Customer is the most important factor on which a company’s success depends. In today’s competitive environment, there can always be a company offering good services and experience to your customers if you fail to provide the same. That is why Customer Effort Score is important for a company.
What is the CES?
A customer effort score (CES) indicates how customers find it to do business with you by interacting with your company to get their work done or achieve their goals. It is a customer satisfaction metric with the core objective of solving customers’ issues in interacting with you and reducing those to boost customer retention.
CES is determined by surveys with your customers, where they have to rate their level of interaction on a scale ranging from very easy to very difficult. A high customer effort score indicates that customers find it easy to interact with your company, while a low CES means highly unhappy customers and high customer effort.
Importance of CES
Let’s check why CES is important and how it helps your business:
- Predicting Customer Loyalty- CES, along with Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), affects customer loyalty. Low CES shows high-effort service making your customer disloyal towards your company.
- Predicting Customer Purchase Behavior- CES helps a company to predict how likely its customers will purchase its products or services in the future.
- Likelihood of Customer Referral- Customers who are not happy or satisfied are most likely to share their bad experiences through reviews, resulting in negative word of mouth. The happier a customer is, the more likely they will refer your company.
- ROI in CES- Here are a few statistics that implicates why CES is important for businesses:
- CES predicts customer loyalty 1.8x more than CSAT and 2x more than NPS.
- 88% of Customers with high CES are likely to spend more.
- 94% of customers experiencing high CES are likely to repurchase.
How to Calculate CES?
Following are the steps to calculate CES:
The first step is to run a customer effort survey, which can be done through post-purchase email or on-page. The survey includes rating the company based on customers’ experience.
There are various methods that you can use to present the CES survey:
#1. The Likert Scale:
This is a text-based scale structured as “Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree.” It usually has a 5 to 7-point scale for customers to share their answers.
#2. The 1-10 Scale:
This method involves customers responding to a scale ranging from 1-10. If your question is about how easy or simple it was to do something to customers, the 7-10 range is associated with a positive response, while if your question is to rate the level of effort, the 1-3 range is associated with positive results.
#3. The 1-5 Scale: The scale numbered from 1 to 5 corresponds to Very Difficult, Difficult, Neither, Easy, and Very Easy.
#4. Emotions Face
It is a simple metric for customers to easily rate by associating effort level with Happy, Neutral, or Sad faces. This method allows customers to respond intuitively and quickly.
The next step is putting together a good CES question. You should not ask irrelevant questions to your customers. Format the question in the following two ways:
- Make a statement, like “How much you agree with the following statement,” which will go with the 1-7 Likert Scale.
- A direct question, for example, how much effort it took to solve your issue, which will go well with the emotions faces or 1-10/1-5 scale.
Now it’s time to determine when is the right time to send the CES survey.
- After the customer made an interaction that led to purchasing.
- Just after the customer interacted with the customer service.
- Right after any interaction, that can lead to a negative customer experience.
The last step is calculating CES based on the survey results. Now, the CES is calculated as follows:
Customer Effort Score (CES) = Sum of Customer Effort Score / Total Number of Responses
For example- If your company gets these responses 4, 5, 4, 3, 3, then CES would be
(4+5+4+3+3)/5 = 3.8
Then, your Customer Effort Score is 3.8
Factors Affecting CES
The customer effort score is directly proportional to the number of clicks it takes for a customer to complete a task. Following are a few factors that directly impact CES:
- Lengthy checkout process- Customers dislike filling long forms involving cart information, shipping, billing, etc., which increases their effort and hence impacts CES.
- Poor customer support- The longer customer has to wait for their query or issue to be resolved, the more effort they have to make.
- Poor post-purchase experience- Providing a good customer experience post-purchase is equally important as pre-purchase. If you neglect this factor, your business will fail to retain your customers and might get bad feedback.
Strategies to Improve CES
High CES can badly impact your business resulting in losing customers. Businesses should implement various strategies to improve their customer effort score through multiple factors, strategies, accurate resources, and manpower.
