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How to Calculate Customer Effort Score? (With Examples)

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a customer service metric that measures the effort your customers have to put into a certain interaction with you to achieve a goal. CES is measured by asking a simple question "How easy was it to interact with us?” Customers rank their experience on a seven-point scale ranging from "Very Difficult" to "Very Easy."

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In this article, we explore how to calculate Customer Effort Score with a simple formula. But before that, let's go through the brief history of CES. 

How Was Customer Effort Score Developed?

Poor customer experience increases disloyal customers, as a result, they either leave the website or provide negative reviews. According to Gartner, it seems that around 96% of consumers that reported having difficulty solving a problem were more disloyal. Customer Effort Score gained immense popularity in 2010 when the Harvard Business Review published an article titled "Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers."

In this article, they’ve laid emphasis on the importance of the customer effort score calculation and evaluation since CES is the major performance indicator when it comes to customer service and customer query resolution. 

Let's move on to understanding how to measure and calculate customer effort score. 

How to Measure Customer Effort Score?

When measuring Customer Effort Score, using a CES survey two notable issues made CES difficult for global organizations to use as a benchmark: 

  • Participants/respondents didn’t always correctly interpret both the Customer Effort Score Question and the answer.
  • Word ‘effort’ does not translate well into other languages leading to confusion in some geographic locations.

These limitations led to the inception of CES 2.0. This CES 2.0 version was released in the year 2013. CES 2.0 introduced the 7-level answer scale to make it easier to gauge customers’ efforts. You can measure CES by surveying customers with a simple customer effort score question:

“To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The company made it easy for me to handle my issue?”

Customers are usually provided with a scale ranging from 1-7 to rate their effort experience:

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Somewhat Disagree

4 = Undecided

5 = Somewhat Agree

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly Agree

This is also known as CES 2.0. Here in this scale range, a 1-3 segment (Strongly Disagree to Somewhat Disagree) will be associated with negative results, whereas the 5-7 segment (Somewhat Agree to Strongly Agree) represents positive results.

Customer Effort Score Survey Templates

Zonka Feedback offers pre-built templates to calculate Customer Effort Score like Post Transaction Survey, Product Purchase Experience Survey, etc. Check out these ready-to-use CES survey templates for different use cases: 


How to Calculate & Evaluate Customer Effort Score

Zonka Feedback, a CES Survey tool comprises the default CES question templates that follow a general approach to calculating customer effort scores. You do not need a dedicated CES calculator; a simple CES formula does the trick. 

CES Formula 

Customer Effort Score = Sum of all Customer Effort Scores ÷ Total number of respondents.

Customer Effort Score Formula - Zonka Feedback

For Example:

If you get 12 responses: 3, 7, 5, 3, 7, 7, 6, 5, 7,7, 7, 7.

So, the customer effort score = Addition of all customer effort scores ÷ Total number of respondents.

CES = (3+7+5+3+7+7+6+5+7+7+7+7) ÷ (12)

(71) ÷ (12)

Therefore, your Customer Effort Score = 5.9

What is a Good Customer Effort Score?

CES allows customers to rate their effort experience on a scale ranging from 1 to 7. Scale 1-3 segment (Strongly Disagree to Somewhat Disagree) will be associated with negative results, whereas the 5-7 segment (Somewhat Agree to Strongly Agree) represents positive results. A good Customer Effort Score is 5 or more.

Learn more about the Customer Effort Score (CES)


Written by Archit

Jan 24, 2020

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