how to measure customer effort score tape measure

What is Customer Effort Score?

Customer Effort Score is a simple way of measuring how customers feel about the effort it took for them to interact with your company’s service or support team. The original premise comes from the book The Effortless Experience.

We’re big fans of the Effortless concept (our service was created entirely to reduce customer effort filling in surveys), and we wrote this review of the book just recently.

Its creators claim it is more indicative of both increased likelihood of spending and increased likelihood of loyalty amongst customers.

Several of our largest global customers measure a variation on ease or effort with great success, using Customer Thermometer. There’s a case study here on how this is being done successfully.

How to choose the right question to ask

In our experience, the key to success is ensuring the question you ask of your customers makes as much sense as possible. The recipient has to to be engaged as possible.

We’ve seen examples where the CES question is phrased similar to “The organization made it easy for me to handle my issue.” That feels rather alienating and isn’t going to get you a great response rate and overall result. It’s just not a ‘human’ enough way of interacting with someone. You’d look at them strangely if they asked you that question face to face – so don’t do it via email!

We’d suggest going for a more meaningful question, with the same intent, but as personalized as possible.

So a question like “Did we make it easy for you to handle your issue today?” or even more personal, saying “Did Lindsay make it easy for you to handle your issue today?” tends to boost engagement and response rates.

This is how we do it, using a simple 1-click Outlook signature:

Embedded one click survey

How to measure Customer Effort Score

To measure Customer Effort Score, you ask your customers a question along the lines of “how easy was it to deal with our company today?” or “how easy was it to get the help you wanted today?

You then subtract the percentage of people who said “easy” from the percentage of those who said “difficult”.

Those who were in the middle are ignored for the purposes of the calculation.

Measure customer effort score question

So, imagine 500 customers responded to your question, and 234 said ‘easy,’ 101 said ‘difficult’ and the rest expressed no opinion or said neither. To get your Customer Effort Score you’d subtract the 20.2% who said difficult (101/500 x 100) from the 46.8% who said easy (234/500 x 100) to get a CES of 26.6

A simple way to measure Customer Effort Score via email

One of the great ironies of CES measurement is that many organizations are forced to send out a separate email to measure it – thereby increasing customer effort just to answer a survey!

Customer Thermometer’s one click solution allows you to embed the question right in the email you send (whether that email is sent from Outlook, Salesforce, Zendesk, Eloqua or other systems. Check out our list of email systems you can embed our survey in.), That makes it a simple (and effortless!) click for the customer to give you feedback.

Pitfalls to look out for

The really important thing about CES (or any other similar measure) is how you use it.

Embracing it within the business, using customer feedback to train staff and reduce customer effort – these are things that change customer experience. Not the act of measurement itself.

Get measuring CES in under 5 minutes.

Grab a free Customer Thermometer account now
and start measuring Customer Effort Score today