MetricHQ Logo

Customer Effort Score

What is Customer Effort Score?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a measure of how easy or difficult it is for customers to interact with your company, for example, to make a purchase, to access a free trial, to resolve a problem, to navigate your website, or to get something done in your product. It’s measured by surveying customers after a specific interaction, and asking them to rate how easy or difficult it was to do what they wanted to do. Examples of difficult or high-effort interactions are ones that add friction for customers, for example, making them repeat information, interact with multiple people or screens, or wade through generic content to find information relevant to them.

How to calculate Customer Effort Score

ƒ Count(# of responses in each of the top 2 positive response categories) / Count(# of valid responses to the Customer Effort Score question)

What is a good Customer Effort Score benchmark?

CES score will vary, since different companies ask slightly different survey questions or use slightly different survey scales. On a labelled 5 point scale, where 5 is Extremely easy, a score of 4 or 5 is a good score.


If 20 of your customers answered a Customer Effort Score survey question, asked on a 5 point labelled scale, and 16 of those said it was either Extremely easy or Very easy to accomplish their goal, then your Customer Effort Score is 16/20*100= 80%

More about this metric

Why does CES matter? It matters because effort turns out to be a better indicator of customer loyalty than customer happiness or delight. And the more loyal a customer is, the more likely they are to give you referrals, and the less likely they are to churn. Reducing customer effort is a big deal because when customers have an issue and need to resolve it, out of the gate they are four times more likely to become disloyal. So the real opportunity is to avoid creating disloyal customers who speak negatively about your product and your brand. Gartner research has shown that when you give customers a low-effort experience, only 9% of them become disloyal, compared to 96% who become more disloyal in a high-effort experience.

And as an added bonus, reducing the effort your customers need to exert to accomplish their task often reduces your own cost of supporting or servicing customers.

After a specific interaction a customer has with your company

Provide a statement, not a question, along with a 5 point Likert scale, where 5 is Extremely easy and 1 is Not at all easy.

Helps uncover points of friction in specific customer interactions

Can provide actionable insight if a follow up question is used

40% more accurate at predicting customer loyalty as opposed to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), according to Gartner research.

May show low score based on one interaction, which may not be reflective of the health of the overall relationship

Can be difficult to segment by customer

Optimize for mobile

Trigger surveys automatically 

Keep the question simple

Action the results internally and with clients

Based on your most recent experience with <Company>, please indicate how easy it was to accomplish your goal.

- Extremely easy - Very easy - Somewhat easy - Not very easy - Not at all easy - Decline to answer


Additional Customer Effort Score recommended resources

Check out this Harvard Business Review article revealing research findings from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), now part of Gartner.

Metrics related to Customer Effort Score