How to create, send, and evaluate a CES survey

27th Jan 2021

74% of people are likely to switch brands due to poor customer service or a difficult purchasing process. It is no surprise that making processes easier for customers has a positive effect on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This is what Customer Effort Score helps to measure. 

All about Customer Effort Score (CES)

But what is the Customer Effort Score? How was it developed? How do you measure CES? What are CES Surveys? And how can you calculate and use it for your business? Let’s find out. 

What is the Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a leading Customer Experience metric that enables you to measure the level of effort your customers are putting with you as a business to get their queries solved. Customer Effort Score is an indispensable considering element that constitutes exceptional customer experience. CES is measured using CES 2.0 question:

To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.

Here customers are provided with a scale ranging from 1-7 scale (ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree) on whether they agree or disagree with the statement. 




How CES got developed? 

CES was developed with the intent to track how much effort was required on the customer’s side to solve an issue. Now the question is why to measure Customer Effort Score? In 2008, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), now Gartner, focused on reducing the customer effort level. Therefore, they introduced a new metric in the market named the Customer Effort Score (CES) to measure the effort level customers are putting to interact with you to get their queries solved. 

In 2010, Harvard Business Review emphasized measuring the customer effort score. In one of their articles “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers”, they quoted that measuring effort score is much more important than delighting your customers. They’ve added that a high-effort service experience can make your customers disloyal and increases the churn rate.         

How to Calculate the CES?

The easiest way to calculate CES is to use a CES Software.

Alternatively, you can also calculate the overall CES by using simple CES formula:

Customer Effort Score = Sum of all Customer Effort Scores ÷ Total number of respondents

For Example:

Say, if you get 12 responses: 3, 7, 5, 3, 7, 7, 6, 5, 7,7, 7, 7.

So, your Customer Effort Score = Addition of all customer effort scores ÷ Total number of respondents.

CES = (3+7+5+3+7+7+6+5+7+7+7+7) ÷ (12)

(71) ÷ (12)

Therefore, your Customer Effort Score = 5.





Importance of Measuring CES

We’ve already discussed how CES helps measure Customer’s perceived effort while interacting with your business, let’s now discuss some more benefits of measuring CES. 

  1. CES helps predict Customer Loyalty: In 2010, Harvard Business Review established the correlation between customers’ efforts and customer loyalty. Also, CEB, now Gartner found that high effort makes customers disloyal towards the brand and leads to increased churn rate. The opposite is also true. A low effort increases Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction. So it is safe to conclude that CES is a good predictor of Customer Loyalty.
  2. CES helps predict Future Purchase Behavior of Customers: According to the study, 94% of customers who reported low effort said they would likely to repurchase from youThe opposite is true for those who experience high effort. Knowing how low effort customers will bring business and high effort customers are likely to churn, CES is a good predictor of customer’s future purchase behavior.
  3. CES ensures Customer Referral: Ensuring that your customer’s experience is effortless and seamless goes a long way. As we discussed above, low Customer Effort is correlated with increased Customer Loyalty. HBR states that happy customers are likely to spread positive word of mouth for your brand and help you generate at least 16% more profits.
  4. CES is more Effective than NPS and CSAT: While all three Customer Experience Metrics (NPS, CSAT and CES) play a very important role in measuring Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction, there are many use cases where CES stands out in predicting customer loyalty. According to the research, CES is 1.8x more predictive of customer loyalty than CSAT and 2x more predictive than NPS.
  5. CES helps improves Revenue Growth: According to HBR Study, Customers who experienced low-effort service or interaction are likely to repurchase and increase their spending. Measuring CES is definitely the first step towards improving it and creating seamless experiences for customers which in turn helps grow revenue.  Thus, in turn, increases the repurchase rate and improves the overall revenue of the business.

Measuring Customer Effort with CES Surveys

CES Surveys, as the name suggests, are Surveys used to measure Customer Effort Score. Let’s explore more about them and how you can send and evaluate CES using CES Surveys. 

What is a CES Survey?

A CES Survey is one that includes the Customer Effort Score question and uses it to measure how easy or not easy it was for customers to interact with the company and the customer service and support teams.

  1. Based on how you use the CES Survey and what aspect of your business you’re measuring, you can evaluate the following: 
  2. Ease of doing business with you 
  3. Ease of getting queries resolved 
  4. Effectiveness and Helpfulness of your Customer Support Agents 
  5. Ease of finding the information and help that customers were looking for 
  6. Ease of making a booking or making a purchase successfully 





What is a CES Survey Question?

Customer Effort Score (CES) data can be collected by asking the standard CES question - To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The company made it easy for me to handle my issue. Here in this survey, customers can score on the 1-7 scale based on the effort level they experienced.

1-3 Scores - Strongly Disagree to Somewhat Disagree: These scores will be associated with negative results.

5-7 Scores - Somewhat Agree to Strongly Agree: These scores represent positive results.

The CES Question can be modified to measure the particular aspect of the business (as we discussed earlier). A few modifications are: 

Standard CES Question

To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.





Measuring Ease of Shopping on Company’s Website 

To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The company’s website made it easy for me to shop. 

