What is a good Customer Effort Score (CES)?

what is a good Customer Effort Score (CES)

The Customer Effort Score (CES) helps you track how effortless the interaction between your company and its customers is, at different points across the customer journey. The measurement addresses obstacles related to quality and ease of service and is best suited for customer support environments.

Related: Closing the feedback loop - A Zendesk survey integration

Even though the CES is one of the most reliable indicators of customer satisfaction and loyalty, benchmarking isn’t quite there yet.The fact, however, that 71% of customers terminate their relationship with a company due to poor customer service begs the question ‘What is a good Customer Effort Score?’. Unfortunately, there is no straight-forward answer. With that in mind, let’s dig a bit deeper to understand why.

Benchmarking the Customer Effort Score

Examine the distribution of the scores

The different available methods for measuring the CES create problems for benchmarking. CEB, the creator of the CES recommends that instead of looking at the average CES you should be looking at the distribution of the scores.

Related: Customer Effort Score calculation and analysis

Examining the CES against a normal distribution allows you to recognize pain points and detect areas for improvement:

“Looking at the distribution to understand areas of opportunity can be far more instructive than just considering how your average CES compares to others in your space.” (Effortless Experience, 160)

Compare against your NPS

Ever since its introduction, the CES has been gaining popularity because it places focus on the company’s performance when it comes to handling customer issues.

Based on the premise that reducing customer dissatisfaction yields more positive results than trying to increase customer satisfaction, the CES outperforms other metrics such as the Net Promoter® Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) in predicting customer behavior.

Research, however, shows that CES and NPS are complementary measures and the scores they produce correlate. The key takeaway here is, that the correlation between NPS and CES indicates you can utilize the many NPS benchmarking reports to gain some insights on how your CES stacks up. You should, therefore, consider using both measures in the same survey.

Stack up the CES against other operational metrics

Instead of looking at your CES in relation to how others in your industry perform use your own KPIs as a CES point of reference. Service organisations use the CES to account for the ease of customer interaction and issue resolution. The steps you take towards reducing the CES should therefore be mirrored in other operational metrics you track such as issue resolution times, repeat calls, transfers and channel switching etc.

So, what is a good Customer Effort Score?

The bottom line is that it’s difficult to find a reliable number to benchmark against your company’s CES. As a rule, the lower the average score the better because it reduces the chance of your customers seeking better service from your competitors.

Another rule of thumb indicates that, on a scale from 1 to 7, a good individual customer effort score is more than 5. A CES lower than 5 indicates that you need to reconsider customer service or product development practices.

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Keti Limani


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