A customer effort score (CES) is a metric that measures the effort required to reach a target customer. It takes into account both the effort and cost of getting new customers, as well as the retention rate of existing customers.

What is the Customer Effort Score?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric used to measure the effort that a customer has put into completing a purchase. It is calculated by taking the number of steps involved in the purchase and adding them up.

A customer effort score is also a way of assessing customer satisfaction by considering all aspects of the customer experience. It can be measured by interviewing customers about their satisfaction with their experience or by surveying them about how satisfied they are with the company’s services.

For example, if you want to know whether your new product is selling well, you could ask customers what they think of it. You can also use the CES to see if your current customers are satisfied with their experience, or whether you need to make changes in order to keep them coming back for more.

Read: Customer Experience: Examples, Strategy & Improvement Tips

The customer effort score is calculated by taking the total number of steps involved in making a purchase and multiplying it by the average number of steps required per step. The average number of steps per step depends on how complicated the product is. Whether it requires additional steps to complete, or if there are any other factors that may increase or decrease the effort required to complete a purchase (e.g shipping costs).

History of Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a new metric for measuring customer experience. It was developed in 2010 by CEB, the Center for Customer Insights, and it’s been used to measure customer satisfaction levels since then.

According to CEB, in a research published in the book, the Effortless Experience, the researcher states that “96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.” Disloyal customers are likely to cost the company more — they spread negative word of mouth and cease future purchases.

Read: Customer Dissatisfaction: The Ultimate Guide

The CES is calculated by analyzing all interactions between a customer and a brand or service provider over time. It also includes any factors that might affect those interactions. The number is based on four categories: 

  • Ease of purchase/purchase process
  • Communication during purchase/service interactions
  • Speed of response after purchasing/service request, and 
  • Ease of follow-up when problems arise.

When to Use CES VS Other Customer Experience Metrics

Customer Effort Score (CES) is one of the most popular metrics used by marketers today because it measures what consumers actually do in order to make purchases. There are many other metrics that marketers use to measure how customers feel about their experience with a brand or product, but CES is unique in that it measures how much work customers put into completing their purchases.

The CES does not take into account the time it takes for customers to complete tasks, so it can be used as an alternative to other metrics such as CSAT and NPS.

This metric is useful for measuring trends in customer experience as it doesn’t rely on responses from previous customers.

Read: Customer Segmentation: Types, Strategy, + [Analysis]

CSAT and NPS are two other customer experience metrics that can be used to measure customer satisfaction. In contrast to CES, they require more specific information about how a customer arrived at your site and how they interacted with your product or service before making a purchase.

A customer effort score can be used as a measure of customer satisfaction, but it should not be used in isolation from other metrics. Customer experience scores such as the Customer Satisfaction Assessment Technique (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) should be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of an e-commerce or service provider’s marketing strategy.

Why CES Matters

Customer Effort Score (CES) matters because it is a metric that can be used to measure the effort a customer puts into completing a task. The higher the CES, the more effort was required to complete the task.

Customer Effort Score (CES) is an important metric because it can help businesses understand how engaged customers are with their products. According to research, “customers who achieve high scores on this metric spend more time on average with your product and are likely to recommend it.” 

Read: 15 Best Customer Service Software In 2022 

Implications of High and Low CES Scores 

The main implication of high and low CES scores is that they help organizations see where their customers are unsatisfied, what they need, and how they can improve. When you have a high CES score, your customers are saying that your team is doing a good job. Either by responding to them quickly and effectively when they have questions or concerns. When you have a low score, it means that you’re not doing enough to help them.

How to Calculate Your Customer Effort Score

When you’re trying to gauge your company’s customer effort, calculating the Customer Effort Score (CES) can be an effective way to measure a company’s performance.

The CES score is calculated by finding the average of all responses. This means, taking the total sum of responses and dividing it by the total number of survey respondents. Here is the equation: (Total sum of responses) ÷ (Number of responses) multiply by 100 = CES score.

For example, if a company has 10 customer interactions and 30 customer touchpoints. Their CES would be 30/10 * 100 = 300%. If they have 20 interactions and 40 touchpoints, their CES would be (20+40)/2 * 100 = 250%.

Read: How to Calculate Lifetime Value of a Customer (Free LTV calculator + examples)

CES is a great metric because it helps you understand how much value your customers are getting from each interaction. You’d find out where you stand against your competitors. It’s also helpful in determining whether you need to make changes to your processes or product offerings.

How & When to Collect Feedback Necessary to Calculate CES

Once you’ve made a purchase or signed up for a subscription, you can use the CES survey to collect feedback from your customers about their experience with your product or service. You can also use it to measure how satisfied your customers are throughout their lifecycle with your product or service.

After a purchase: After you’ve completed an order and received the product, ask them to fill out an online survey asking them questions like “How satisfied were you with our services today?” or “How would you rate your overall experience? Is there anything we could do better?” 

After a subscription sign-up: When someone signs up for your newsletter or trial period, ask them if they have any questions about what they’re getting in exchange for signing up. Ask them if they think this product will fit their needs.

How to Use the CES Metric

  • Gather Customer insights: You can use the CES metric to measure how much effort your team is spending on gathering customer insights, like feedback surveys and interviews. The more often you ask questions and listen to customers, the more accurate your data will be.
  • Create customer journey mapping: Once you’ve gathered customer feedback, you should map out their journey with this product or service. Find out where they are today, what they want next, etc. So that you can understand how they’re using it and what problems they might have encountered along the way.
  • Create a service blueprint: Once you understand where customers are in their lifecycle with your product or service. It’s time to create a service blueprint that outlines how you plan on serving them over time. This is so that their needs are met appropriately at each step of the way.

Use This: Free Customer Request Form Template

Common Ways to Improve the CES Score 

Focus on Making it Easy to Do Business

Customers expect businesses to offer convenient ways for them to reach their goals. So businesses should make sure they are accessible via phone or computer as often as possible. A good example of this might be allowing customers to call in via an automated system rather than having an operator take calls directly.

Anticipate the Next Issue and Solve it Preemptively

Customers don’t always know what they need until they see it in front of them, that’s why it’s important for businesses to anticipate issues before they arise. They can do this by planning ahead and keeping track of potential problems before they happen. This way, solutions can be offered up quickly once there’s a problem.

Review Customer Feedback for Actionable Insights

This is another way you can improve your CES score by identifying problems that need fixing ASAP and then taking action. Especially if they give specific examples of what went wrong or how much time it took them to resolve issues. 

Try For Free: Customer Satisfaction Survey Template

How Formplus Helps with Building CES Surveys

When you’re a company in the business of providing customer engagement and satisfaction software, it’s important to have a system in place for gauging your customers’ satisfaction. You need an easy way to collect feedback from your customers and analyze what they say so that you can improve your service.

That’s where Formplus software comes in. Formplus offers the ability to build customer surveys on the fly, so you don’t have to worry about creating or editing the survey or worrying about who will be filling out the survey. 

The software also allows you to keep track of who filled out which survey and when, which is helpful if you want to know how many people filled out each one and what their responses were like.


CES has been around for years, but it’s only recently gained widespread acceptance as a useful performance metric. The good news is companies and anyone can use CES to know how customers feel about their products or services and what they think will happen in the future. 

  • busayo.longe
  • on 8 min read


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