Measuring Service Resolution by Customer Support Team

To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The service team helped me resolve my issues easily. 

Creating the CES Survey

CES Survey is pretty straightforward and requires only one mandatory question, which is the CES 2.0 Question. However, an ideal way to use it is to add a follow up question, similar to how NPS is popularly used, to seek the reason from the customer for their score. A follow up question helps you in knowing the ‘why’ behind the score and makes your score more actionable. 

Some basic considerations for CES Surveys include: 

  • Measure Customer Effort for your Company: Modify ‘The Company’ in the survey question to your company name. Example: To what extent do you agree with the following statement: COMPANY NAME made it easy for me to handle my issue.
  • Measure Effort for Individual Team Members: Modify ‘The Company’ in the survey question to your Customer Service Executive name when you’re seeking feedback for individual team members. Example: To what extent do you agree with the following statement: CUSTOMER SERVICE EXECUTIVE NAME made it easy for me to handle my issue.
  • White-Label your CES Surveys: This will help customers identify with your brand while they’re filling out the CES Survey
  • Add Logic-based Follow Up Questions for CES Surveys for more specific answers. For instance, if you are measuring CES post purchase, then based on high effort response, you can follow with a question that presents multi-choice answers for customers to choose from, like ‘What can we do better to make the shopping experience easier for you?’ - Better Pricing, Easier Check Out Process, More Billing Options
  • Ask CES Questions in the language your customers speak using Multilingual Surveys.

Distributing and Sending CES Surveys

We always believe that the best way to send a CES Survey is to send it where your customers are. Reach your audiences and customers in the way that’s easiest for them to fill out the survey. It is most effective and leads to maximizing response rates.





1. Measuring Ease of Doing an Online Transaction or making an Online Purchase
Ideal way to conduct CES Surveys: Web Popover Surveys, Email Surveys, SMS Surveys

When someone makes a purchase on your website, one of the quickest ways to get their feedback is through a Web Survey Popup. The experience is completely fresh in the customer’s mind and a quick survey with 1-2 questions is easy to answer for them while they are still on your website.

Other popular ways you can measure Customer Effort after Online Purchase or Transaction is by sending Email Surveys and SMS Surveys to customers.

2. Sending CES Surveys after Interaction with Customer Support Team
Ideal way to conduct CES Surveys: Email Surveys, SMS Surveys

After a Customer has interacted with your Customer Support Team, it becomes imperative to measure how their experience was and how easy the Customer Support Executive makes the resolution process for your customer.

The best way to trigger CES Surveys in this case is by integrating your CES Software with your Helpdesk Team and trigger a CES Survey as soon as a ticket is resolved or closed. This CES Survey can be sent via Email Surveys or SMS Surveys, based on whether you have Customer’s Email Address or Mobile Phone Numbers.

3. Measuring Customer Effort at Helpdesk
Ideal way to conduct CES Surveys: Tablets and kiosks, Website Feedback

You can get instant real-time feedback about the customers’ effort and experience immediately after service interaction or after a ticket has been closed, no matter whether your customers are in or out. 

In-Customers - You can handover the tablet to your in-customers or you can also set up a quick kiosk  service where customers can give their feedback. 

For example, In a bank, you can install a kiosk outside the customer care chamber. Post interaction with customer care agents, you can ask customers to give their feedback regarding their interaction. This provides you with the real-time customer experience data. 

Out-Customers - If your customers are not at your stores, you can distribute your survey either via Website Feedback or Email Survey. You can also schedule the trigger of CES surveys as per the situations and different customer touchpoints by integrating your CES Software with your help desk.

How to Evaluate your Customer Effort Score?

Customer Effort Score is really quite simple and straightforward and is also quite easy to analyze. To make it more effective and useful, a good idea is to use a CES Software to run surveys and give you analytics, in-depth survey reports.

Here are things you should keep in mind while evaluating and reading your Customer Effort Score Reports:

  1. View current CES with CES Meter Report: View your Customer Effort Score for a selected time period based on all the surveys filled. This CES Meter Report can usually be filtered by date and time, source of feedback, customer type, survey questions and more so you can evaluate your Customer Effort Score based on conditions.
  2. Understand CES over time with CES Trends Report: For any business, the important thing is improvement overtime. A CES Trends Report will plot how your Customer Effort Score has been over a period of time (week to week, month to month, quarter to quarter or year on year). You need to use this report and ensure that the CES Trends are moving upward, i.e. even if your score was bad earlier, which translates to high effort by customers, it should gradually be moving upwards.
  3. Using Text Analytics with CES Reports: If you’re using the open-ended feedback question after the CES question in your survey, referring to a Text Analytics report is really helpful. You will be able to easily see repeated words over different survey responses and see their corresponding Customer Effort Scores as well.

This is quite helpful. For instance, if the word ‘response time’ has been repeated multiple times with a negative Customer Effort Score, it indicates that most customers had an issue with the response time. 

Like every other survey and score, the important thing while measuring Customer Effort Score is to take action about the feedback received and closing the feedback loop. While measuring CES, your focus should be on continuously reducing customer effort and creating effortless experiences and processes for your customers. 

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