What is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Customer effort score (CES) is a measurement of how much work a customer had to put into a recent interaction with a business. In other words, how easy or difficult is an organization to do business with? In the context of customer service, the customer effort score (CES) measures the amount of effort a customer had to expend to get an issue resolved or a question answered. Things like being transferred to multiple agents, having to repeat information and having to switch channels will increase effort and therefore likely lower a business's customer effort score (CES).

Customer effort score (CES) is a relatively new measurement - less than ten-years-old. It was popularized by the 2010 HBR article "Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers," in which the authors presented research results that show ease of effort is a much better indicator of loyalty than over-the-top service. Frills are nice, but making things easy is better. Not only does a high customer effort score (CES) predict loyalty, but it's also a strong predictor of future purchasing behavior as well as likelihood to recommend a business to friends and family.

However, customer effort score (CES) isn't a silver bullet of measurements. It typically measures a single service interaction. Therefore, customers may have one atypically bad experience, but still love the business. Because of this shortcoming, customer effort scores need to be used in conjunction with other metrics, such as customer satisfaction and Net Promoter scores, to get a more holistic view of what customers think and feel about an organization.

A customer effort score (CES) is acquired by asking customers one simple question, typically something like, "To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The company made it easy for me to solve my problem." (Source: Gartner) Customers rate the question on a seven point scale, with 7 being Strongly Agree and 1 being Strongly Disagree. The best time to ask this question is immediately following a contact center interaction. Contact center software can automatically pose the question to callers or send a survey via email, making the calculation of a customer effort score (CES) very easy.

How NICE can help

NICE CXone is the market leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Our solutions include tools that automate the surveying process, making the calculation of a customer effort score (CES) a snap. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable to drive measurable improvements and understand the omnichannel experience customers receive. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management..

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – leading-edge, intuitive technology that eliminates mundane tasks and speeds resolutions of customer issues for better business outcomes. It provides self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated alerts and actions.

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic call center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.