Hate it or love it, the world is full of acronyms. For customer support and success professionals, there are three that likely come up on a frequent basis: customer effort score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS®), and customer satisfaction (CSAT)—the primary customer success KPIs.

In terms of understanding and fostering customer loyalty, CES has proven particularly useful. According to Gartner, CES is “Customer effort is 40% more accurate at predicting customer loyalty as opposed to customer satisfaction.” And lowering customer effort is an effective way to build customer loyalty, something most decision makers are highly interested in. Loyal customers become brand advocates, product experts, and—most importantly—they renew.

Fair enough. But what, exactly, is customer effort score? And what are some of the ways that companies measure this telling customer success metric?

What is customer effort score?

Put simply, customer effort score measures a customer’s perception of how easy (or difficult) a company made it for them to complete some action. Buy a product. Resolve an issue. Register a product. Visit a website, even. The interactions to which CES can be applied are not limited to support.

Customer effort score (CES) measures a customer’s perception of how easy (or difficult) a company made it for them to complete some action.


How to measure customer effort score

Customer effort score surveys are delivered shortly after a given interaction. The survey itself is typically comprised of one simple statement, followed by the customer’s response. For example:

Please rate the extent to which you agree with the following statement: MindTouch made it easy to resolve my product issue

The question is followed by options ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, with variations in between. Some CES surveys are comprised of just a simple Yes/No response. Others include the option to type in a comment. By and large, companies measure customer effort alongside other customer success metrics, such as customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score® (NPS) to help identify self-service fails that are increasing customer effort and diminishing the customer experience.

Why is customer effort score so important?

Well, why do we pay attention to customer success metrics at all? Aside from measuring the efficacy of our internal teams, measuring CES provides meaningful insights into the customer experience.

The quest to improve customer effort score is seemingly never-ending, especially given the rise of new trends in customer success and CX. Here on our blog, we’ve explored the ways click navigation can help lower customer effort, as well as common self-service pitfalls that increase customer effort. How you go about it will of course depend on the nature of your business model, customer journey, and customer relationships.