What is Customer Effort Score?

Ruben Buijs

Founder & Digital Consultant

Written on Aug 1, 2023

3 minutes

Customer Experience

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric used to measure the ease of a customer's experience when interacting with a company. It gauges the level of effort a customer has to put into resolving an issue, making a purchase, or seeking assistance. The score is based on a simple question: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?"


To better understand Customer Effort Score, let's consider a few examples:

  1. Company A: A customer contacts Company A's support team to resolve an issue with their product. The support representative quickly identifies the problem and guides the customer through the solution. The customer rates their effort as a 2 on the scale. This indicates a low level of effort required, resulting in a positive CES.

  2. Company B: A customer visits Company B's website to make a purchase. The website is poorly designed, making it difficult for the customer to find the desired product and complete the transaction. The customer rates their effort as an 8 on the scale. This indicates a high level of effort required, resulting in a negative CES.


Customer Effort Score is an essential tool for businesses to evaluate and improve their customer experience. Here's why it's important:

  1. Customer Satisfaction: CES provides valuable insights into customer satisfaction levels. By measuring the effort customers have to exert, companies can identify pain points and take proactive steps to reduce customer effort, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction.

  2. Customer Loyalty: A high CES can negatively impact customer loyalty. Customers who encounter excessive effort are more likely to be dissatisfied and seek alternatives. By focusing on reducing customer effort, businesses can foster loyalty and retain customers in the long run.

  3. Process Optimization: CES helps companies identify areas where processes can be streamlined and made more efficient. When customer effort is minimized, it often indicates that the company's systems and operations are customer-centric and focused on delivering a seamless experience.

How to Use Customer Effort Score

To effectively use Customer Effort Score, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the Right Moment: Determine the appropriate touchpoints within the customer journey to collect CES feedback. Examples include after a support call, completing a purchase, or concluding a service interaction.

  2. Ask the Right Question: Pose the CES question clearly and in a simple manner. For example, "How much effort did you have to put forth to resolve your issue today?" Ensure the response scale is easy to understand, typically ranging from 1 to 10.

  3. Collect and Analyze Data: Aggregate the CES responses to identify patterns and trends. Analyze the data by customer segments, channels, or specific interactions to pinpoint areas of improvement.

  4. Act on Feedback: Utilize the insights gained from CES to make necessary changes and improvements. Address pain points, streamline processes, and invest in resources that reduce customer effort.

Useful Tips

Consider these tips to enhance the effectiveness of Customer Effort Score:

  • Follow up: Reach out to customers who provided high CES scores to understand their specific pain points and work towards resolution.

  • Combine with Other Metrics: Supplement CES with other customer experience metrics, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the overall customer experience.

  • Monitor Trends: Continuously track CES scores over time to identify improvements or deteriorations in customer effort. This allows for proactive action rather than waiting for issues to escalate.

  • Train and Empower Employees: Equip employees with the tools and knowledge to provide seamless customer experiences. Empower them to resolve issues efficiently, reducing customer effort and improving CES.


Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric used to measure the ease of customers' experience when interacting with a company or using its products or services.
Customer Effort Score is typically measured on a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 being 'very easy' and 7 being 'very difficult'. Customers are asked to rate their experience based on how much effort they had to put into resolving an issue or completing a task.
Customer Effort Score is important because it helps companies identify areas of their customer experience that may be causing frustration or difficulty for customers. By reducing customer effort, companies can improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
Customer Effort Score can be collected through various methods such as post-interaction surveys, email surveys, or through customer feedback channels. Companies can also track customer effort through analytics tools by analyzing customer behavior and interactions.
Some advantages of using Customer Effort Score include its simplicity, as it provides a single metric to measure customer effort. It also helps companies prioritize improvements based on customer feedback and identify pain points in the customer journey.
Some limitations of Customer Effort Score include its subjective nature, as it relies on customers' perception of effort. It may not capture the overall customer experience and may not provide insights into specific issues or areas of improvement.
Companies can reduce customer effort by improving the usability of their products or services, providing clear and concise instructions, streamlining processes, offering self-service options, and providing proactive support to anticipate and resolve customer issues.
Yes, Customer Effort Score can be used in combination with other metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) to gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience and identify areas for improvement.
The frequency of measuring Customer Effort Score depends on the company's needs and resources. It can be measured on a regular basis, such as after each customer interaction, or periodically, such as monthly or quarterly.
Yes, there are industry benchmarks available for Customer Effort Score that allow companies to compare their performance against similar organizations. These benchmarks can provide insights into the company's relative performance and help set improvement targets.

Article by

Ruben Buijs

Ruben, the founder of Boei, leverages over a decade of consultancy experience at Ernst & Young to optimize lead generation. Boei specializes in converting website visitors into qualified leads. Outside of work, Ruben is passionate about crossfit and enjoys gaming occasionally.

Table of contents

  1. Examples
  2. Importance
  3. How to Use Customer Effort Score
  4. Useful Tips
  5. Related Terms

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