Customer Effort Score (CES) measures the amount of effort a customer needs to exert when they interact with a company. It is usually measured with a single question: rate how much effort was required to get a specific issue or request resolved.
To calculate CES, organizations divide the sum of all individual customer effort scores by the number of customers who responded. The more people who “Strongly Agree” with the statement, the higher the CES. To improve your Customer Effort Score, a number of factors need to be considered.
According to Gartner, the creators of the CES metric, companies should work to build low-effort experiences because effort is the driver with the strongest tie to customer loyalty. Research has shown that 96% of customers who experience a high-effort interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.
Repeating information, interacting a second time, experiencing ‘generic’ service, a lack of self-service, or having to exert additional mental effort to get an issue resolved all lower a company’s CES.
By analyzing CES over time, enterprises can identify the high-effort customer pain points that are bringing down the score and address them effectively.
When repeat calls are reduced to a minimum and escalations to the other departments become unnecessary, overall cost to serve is significantly reduced. In fact, Gartner reports that low-effort interactions cost 37% less than high-effort ones.
With the costs of employee turnover working out to as much as 2.5 times an employee’s salary, it makes perfect sense to take steps to reduce attrition. Empowering agents to deliver a better customer experience makes them feel better about their jobs, and their intent to remain in their roles increases by up to 17%.
Low effort is also a strong indicator of future purchase behavior. According to the HBR study, 94% of customers reporting low effort experience said they would repurchase from the company, with 88% saying they would even increase their spend. Gartner reports identical findings, noting that 94% of customers who had low-effort interactions intend to repurchase compared with 4% of those who experienced high-effort episodes.
Low effort means customers are more likely to recommend a company to their friends and colleagues. The Harvard Business Review reports that 81% of customers who experience a high-effort interaction say they would speak negatively about the company. Gartner research shows that top-performing low-effort companies have an NPS that is, on average, 65 points higher than top-performing high-effort businesses. In other words, it’s clear that a good customer effort score is a key element of retention.
Companies achieve good customer effort scores by finding ways to streamline the customer experience. A range of technologies can be employed to eliminate processes that waste a customer’s time or create duplicate work, including:
Interactive voice response (IVR) – this near-universal technology enables customers to interact with the company’s computer system through speech recognition and their phone keypad. IVR advises customers on how to proceed, routes queries to the appropriate departments and reduces wait times.
Self-service permits customers to help themselves when it’s most convenient. Self-service channels often include automated chat functionality for faster issue resolution and are integrated with regularly updated knowledge bases or FAQs sections, reducing contact center volumes through call deflection.
Visual assistance allows an agent or product expert to view a customer’s issue through their smart phone camera or by sharing their smart phone screen. This enables the agent to quickly diagnose the problem and visually guide the customer towards a solution. Visual assistance eliminates the long lists of questions and answers that agents traditionally used to get to the root of a problem.
When visual assistance is combined with self-service, it represents the best of both worlds and this approach is rapidly emerging as the next big thing in the CX domain.
Download the data sheet now to learn more about the benefits of visual assistance and the large-scale impact it can have on improving CES.