What is CES?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that allows an organisation to measure how much effort the customer had to put in for their needs to be met, be this for their whole customer experience, or at a specific stage of the customer journey.

Typically, Customer Effort is scored on a 5-point scale to provide a numerical score of how easy the product/service/experience was. Some organisations will choose to use a 7-point or 10-point scale.

5 Very difficult
4 Fairly difficult
3 Neither
2 Fairly easy
1 Very easy

CES calculation

Sum of all customer effort scores = Customer Effort Score
Total number of responses

As a watch out, it is worth noting that CES is typically measured with an inverse scale (where 1 = best outcome) vs. CSAT and NPS measures (where 0/1 = poor outcome), and there is a risk that respondents may be confused by different scales being used within the same questionnaire.

When to use CES?

There are three main uses for CES surveys:

  1. At the end of an interaction (e.g. following a call to contact centre with a service issue, returning an item)
    1. Surveys can be timed specifically to measure the service at key customer touchpoints – especially useful for a customer experience that is long and requires multiple interactions (e.g. selling a house with an estate agent)
  2. At the end of an interaction that led to a sale (e.g. following a trial subscription for a cookery box)
  3. Overall experience dealing with your company (e.g. how easy were we to deal with?)

Why is CES a useful measure?

Customers want to experience a friction free, seamless, and smooth interaction with any product or service, with the least amount of effort expended from their side to have their needs met. Organisations that minimise and look to reduce ‘customer effort’ will enjoy better customer retention.

Incorporating a CES measure as part of the CX measurement suite allows organisations to identify and eliminate the pinch-points of the customer journey that could otherwise result in a brand damaging experience and helps organisations to continuously refine and improve their CX.

‘Customer effort’ isn’t something we’re always conscious of, but it is quietly powerful as it’s at the forefront of our decision making, especially when it comes to repeat purchases and customer loyalty. A clunky experience will make the consumer think twice and consider alternative options in the future. As customers, we like convenience, and we like companies who are consistently easy to deal with.


ABa is one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke CX measurement programmes. To find out more about how we can help any organisation develop and improve their customer’s experience, contact Danielle Sones, Experience Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 0161 431 1221).