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Are your customers taking too much effort?

Market research 04 12
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Table of Contents


What is Customer Effort Score?

Customer effort score (CES) is a metric which is typically used to measure attributes about your product or service in regards to their bearing on Customer Experience. It helps understand how much effort a customer had to make in order to complete a task with your product or service. CES survey questions typically provide the respondent with a statement and ask them to choose their level of agreement with the statement. 

“Voxco made it easy for me to contact their customer service”, State your level of agreement with the same.

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Why CES can help your business

Why is tracking Customer effort scores important? Think about the last time you had to contact a brand’s customer service? Were their details provided easily within their software or on their packaging, or did you have to hunt through a labyrinth of menus to be able to speak to their customer service teams via text or telephone call?

The latter can be considered poor customer experience, and you would be well within your rights to leave them a poor review and take your business elsewhere.

Even if their customer service is able to resolve your issue quickly, you might be of the mind to switch brands simply because of the trouble caused. 

According to the CEB, reducing overall effort is the biggest factor in boosting customer loyalty, which is why CES surveys are invaluable.

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Implementing CES

The quality of insights that CES surveys can help you get depends on their implementation. A few key factors to keep in mind while leveraging CES surveys:

Choosing the right moment to survey

Customer effort scores are useful when collected after an interaction between customers and customer service. For most customer support teams, this happens when their clients are able to get a resolution and no follow up is initiated within 24-48 hours. These are critical checkpoints, and the time frame can represent customer effort required. However, CES can be used for a lot more than customer support insights.

After a transaction

“Company A made it easy for me to make a transaction”

After an interaction with customer support

“Company A made it easy for me to resolve my issue”

Ease of navigation

“Company A’s website/App made it easy for me to find what I was looking for”

Omnichannel possibilities

Depending on your offerings, the industry you operate in and your target audience, your Customer effort scores will differ for each channel that you deploy these surveys on. 

If your chat help is getting poor CES, then you need to make a call on whether this channel suits your business at any level. 

Let’s say you’re tracking your CES at multiple touchpoints, with good scores across the board. However, immediately after a transaction your scores are going down. That implies your transaction process needs to be simplified, and that your users are not having a positive purchase experience. 

Using CES with other metrics

For a holistic insight into your customer experience efforts, you need to combine CES surveys with other CX metrics like CSAT and NPS® . These will help uncover insights which are actionable and can help transform your customer journey.

For example, at a certain touchpoint, your CES might be good, but your CSAT scores are not. It tells you that although your customers don’t have to exert too much effort to achieve their goal, they are not satisfied with their overall experience at that touchpoint.

However, you need to keep survey fatigue in mind. You cannot place feedback forms everywhere or keep pestering your customers for surveys. You must plan out a survey schedule which keeps these factors in mind.

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Analyzing CES survey results

How do you get the most from the Customer Effort Score data you’ve collected? One Should not just stick CES surveys at a touchpoint and hope for the best. You must set up a robust process for CES surveys which can help gather and analyze data effectively. 

Gather insights internally

Track each functional area where customers have shared concerns about and where your customers seem to be spending the most amount of time. These key areas will be the touchpoints where you must focus your efforts on.

Research existing processes

Find out which processes in your customer journey require the maximum effort from your customers. Highlight specific steps which cause customer effort. 

Gather feedback

Place CES surveys after these key touchpoints and verify if your hypothesis about these areas being pain points is true. Survey feedback can also shed light on areas of concern which you may not have previously considered and may impact customer loyalty as well as customer acquisition. 

Add parameters 

When it comes to analyzing the data, export your results into a csv file. To give context to your analysis, you may also add columns which mention what department the CES survey response is coming from. 

Using excel, you may create a pivot table and then a graph to help highlight key areas of concern and share them with your stakeholders.

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Improving your CES

You should aim for an average score of 5. This is the point where customers find it easy enough to do business with you and will not be looking for alternatives at this point. When it comes to contacting your support, you should not make it too easy for your customers to get in touch either, as it can overwhelm your support teams with cases which are relatively simple to solve, and could have been addressed with a knowledge base entry or a chatbot.

You must work on touch points which have scored below 5, as those areas are clearly frustrating your customers. After making changes, you should let your respondents know that you’ve worked on their feedback – don’t wait for them to discover it on their own.

Once you’re certain you’ve made all changes required, you should wait a while and observe changes in customer behavior as well in CX metrics.

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