The Customer Effort Score (CES) is a customer focused KPI that tells you something about how your customer experiences your services. CES is best used to gain insight into the extent to which your organization is capable to organize processes, solve problems and answer questions efficiently and effectively. It is called a “customer effort” score, because it measures how much effort your customers have to put in themselves, in order to get what they want. How can you make sure that, if you decide to implement and track CES, your organization is actually capable of following up on the results?

Tips for working with CES (Customer Effort Score)

  • When you decide to implement CES, make sure that it is carefully embedded in the company culture. Don’t just copy what you have seen in another company, but analyze up front what you want to achieve and what information you need in order to actually achieve it.
  • Learn to think like a customer: order something from your own web shop of call customer services to ask a question you know they won’t find easy to answer.
  • Spend time on the question if CES should be the main KPI for your organization, or that it might be better to pick a different main KPI (like NPS or CSAT) and to use CES as a supporting KPI.
  • We advise to use CES as support, rather than as a main KPI. Although it can provide deep insight into e.g. the performance of a customer service department, it is less suitable for an organization as whole.
  • Customer journey mapping can provide the insight you need to decide for which processes you want to use CES.
  • Make sure that all conditions are met before you implement. Think about what you need to actually use the outcome of your CES program in order to improve it. Examples are commitment from the board, a ‘sponsor’ at board level or some budget to implement improvement programs.
  • Be flexible in your attitude towards the setup of your project. Circumstances might change, your customers might react differently from what you expected. Keep an open mind and be willing to adapt to gain the best possible result.
  • Invest in your internal network at different levels of the organization. Find people around you who also want more enthusiastic customers and who are capable of energizing their colleagues.
  • Involve your colleagues in the results of the CES tracking. Start little ‘mini’ projects at different levels that will make your customers’ lives easier.
  • When possible, organize company-wide training on customer-centric skills like ‘listening’ and detecting hidden questions for help.


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