CES (Customer Effort Score): what it is and how to apply

3 min

What is CES and what is different from NPS

Born to prove that the concept of surprising the customer is not the main factor for customer loyalty, the Customer Effort Score (CES) or Customer Effort Index (CEI) recommends that the less effort the client has to fulfill his objectives, the greater the chances of brand loyalty. This is a specific satisfaction indicator for services, suitable for short-term analysis, that aims to monitor the Customer Experience, that is, the relationship between the company and its customers. We will talk more about these particularities.

Where and how the Customer Effort Score came into being

As well as the NPS (Net Promoter Score), CES had its first appearance in the HBR (Harvard Business Review) com o título Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers (“Stop trying to surprise your customers”). It was in August 2010 that Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman decided to “cause” by telling the world that everything they were doing and investing to surprise customers was meaningless. They stated that trying to surprise customers is very expensive and does not generate the expected loyalty.

Take care of the essentials in your Customer Experience

For this awareness, the authors invite us to compare how many times you have prioritized a company for its exceptional service and, mainly, how many times have you left a company due to a bad shopping experience, stating that the latter situation is a very common and recurrent practice in the lives of consumers.

Having the CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) it's the NPS (Net Promoter Score) like its predecessors, CES did not find a market in need of satisfaction indicators and therefore had to present a good reason to gain supporters. According to its creators, CES would in fact be the indicator with the highest correlation between repurchase and ticket increase. The result of this study is shown in the graph below:

Ability to forecast repurchases using Customer Effort Score

Where the CES should be applied?

An interesting argument proposed by the CES creators is to compare the two graphs below:

Reasons for customer loyalty

The percentages allocated are only illustrative, the researchers did not present real results for this comparison.

The graphs above demonstrate that the services do not have significant weight in the loyalty, but have a significant impact on abandonment (churn) from customers.

It is evident that the CES is an indicator designed to replace the CSAT in interaction points (touchpoints) involving services. Based on the arguments of the creators, it would be appropriate to apply the tool right after a conversation with the SAC (Customer attendance service), for example.

How to apply and calculate the Customer Effort Score

This indicator is composed of a (1) single question, but it can be applied in several processes that involve the customer, so you can do it more than once, adapting it according to specific interactions.

How to calculate the Customer Effort Score

The result is the percentage of respondents who chose “extremely easy” (1) added to those who chose “easy” (2).

Assessing customer satisfaction rates is essential for the consolidation and sustainability of the company. Thus, knowing and applying tools like CES is part of the path that leads to business success.

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