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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.
What is a customer effort score?
Customer effort scores (CES) measure 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.
A higher CES means it takes less effort for your customers to engage with your business, which is what you’re looking for. 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.
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.
Why customer effort score is important
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.
Why customer satisfaction is important
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.
Combining the powers of CES and CSAT
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.
How to measure (and track) Customer Effort Scores
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.
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,
Having a proactive approach to gathering CES data will ensure you’re always on top of your customers’ experiences. Use these proactive customer service strategies to power your CX roadmap.
How to improve customer effort score
If you’re concerned about your customer effort score, there are a few tactics 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.
Channel-independent customer support
When your brand provides consistent customer support across all channels — like you’ll find through Gladly — makes customer service interactions easier. Conversation-based CX tooling gives agents access to lifelong conversations and context within your platform, rather than an unending stream of tickets to work through. That means customers don’t have to waste time and effort explaining their issue as they switch between various channels and agents.
Intuitive routing and matching
Robust customer service solutions will automatically match certain customers to appropriate agents. For example, frustrated or upset customers should be routed to special support agents, or high LTV customers should be routed to a dedicated, white-glove support group.
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 boosts CES and revenue from CX teams
Gladly was designed to streamline workflows, automate service processes, and develop a personal approach to customer service that customers have never experienced before.
Our conversation-based, channel-independent support system allows agents to know exactly who their customers are, and why they’re reaching out to them before they’ve even said hello. No more asking for name or order number, and no more tabbing across multiple systems to get basic customer details. 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.
Learn more about Gladly
Take a free, self-guided tour of Gladly to see how you can start creating a more effortless customer experience.