Here are a few proven strategies that can help a business to improve customer effort score:
#1. Build a customer-centric culture
Businesses that are driven by customers are constantly improving their services to increase customer satisfaction. A customer-centric culture encourages businesses to provide a positive customer experience at every customer journey stage. The customer service team should be trained to listen to customers and be aligned with the goal.
Here are a few examples through which you can cultivate customer-driven culture:
- Customer Loyalty Programs: Through this strategy, brands can reward customers with loyalty programs to retain them. The reward can be based on their frequent transactions, years completed with the company, etc.
- Customer Reviews: Customer service must be trained to listen to customers regardless of the positive or negative feedback they are giving. Take action to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
- Quick response time: Ensure you respond to your customers as soon as possible to assure them that you care for them and that their queries will be resolved. When customers get a response, and their query is solved quickly, they are more likely to build a good image of the company.
- Responding to negative feedback: Yes, responding to negative feedback is equally important, which most businesses fail at. Instead of panicking whenever you get a negative review, just focus on closing the feedback loop and strategizing to reduce its impact.
#2. Easily reachable by customers
Customers are highly satisfied when they can reach you quickly through any medium they prefer for their query or issue. One way to satisfy customers is by providing omnichannel support allowing customers to reach through any channel and get help for their issues or queries.
Here are a few examples through which you can make it easy for customers to reach you:
- Social media customer service: One of the mediums customers prefer to contact brands is social media. Offering social media customer service will allow customers’ queries to be resolved quickly through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Offering customer self-service: Businesses should provide customer self-service options by providing frequently asked questions or chatbots to help customers solve their issues independently.
#3. Improving customer service
Customer service acts as a direct connection between your brand and customers. Providing top-notch customer service is essential to gain and retain customers.
Here are a few examples through which a business can improve customer service:
- Improve First Contact Resolution: First Contact Resolution indicates how often customers get their queries solved on their first interaction with the company. Contacting multiple times and still not getting their issue or queries solved can negatively impact customers. Improving the First Contact Resolution by training agents, replying to customers asap, etc., will improve CES.
- Collecting context: Asking customers their queries multiple times is very irritating and shows how irresponsible your company is towards its customers. Implement a system where your customer’s queries would get forwarded automatically if needed, and the support team gets all the information they need to help your customers.
- Customer service performance evaluation: Good customer service is essential not just for retaining customers but for increasing sales as well. Both existing customers and your prospects have questions that need to be addressed professionally and quickly.
#4. Understand your customer
Understanding your customer is key to providing good customer service and thus building strong customer relationships. Knowing your customers better will improve customer satisfaction and get more leads and new sales through positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
Here are a few ways through which a business can understand or know its customers better:
- Customer profiling: The goal of customer profiling is to identify, describe, and segment customers based on their behavior, characteristics, personalities, buying habits, and other variables. It is mainly focused on understanding customers’ needs and pain points.
- Lead with empathy: Responding to customers with empathy will improve customer satisfaction as they will feel understood, cared and respected. It will lead to a positive customer experience.
- Accountability: Take accountability for any missteps that have caused your customers inconvenience.
Customer Effort Score – A Complete Guide
This is a complete guide for anyone who wants to identify customer effort score challenges and help to find better solutions for them. It includes content that defines, create, design, and implement CES strategy in the best possible way. It helps businesses to create a streamlined process to improve and maintain good CES.
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What you are going to find inside:
- All tools required to self-assess customer effort score.
- It features new and updated case-based questions.
- It includes seven core levels of CES maturity.
- It will help you identify areas where improvements can be made.
If you are a business owner, manager, consultant, etc., the guide will train you to self-analyze and ask the right questions to increase ROI on customer effort scores.
Overall, the Customer Effort Score is a great way to view how your company is being perceived by your customers and also how much effort your customers are willing to put into their interactions with you.
You should implement a CES survey so that customer responses are detailed and data processing is simplified. If the CES strategy is implemented correctly, it will result in increased customer experience and, ultimately, customer retention.