How to Measure Customer Effort Score and What to Do Next

How to Measure Customer Effort Score and What to Do Next
Artem Tiulnikov
Artem Tiulnikov on Nov 8, 2019 6 min read

Have you ever wondered how much effort your customers put into doing business with you? How long does it take them to find the right page on your website, to place an order, or to resolve a technical issue?

Unless you’re a mind reader, asking your customers is the only way to find out how smooth their experience is.

And that’s where Customer Effort Score (CES) comes into play. Aimed to gauge the ease of customer interaction, it helps you identify bottlenecks in your business growth.

A 7-point Customer Effort Score Survey for your website.

From this post, you’ll learn how to measure CES and what steps to take after that. We will also showcase real CES survey examples and templates you can use on your website.

What is Customer Effort Score and why it’s important

Customer Effort Score allows for measuring the ease of specific customer interactions. It’s a popular survey methodology twice more predictive of customer loyalty than the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

The reason you should know your CES is simple: the easier your customers get what they want, the more likely it is that they will remain loyal to your brand.

96% of customers who go through a high level of effort are likely to churn, whereas 88% of customers who have an effortless experience will be willing to spend more, according to CEB.

A regular CES survey includes a single question and scores the response on a scale from 1 to 5 or 1 to 7. In the example above, responses range from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”.

This scale will help you estimate the amount of effort required to use a product or a service, and show how likely customers will continue paying for it.

When to use Customer Effort Score survey and how to phrase questions

A CES survey takes place after a specific customer interaction. Generally, there are three main scenarios when you would display it:

1. Right after an interaction with your product

Have your customers take a CES survey after they sign up for a trial, make a purchase, or subscribe.

CES survey example

On a scale from 1 to 5, how easy was it to complete the purchase today?

  1. Extremely difficult

  2. Difficult

  3. Neither easy, nor difficult

  4. Easy

  5. Extremely easy

2. Right after an interaction with customer service

Ask your customers to complete a CES survey after their ticket has been resolved, or after they finish a live chat, for instance.

CES survey example

What is the degree of your agreement with this statement:

[Company / Service department] made it easy for me to resolve an issue.

  1. Strongly disagree

  2. Disagree

  3. Somewhat disagree

  4. Neither agree, nor disagree

  5. Somewhat agree

  6. Agree

  7. Strongly agree

3. Right after customers consult the Help section on your website

Bring up your CES survey once customers have acquainted themselves with your How-to articles, your F.A.Q. section, or other instructional materials.

CES survey example

How clear was this tutorial?

  1. Very unclear

  2. Unclear

  3. Neither

  4. Clear

  5. Very clear

Having obtained the answers, you will be able to sort them based on positive and negative feedback. Keep reading to find out how to measure Customer Effort Score, what a good CES is, and how to get the most out of it.

How to add CES survey to your website using Getsitecontrol

If you’re looking for an app to create a CES survey, Getsitecontrol will be a great option. It brings everything you need to build a custom website survey form and publish it within minutes. Below, we’ll show how to use it.

Once you register a Getsitecontrol account and connect it to your website, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your dashboard and click the Create widget button.

  2. Navigate to the upper left corner of the screen and choose Conduct a survey from the drop-down menu.

Getsitecontrol online survey builder with templates.

  1. On your right, select a template, choose a webpage position for your survey, and click Choose & customize. You’ll be able to adjust the copy and the design on the next screen.

  2. Use the Appearance tab to add images, change colors and dimensions. On the Content tab, type your question and set up response options.

Getsitecontrol survey form builder - dashboard overview.

Technically, your CES survey is ready. Now, all you need is to decide when to display it to your customers. If we continue with the above-illustrated example about the ease of purchase completion, it makes sense to place it on the Thank you page that appears right after someone places an order.

To specify the survey location on your website, go to the Targeting tab and type the page address in the corresponding field.

CES survey page targeting settings.

Once ready, go to the upper right corner to save the widget and close the form builder. Your CES survey will go live as soon as you activate it from the admin dashboard.

How to analyze CES survey results and what to do next

Now that you’ve successfully published the survey on your website and started collecting responses, let’s talk about measuring CES, analyzing results, and taking further actions.

Calculate your customer effort score

Getsitecontrol makes it easy for you to see what kind of CES responses you’re getting. When your customers fill out the survey, the app will automatically generate a report that may look somewhat like this:

Measuring customer effort score using CES survey responses.

You’ll find it under the Statistics section for the select widget on your admin dashboard.

To measure your Customer Effort Score, you need to calculate the average value of all answers with the exception of the neutral ones. To do that, sum up all the answers and divide them by the number of respondents. You should get the average value on a scale from 1 to 5 or 1 to 7 depending on your survey.

Let’s say, with a 5-point survey you got the following:

  • 13 customers selected “Very easy”

  • 5 customers selected “Easy”

  • 3 customers selected “Difficult”

  • 2 customers selected “Very difficult”

Given that “Very easy” is a score of 5, and “Very difficult” is a score of 1, the total value of all answers will be 93. Divided by 23 (the number of respondents), that leaves us with a CES of 4.

What is a good customer effort score?

You want customers to spend minimum effort on interacting with your business. That’s why in CES surveys, higher scores are better.

For instance, for a standard 7-point scale, where 1 is “extremely difficult” and 7 is “extremely easy”, a score of five or higher is considered good. However, you should also look at the distribution of scores to make sure the average is based on a reasonable number of 1’s and the majority of responses are above neutral.

A CEB study found that improving CES from 1 to 5 (on a 7-point scale) increased customer loyalty by 22%. Further improving their CES score from 5 to 7 only increased loyalty by around 2%.

Positive responses show that your product or service is user-friendly and well designed. Negative responses, in turn, alert to weak spots.

Steps to take after measuring CES

CES will help you reveal high-effort customer experiences that may become roadblocks to your business. However, while pinpointing the area that needs your attention, it doesn’t provide you with the details.

That’s why if your CES is lower than anticipated, the best idea would be to get to the bottom of a problem. Here are 3 ways to do that:

  1. Add a comment field to your CES survey and ask customers to provide the reasons behind their responses.

  2. Use exit-intent surveys to find out why visitors abandon certain pages without taking the action you expect them to take.

  3. Consider heatmaps or dedicated apps like FullStory showing where exactly your website visitors get stuck.

Wrapping up

CES is a powerful tool to help you optimize customer experience on a website. If you’re planning to run this survey, the best practice will be to repeat it at least every 6 months to see if the trend is changing and make further decisions accordingly.

Go ahead and create your first customer effort score survey using Getsitecontrol. Try it for free to see how much value it can add to your business.

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