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Customer Effort Score: Definition & Calculation

Instructor: Savannah Samoszuk

Savannah has over eight years of hotel management experience and has a master's degree in leadership.

There are many different ways to measure success in the customer experience. A new metric that has been developed is the customer effort score (CES). This lesson will define CES and provide examples as well as how to calculate it.

What Is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Companies are focusing more on their customers and using different metrics to determine how they are doing in the customer's eyes. A common metric used to determine customer loyalty and happiness is customer satisfaction. This typically rates a company on the customer's overall satisfaction. Now a new metric has been introduced: Customer Effort Score (CES). CES measures how much effort a customer had to put in with a certain interaction with a company. Companies are realizing that measuring satisfaction is not enough. The customer may be satisfied with the product but they still may not be loyal customers. If a customer has to put too much effort into an interaction with a company it may cause them to choose a different company in the future. This is why companies have started measuring customer effort.

How to Calculate CES

CES is relatively easy to calculate and measure. There are two different ways companies can go about measuring CES. The first way is by using a similar rating scale that is used in another customer satisfaction metrics. For example, let's say that Jerry orders a product online through Jungle Products. After completing his order he received an email that asks him: 'How much effort did you have to put into placing your order on Jungle Products?' It will give him a scale between 1 to 5, with 1 being putting in the least amount of effort. This way will give companies results in percentages based on the customer's answers.

A simpler way to calculate CES is calculating it without using a scale. Jerry would still receive an email inquiring about his purchase but he would be asked: 'Jungle Products made it easy for me to make my purchase?' Jerry would click on yes or no. This will still provide the company with results but they will be easier to understand. The company will be able to see what percentage of customer's feel they put in little effort and what percentage felt that they put in a lot of effort. Overall, either way a company chooses to measure CES, it provides information about the customer's effort level, which can help the company with customer loyalty.

Advantages of CES

Some companies are so focused on overall satisfaction they may be missing other metrics that can help increase their customer loyalty. For example, Pam recently placed a to-go order at Nelly's Deli. Once she arrived at the deli she still had to wait in the long line to be served. She felt that this defeated the purpose of placing a to-go order, so Pam did not return to Nelly's Deli. While she was satisfied with the food, she was not satisfied with the amount of effort she had to put in. This is where CES could help companies like Nelly's Deli determine why they may be losing customers or lacking loyalty.

Another way that CES can help companies is that it provides a simple format for customers to use. CES is typically asked with one question. This will make it more likely for a customer to answer. The results are also easy for the company to evaluate and understand. It is also pinpointing one area for the company to work on.

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