Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are two of the most common metrics used by contact center professionals to gauge the effectiveness of customer service teams. When used together, CSAT and NPS provide valuable information about customer retention, revenue growth and more. Despite their importance, however, these scores can overlook an important key to customer experience: how much effort customers have to put in to get issues resolved.

Research has shown that a more accurate predictor of customer loyalty is Customer Effort Score (CES). While CSAT asks customers to rate the quality of a specific experience, and NPS asks customers how likely they are to recommend a company on a scale of 0 to 10, CES measures customer service more holistically. For example, instead of asking customers to rate the agent who helped them, CES focuses on the process customers go through when seeking help.

If your customers have to call your support line multiple times before reaching someone, or if they regularly search a knowledge base for articles only come up empty-handed, their mounting frustration will likely result in customer churn. However, you can help prevent this by asking the right questions in order to catch the procedural gaps that lead to churn.

Measuring Customer Effort Score
You can easily fit CES into your existing customer feedback program by simply adding a question to your customer service survey. How you form that question will depend on your company and goals, but common examples are: “How easy was it to deal with our company today?”; “How easy was it to get the help you wanted today?”; or “How much effort did you have to put in while purchasing at a store?” There are several ways to determine the score. You can either take an average of the scores or, try something like the NPS method.

Benefits of CES
Measuring CES provides many benefits, including:

  • Predicting growth: According to a Harvard Business Review article, 94 percent of customers who noted a low-level effort during a transaction also said they would buy again. Furthermore, 88 percent said they would spend even more next time. Conversely, 81 percent of customers who noted high-level effort said they were likely to give negative feedback on the business to friends and family.
  • Planning strategy: CES results can quickly identify areas that require a lot of customer effort, which in turn can allow companies to quickly make changes to transaction processes.
  • Objective feedback: Because CES asks customers to evaluate their own effort, it avoids the emotional influences that come with staff evaluations. CES provides a more concrete and objective evaluation.
  • Complementary: Because CES focuses mainly on loyalty, it complements other satisfaction indicators like NPS and CSAT, which measure different aspects of customer satisfaction. Essentially, you add a new layer of customer feedback to inform your data. With this added context, it’s easier to identify the processes that are lacking and take steps to quickly improve them.

When to Measure Customer Effort
Customer effort is particularly relevant when supporting customers over multiple channels. In fact, the goal of omni-channel service is to reduce friction between channels to minimize customer effort. While CES can provide meaningful insights at any stage of your customer’s journey, it is especially useful after these key customer touchpoints:

  • Customer service interactions (phone, live chat, email, social media, in-person, etc.)
  • Purchases or sales interactions
  • Program or service sign-ups
  • Website visits
  • Online checkouts

Customer loyalty drives business forward, and CES is a valuable tool to understand what drives customer loyalty. Research has shown that low-effort experiences are highly predictive of customer loyalty, while high-effort experiences correlate with customer churn. CES measurements can quantify this key element of the customer experience that is too often overlooked or missed altogether.

You can further enhance your feedback program through the use of Optimum CX analytics dashboards, which track key metrics alongside one another. Here you can view CSAT, NPS, CES, and other metrics in one place for a constant, real-time view of customer feedback. To learn more, contact Optimum CX today.