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Why Customer Effort Score is the Best Metric to Measure Customer Service


If you are associated with a contact center, you may have heard about the term CES or Customer Effort Score. This is a metric that has gained immense popularity lately as it measures the various transactions that sum up to create a good or bad customer experience.
Another metric that has gained popularity among contact centers and customer service departments is NPS or the Net Promoter Score – a metric to measure contact center’s customer experience in totality. However, it does not reflect what should be the focus area so that the results can be improved. For instance, when you tell your contact center’s director or the sales team that they have a low NPS score and need to fix it, the big question is what should be the starting point for them?

What is Customer Effort Score?

CES or Customer Effort Score challenges the conventional metrics on customer experience such as NPS and customer satisfaction. It is a metric that was initially introduced by Matthew Dixon and a few of his colleagues and was published in Harvard Business Review. CES believes in the principle that instead of striving to build up customer loyalty by surpassing the customer expectations, contact centers should try to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible so that they receive what they require.
The Customer Effort Score is calculated on the basis of one specific metric which is ‘How much effort a customer had to put in so that his request could be handled well?” The rating of CES varies on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 stands for extremely low effort and 5 is quite high effort. When customers have to put in a greater amount of effort than desired by them, they may leave. In other words, when the effort is high, it will equate to low customer loyalty. This can be monitored quite easily with the aid of CES.

Value of Customer Effort Score

  • CES has impressive predictive power

A study had been conducted on nearly 75,000 customers from various industries. About 94 percent of these respondents who had given less effort for completing a transaction with a contact center responded that they would repurchase a service or a product from that particular organization.

  • More actionable than NPS

CES is based on transactions and is more actionable than other metrics such as NPS. In case your company does not have satisfactory CES scores, you need to immediately find out at what stages are the contact management or call flow processes are acting as the friction points. That will help you to focus on methods so that customers can easily get what they require.

Improving CES in a Contact Center

If your contact center has a high CES score, it would indicate that your customers have to put in more efforts for resolving their issues. Here are some easy strategies so that an improvement framework can be provided.
#1. Current business processes should be carefully reviewed.
You should do a careful study of the different customer interaction data so that a concrete plan can be devised for handling the future issues well in advance.
#2. Build your organization’s road map by using technology and tools

  • Make sure that your IVR has a particular menu option that can route the queries to the most appropriate place.
  • Helps the agents of a contact center for quicker understanding of the issue so that customer need not have to take the effort of providing a detailed explanation of the issue.
  • An integrated system can be implemented that enables the contact center agents to record notes in detail and offer checkboxes so that it becomes easy to document those resolution steps that have been already taken by the customers. Such an application will ensure that customers do not repeat steps or avoid entering repetitive information.
  • If an omni-channel resolution has been implemented in a contact center, make sure that irrespective of the channel, the agents of your contact center have access to all the data so that it is easy to provide a smooth customer experience and the customers do not have to repeat their issue when the channel is changed by them.

#3. A proper strategy should be defined for reducing the CES. Thereafter, the strategy should be executed step-wise.
You need to focus on increasing customer loyalty, reducing CES and increasing sales for your contact center. Reduce your focus on the Key Performance Indicators and make sure that your approach towards customer focus is as personalized and simple as possible.
#4. Concentrate on negative feedback from customers.
When you focus on this data, you can have a right idea about the type of problems that are faced by your customers that increase their level of effort in problem resolution.


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