higher CES means it takes less effort for your customers to engage with your business, which is what you’re looking for.

In our customer expectations report, we showed that 80% of customers said their buying experiences take too much effort, which means if you’re going to get ahead of the competition, improving your customer effort score is well worth the investment.

Customer effort vs customer satisfaction

It might be easy to confuse customer effort score with customer satisfaction score, so let’s break down some of the key differences between the two.

Improving your customer effort score – decreasing the amount of effort it takes for customers to complete interactions – has proven to be a great way to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty by making it easier to accomplish tasks and goals on your platform.

Better customer effort scores lead to higher rates and volume of customer engagement because interactions can be completed more frequently and are not as daunting.

Customer satisfaction, although tied to customer effort score, has more to do with how satisfied a customer is during a particular interaction. While customer satisfaction is important, customer effort score is a greater predictor of customer loyalty because it focuses on the big picture as opposed to single interactions.

Looking at them as intertwined, however, is the best approach because better customer effort scores lead to improved customer satisfaction, which is what you’re looking for in the end.

Customer effort score tracked and measured

Typically, customer effort score is measured through questionnaires in which customers are asked subjective questions about their experience, and those answers are quantified through a numbered scale.

A simple question like, “It was very easy for me to complete my transaction today,” with a 1-5 scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree, is a great start to measure and quantify your customer effort score.

To find your customer effort score, find the average across all responses. The higher the score, the better.

If you have a low CES, meaning it takes more effort for customers to interact with your various channels and content, then you’re going to lose customers, and your business, over time.

Measuring customer effort can and should be done after the follow interactions with a company

  • Website visits
  • Any purchase or sales interactions
  • Customer service encounters across all channels, including email, phone, SMS, in-app, social media, and more
  • Sign ups
  • Checkouts
  • Consultations

Having a proactive customer effort score strategy will ensure you’re always on top of your CES strategy and your customers’ experiences.

How to improve customer effort score

If you’re concerned about your customer effort score strategy, there are a few ways and approaches that you can implement to help improve your score.

  • Self service tools – A knowledge base (FAQS, how-to-guide, and troubleshooting instructions) is a simple way for customers to find direct answers to their questions without having to contact you. Be sure to make these simple and easy to understand.
  • Structured, omnichannel support – Structured omnichannel support, like you’ll find through Gladly, makes customer service interactions easier by providing your agents with lifelong conversations and context within your platform. That means customers don’t have to waste time and effort explaining their issue as they switch between various channels and agents.
  • Structured service matching – Robust customer service solutions will automatically match certain customers to appropriate agents, including frustrated or upset customers who might require special support.
  • Videos and tutorials – Instructional videos and tutorials are easy, simple, and engaging ways for customers to interact with your business and find the answers they need.

The central concept is pretty clear across all these solutions – find ways to streamline your various service and purchasing processes, make it easy for customers to find the right solutions to their questions, and make sure your website is sleek and navigable.

Gladly will boost your customer effort score and your business

Gladly was designed to streamline workflows, automate service processes, and develop a personal approach to customer service that customers have never experienced before.

Our omnichannel support system allows your agents to know exactly who their customers are and why they’re reaching out to them before they’ve even said hello. That kind of knowledge, along with unique customer profiles, will reduce wait times and provide a seamless service experience that your customers are sure to remember.

Create an effortless customer experience with Gladly today.


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