What is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a customer service metric that measures user experience with a product or service. Your customers can rank his or her experience on a seven-point scale ranging from Very Difficult to Very Easy. This simple scale determines how much effort was needed to use the product or service and can inform you on how likely he or she will continue to pay for it.

A common case for CES surveys is immediately after an important service or product interaction (like creating an account or signing up for a trial period).

CES differs from other common polls like Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT), which are used more generally in order to gather information about your customers' satisfaction with your business. This means that you can use CSAT surveys more broadly by varying the topic you're asking about, but CES surveys need to refer to a specific event or circumstance that was instigated by your customer.

Most companies will use Customer Effort Score surveys immediately after a customer service event such as after an email support ticket has been resolved or after they read a blog article to determine how effective it was.

CES can also be used to measure the aggregate experience someone has with your brand, but because the question implies a discrete and isolated user experience, it is most often used to measure service or product level issues. This is opposed to something like Net Promoter Score (NPS) that asks a broader question: "How likely are you to recommend Your Company to a friend?"

There's no definitive standard for customer effort score; however, customer effort score is recorded on a numeric scale so naturally a higher score would represent a better user experience. Our suggestion is that on a standard seven point scale responses of five or higher should be considered good scores and an average of anything below five should give you pause to consider changes.

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