Now you know more about the importance of using KPI’s such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) when collecting the Voice of the Customer, we will explain two other much used customer centric KPI’s. These are CES (Customer Effort Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score). Which KPI measures what and what will it deliver? In this blog you will find out.

CES (Customer Effort Score): how much effort a customer has to put in

What does CES mean? The Customer Effort Score is a customer centric KPI that tells you how your client experiences the service you deliver. The main issue in the CES score, is how easy you can make your customer’s experience when they have a question or a complaint. Customers don’t want to put much effort into having a question answered or a problem solved. CES shows how much effort the customer feels he must put in to be served. The central question is:

‘How much effort did you have to put in to get [your question] completely answered?’

Respondents answer the CES question on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (a lot of effort) to 5 (very little effort). For the calculation of the score, you take the sum of the percentage of score 5 and 4. From that total, you then subtract the sum of score 1 and 2.


The result is shown as an absolute score (just like the Net Promoter Score), so not as a percentage, which falls in the range from -100 to +100. In short, a high CES score shows that customers feel they did not have to go through a lot of trouble to be serviced.

As little hassle as possible, that is what makes customer happy. What customers consider to be “hassle” you can partly decide for yourself, but you will only really get to the truth when you ask them. Some organizations would be overlooking the crucial point; ease. Customers are not necessarily loyal because they received an outstanding service rather than a standard service. Of much more impact is the ease with which they can access this service. 

Download also our free e-book 'Measuring and Managing CX' with examples and more information about this method.

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score): the satisfaction of the customer

CSAT is a much-used customer centric KPI as well. When CSAT is used, the customer is asked to evaluate your product or service by giving it a grade on a 1 to 10 scale. The score (the average) is shown as an absolute number, like a school report grade. CSAT is used specifically in situations where asking for a recommendation makes no sense or is not appropriate, for instance when evaluating health or governmental institutions. CSAT measures satisfaction after a certain touchpoint. It answers the question:

‘How satisfied are you about product x / service x?’

What do CES and CSAT deliver?

The score for effort and the grade for satisfaction are part of valuable customer feedback (Voice of the Customer). CES has a high predictive value for the future buying behavior and retention of customers. The customers who have experienced low effort, have the intention to remain a client and to purchase again. Customers who have experienced high effort, might leave and be even negative towards others about the organization concerned.

The simplicity of CES and CSAT, makes it easy for employees to understand how they themselves can contribute to a better score; by making life easier for their customers for example. And you can immediately see the impact of your own efforts in every step of the customer journey; at what moment it became less attractive and/or satisfying for customers. Research, analyze and remove the hurdles that can make your customer’s life overly difficult.

Customers are at the heart of every successful organization and you would like to serve them well. Take customer feedback seriously and listen to the stories behind the score. Don’t focus too much on the high score but look at the why. With the CYS innovative questioning process based on the Root Cause Analysis Method you’ll find out why the customer gave you this score with three simple follow up questions such as an open answer-box and the categorized follow up questions. You’ll find out what goes well in the organization and where you can use improvement.

Read more about the importance of the Voice of the Customer in our second blog of this series.

Practical usage of multiple CX KPI’s

In practice we see that CX KPIs are most successfully implemented when it is decided to use one KPI only. Use the customer journey to determine which question you want to ask your customer at what moment. Think ahead of what you want to know and why. Motivate everyone in the organization on for instance NPS, CES or the CSAT score.

Nevertheless, NPS, CES and CSAT are connected to each other. The less effort a customer has to put in, the more satisfied they will be after contact, and the higher their loyalty. If you make it easy for customers to do business with your organization and if you meet their expectations, there is a high likelihood of a recommendation. By using CX KPIs like NPS, CES and CSAT, customer feedback can deliver a substantial contribution to your overall company goals with more satisfied customers, more enthusiastic employees and a greater turnover. 

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