Effort Score (CES)

When our job is complete, your customers feel easy, smooth and effortless at the end.

Effort Score (CES)

When our job is complete, your customers feel easy, smooth and effortless at the end.

What is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

There is no denying that Customer Satisfaction is at the heart of every successful business venture and measurement of Customer Satisfaction is imperative to identify your business’s success & growth proportion (respectively) Naturally, surveys are conducted at the end of a support session to get customer feedback in order to analyze their individual & later cumulative Customer Satisfaction Ratio. Similarly, CES Survey is the latest trend in identifying Customer Satisfaction and since its inception, this Metric has been immensely popular in all sorts of small, medium, & largesize enterprises. CES is slightly different from other Customer Satisfaction measurement methodologies (surveys). However, akin to them where CES has its advantages, it also has some limitations to it.

Here, we will describe the use of CES Survey & that even with its limitations CES is the most suitable KPI (Key Performance Indicator) in current consumer environment to effectively identify Customer Satisfaction Ratio (depending on your end-goals).

CES (Customer Effort Score) is the identification of Customer Satisfaction with a targeted question immediately after a Touchpoint


Customer Effort Score was first introduced by an HBR (Harvard Business Review) article with a key focus on the aspect that reducing customer effort is associated to building a Brand Loyal consumer-base, which in return is a great indicator for identifying retention ratio & lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. In fact, these two aspects (Customer Retention Ratio & Lifetime Value) are the exact reason behind the overwhelming popularity & adoption of this (CES) Customer Service Metrics. CES is a scale based survey with a single targeted question much like this (with some variations):

Much like the mentioned HBR article, recent studies have shown in great depth that measuring your customers’ satisfaction alone cannot help you determine their loyalty ratio nor satisfied customers represent a loyal consumer-base. In simpler terms, it is not guaranteed even if your customers are satisfied with your services that they will not go somewhere else if that is offered something of more value.

However, identification of Customer Loyalty Factor is an entirely different matter, i.e. if your customer loyalty ratio is high, you can rest assured that your customers would not go anywhere else and will also produce future opportunities for you in the form of Referrals as well as by conducting business with you again. And since reducing customer effort is linked to increased customer loyalty, a Customer Effort Survey (CES) would be much more appropriate in terms of measuring their loyalty.


CES is a relatively novel metric and its true potential, as well as all limitations, are yet to be identified. However, due to nature of CES & greater customer response ratio in regards to this metrics, it can be used to measure the cumulative experience of a customer with your organization along with the feasibility to measure their discrete experiences (the latter approach is more widely preferred and used). Typically, CES is used by the product and customer services teams.

While CSAT surveys are conducted at regular intervals their effectiveness is limited, for instance, they will only provide you a general view of the customer satisfaction aspect of your consumer-base. On the contrary, CES is a targeted metric and therefore by proper utilization you would be able to get insights pertaining to a particular interaction of any of your customers. Thus, to maximize its efficiency, organizations use CES after a specific Touchpoint to identify separate & later cumulative customer satisfaction ratio

This can be conducted after a customer had tried to troubleshoot an issue by using the available step-by-step guide on your website or after a particular issue of the customer has been resolved. To differentiate a CSAT & CES more, it would be more appropriate to state that CES surveys are conducted after a customer had initiated an event explicitly, meanwhile, CSAT surveys can be conducted anytime and they may vary, depending on the cause to conduct that survey.

It is pertinent to mention that, CES can also vary as well, for instance, something like “How helpful was this session” or “Were you able to easily resolve your issue”, but the underlying principle is same, i.e. it is an automated process & conducted after a particular Touchpoint with a predefined scale that may range from something like “1 to 10” to something more appropriate like “really easy to really hard” in order to measure customer satisfaction for the purpose of determining their loyalty proportion.

Advantages & Limitations


  • Identifies Customer Loyalty Ratio, thus making it possible to determine their future return ratio
  • Its focus on touchpoints makes it a highly actionable metric
  • Improved Referral Ratio, due to increased customer loyalty
  • Customers are more likely to conduct a CES Survey due to its single question approach


Inability to segment consumer-base depending on customer type

No insight regarding a customer’s overall relationship with an organization

Inability to get comprehensive customer feedback

Ease of use is a crucial factor for an enhanced Customer Experience and as stated above, CES is mostly preferred by Customer service & Product teams because of this precise factor. User Experience & User Interface are two critical components of a product in the modern-era and to determine how your customers are feeling in response to a new feature or change in the User Interface of your product, their feedback is essential and CES survey rationalize this process to a great extent by identifying how customers are reacting to this change. Are they happy with this change, frustrated, or simply lost because they can’t figure out how this new change in the product benefits them?

In some aspects, CES is similar to another novel but decisive Customer Service Metrics, NPS (Net Promoter Score), also preferred by many organizations mainly because of the rationale that akin to CES it is simple to use & analyze (respectively). Meanwhile, at the same instance, in contrast to CES that focuses on identifying issues regarding Customer Experience, NPS is used to ask a more open-ended question from the customers, such as, “Would you recommend us to someone?” and then subsequently use customers response to segment them into categories (Defectors, Passives, & Promoters). However, still, the simple to use & analyze factor make metrics like NPS & CES highly actionable.

Moreover, customers are also more likely to conduct a CES survey rather than a CSAT survey, simply because CES Surveys are simple & straightforward (defined scales) while CSATs are tailored depending on the situation and the team using it (Sales Team, Marketing Team, or Product Team) and hence require more effort from the customer. And because increased customer effort is linked to greater churn ratios, which further highlight the dislike of your customers for performing tasks that require extra effort from their part, the chances of them conducting a CES survey are far greater than a CSAT survey, mainly because of this same exact reason, increased customer effort.

Finally, Customer Effort Score (CES) is not an all-in-one Customer Satisfaction Measurement Metrics, even if the reason behind its popularity is justifiable, i.e. that it is an excellent metric to determine customer loyalty ratio. Therefore, to get a better knowledge of your customer’s taste and understand what kind of Customer Satisfaction Survey best resonates with their desires, it is recommended that you should initially use multiple kinds of surveys. This experimentation will better equip you regarding the taste of your current consumer-base as well as will help you prepare for your future prospects.

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