Understanding Customer Effort Score – A Key Metric for Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Referrals
Customer Effort Score (CES) is an important metric that highlights the ease customers interact with your service. It’s closely linked to satisfaction, loyalty, and referrals. CES surveys typically ask buyers to rate the ease of their experience on a scale of 1-10. It’s easy to deploy and collect and complements NPS for customer service teams and UI/UX testing for product teams.
Customers with significant experience with your company are likelier to purchase products from you again and spread the word about your greatness. This can majorly impact your bottom line since keeping an existing customer is much cheaper than acquiring new ones.
In what is a customer effort score, customer Effort Score, or CES, is a great metric to measure your customer satisfaction. This metric measures how easy it is for your customers to use your product or service, whether purchasing something, getting help with a problem, or using a feature. It can be measured by asking your customers to rate their experience on a numbered scale, Likert scale, or even with emoticons.
Unlike NPS, which asks customers to recommend your brand, products, or services to friends and colleagues, CES focuses on how easy it is for customers to interact with your business. It’s important to note that a high CES doesn’t necessarily mean a company has excellent customer service, and that’s why it’s crucial to use CES alongside NPS to get a holistic view of how your customers feel about your brand.
Both CES and NPS are famous customer satisfaction metrics because they provide vital insights about team performance and customer happiness and can illuminate strengths and weaknesses that affect big-picture goals like growing revenue and retention. But they can also miss a key component of customer loyalty: how easy your customers find it to do business with you.
Many companies are focused on tracking metrics like customer satisfaction and loyalty. These are important to follow and can help you understand the health of your business. However, they don’t tell the entire story. Customers are quick to switch brands, especially after a bad experience. It could take a dozen good experiences to overcome one bad interaction with your brand.
Customers who feel loyal to your brand are more likely to keep purchasing from you and to recommend your products or services to others. This type of behavior can be challenging to measure. However, your churn rates and recent account upgrades show signs of loyalty.
The metric getting the most attention these days is the customer effort score or CES. This metric was introduced by Matt Dixon, a senior leader at CEB (now Gartner). Dixon and his team set out to create a customer experience metric with more predictive power than CSAT and NPS, which had already gained popularity.
They found that the most successful metric was the one that measured how hard or easy it was for a customer to interact with your brand. They also found that a high customer effort score was correlated with disloyalty, meaning that customers who had to exert a lot of effort were much more likely to churn than those who didn’t have to.
You will want to maintain a high customer retention rate as your business grows. Retaining current customers is a cost-effective way to grow your business because it decreases your spending on advertising and marketing while increasing your customer lifetime value (LTV).
A low customer retention rate will likely lead to a decline in your revenue. Whether your product is subscription-based or not, retaining users is vital for your business. You can measure customer retention by subtracting the number of customers you lost during a given period from the total number of new and returning customers.
One of the critical reasons that customer retention is so necessary is that it is a better indicator of future behavior than other CX metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS). The Customer Effort Score was first introduced by Matt Dixon at the Corporate Executive Board in 2008, and his claim to fame was that customers want reliable low-effort service more than they do special perks or ‘delightful experiences,’ as argued by NPS proponent Fred Reichheld.
However, a few limitations of the CES metric should be kept in mind. It does not capture the emotional context of a customer’s interaction or indicate overall satisfaction with your company. For this reason, it is essential to deploy a full suite of CX surveys that includes various questions related to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Customer referrals are one of the best ways to grow your business. Referrals are often based on a person’s direct experience working with your company. They can be powerful social proof to encourage potential customers to try your product. When an existing customer refers a new customer, it’s essential to ensure that your process for capturing the recommendation is as easy as possible.
Ideally, the entire process should be done online and automated so that it’s as easy as possible for the person who is being referred to submit their information. This will make the entire process more efficient and reduce customer effort. A straightforward and easy-to-use online process will also help build trust with potential customers, making them more likely to purchase your product or service.
The calculation of your CES score can vary depending on the type of survey you use, but most will have some variation of the general formula: Sum of all ratings / Number of respondents.
While the customer effort metric can tell you which processes are causing friction, it doesn’t explain why those experiences are challenging. To get that kind of data, you’ll need to invest in additional research, such as asking follow-up questions in surveys or polling, performing usability testing, and conducting interviews.