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53 Effective Customer Effort Score (CES) Questions
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53 Effective Customer Effort Score (CES) Questions

Aug 29, 2023
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8 min read
    |    
Hiver HQ
Shobhana

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Customer effort score (CES) is a metric that measures how easy it is for customers to interact with your business. It is a valuable tool for understanding how customers perceive your customer experience and identifying areas where you can improve.

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How is CES different from NPS and CSAT?

Customer effort score (CES),Net Promoter Score (NPS),and Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) are three of the most popular customer experience metrics. They are all used to measure different aspects of the customer experience, but they have different strengths and weaknesses.

customer-effort-score-ces-questions

How to Interpret Customer Effort Score

The higher the score, the lower the effort perceived by the customers, implying a better customer experience

Calculating CES involves sending a survey to your customers, usually after an interaction with your business, asking them to rate their effort level on a specific task. The standard CES question is, “On a scale of 1-7, how easy was it to interact with our company?”

  • A CES score of 7 or 6 indicates that customers had a very easy time interacting with your business. This is a good sign, as it means that customers are likely to be satisfied with your products or services and more likely to do business with you again in the future.
  • A CES score of 5 or 4 indicates that customers had a relatively easy time interacting with your business. This is still a good score, but it means that there is some room for improvement. You may want to consider making some changes to your website or customer service process to make it even easier for customers to interact with you.
  • A CES score of 3 or 2 indicates that customers had a somewhat difficult time interacting with your business. This is a warning sign, as it means that customers may not be as satisfied with your products or services as they could be. You may want to consider making some significant changes to your website or customer service process to improve the customer experience.
  • A CES score of 1 or 0 indicates that customers had a very difficult time interacting with your business. This is a serious warning sign, as it means that customers are likely to be very dissatisfied with your products or services. You may want to consider making some major changes to your business to improve the overall customer experience.

A low CES score indicates that customers are having a difficult time interacting with your business. This could be due to a number of factors, such as complex product or service offerings, difficult-to-use websites or apps, or poor customer service. Gartner research says that customer loyalty for 96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction or a bad user experience, reduces drastically.

A good customer effort score, on the other hand, indicates that customers are having a relatively easy time interacting with your business. This is a good sign, as it means that customers are likely to be satisfied with your products or services and more likely to do business with you again in the future.

5 Most Possible Reasons for a Low Customer Effort Score

A low Customer Effort Score (CES) indicates that customers are finding it difficult or exerting a high level of effort to interact with your business, product, or service. This could be a result of a number of factors, including:

1. Complex User Interfaces

Whether it’s a physical product, software, or website, if the interface is difficult to navigate or understand, customers will struggle. This leads to high-effort experiences which lower your CES. A software product with a convoluted layout, unintuitive menus, or a lack of clear instructions can make it challenging for users to accomplish their tasks, increasing the amount of effort they expend.

2. Poor Customer Service

This could involve long waiting times, unresolved issues, or interactions with staff who are unhelpful or lack the necessary knowledge to assist customers effectively. A client contacts your customer support team about a technical issue and is left on hold for a long time, only to finally connect with a representative who can’t solve the problem.

3. Complicated Processes

If processes, such as making a purchase, returning an item, or signing up for a service, are convoluted or time-consuming, customers will perceive these as high-effort experiences. Unnecessarily complex procedures for buying, returning, or subscribing can lead to higher customer effort. For example, your return policy requires customers to mail the product back at their own expense, fill out a lengthy form, and wait an extended period for a refund.

4. Lack of Self-Service Options

Customers increasingly prefer self-service options for their convenience and efficiency. If your business lacks these, or if they’re difficult to use, it can result in higher customer effort. When customers cannot find answers to their questions or resolve issues on their own, their effort increases. For example, customers have a common question about your service, but there’s no FAQ or knowledge base on your website, forcing them to contact customer service.

5. Inefficient Communication

If customers have to repeat their issues to multiple representatives or are bombarded with irrelevant information, it can lead to high-effort interactions. When customers must repeat their concerns to multiple service reps or are inundated with irrelevant information, it leads to a higher effort experience. A customer is transferred between several representatives to solve a single issue, each time having to explain their problem from scratch.

By identifying these pain points and making necessary improvements, businesses can significantly reduce customer effort, leading to higher CES, improved customer satisfaction, and increased loyalty.

When should you send a Customer Effort Score Question?

The timing of a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey can significantly impact the number of respondents and the accuracy of customer feedback. The survey should ideally be sent immediately after a customer interaction. Here are some specific instances when you should send a survey question:

1. After a Customer Support Interaction: This could be following a call, live chat, email exchange, or in-person meeting with a customer support representative. Sending the survey immediately after the resolution of a ticket or problem can help you understand the customer’s perception of the support experience.

2. Post Purchase: After a customer purchases a product or service, a CES survey can help measure the ease of the purchase process. This could be the simplicity of the checkout process in an e-commerce context or the ease of paperwork in a service industry.

3. After Onboarding: If you run a software as a service (SaaS) business or any business with a user onboarding process, sending a CES survey after the onboarding experience can help you understand how easy it was for the customer to get started with your service.

4. After a Free Trial: At the end of a free trial period for your product or service, it’s a great idea to send a CES survey. This timing allows you to gauge how easy it was for trial users to access features, understand your product, and achieve their goals. This feedback can offer valuable insights for both your product development and customer service teams, and it can help you understand how to better convert trial users into paying customers.

5. Post-Cancellation of Subscription: If a customer cancels a subscription or service, a CES survey can provide insights into whether the cancellation process was easy and whether the effort involved in using your service contributed to their decision to cancel.

5 Common Methods to Collect Customer Effort Score

Customer Effort Score (CES) questions can be presented in various methods depending on the nature of the customer interaction, your objectives, and the medium through which you’re collecting survey responses. Here are some common methods:

1. Direct CES surveys/Likert Scale

These surveys ask customers to rate their overall experience with your business on a scale of 7-point-scale, with 1 being “very difficult” and 7 being “very easy.” For example, you could ask the following question:

How easy was it to interact with our business?

1 = Very difficult

2 = Difficult

3 = Neutral

4 = Easy

5 = Very easy

2. Emoticon CES surveys

These surveys ask customers to rate their overall experience with your business by selecting an emoticon, such as a smiley face, a neutral face, or a frowny face. For example, you could ask the following question:

How easy was it to interact with our business?

  • ๐Ÿ˜Š Very easy
  • ๐Ÿ™‚ Easy
  • ๐Ÿ˜ Neutral
  • ๐Ÿ™ Difficult
  • โ˜น๏ธ Very difficult

3. Open-ended CES surveys

Open-ended questions like asking customers to provide their own feedback about their experience with your business. This type of survey can be helpful for getting more detailed insights into what customers are experiencing. 

For example, you could ask the following question:

โ€œWhat could we have done to make it easier for you to interact with our business?โ€

4. Barter scale

This scale is similar to the Likert scale, but it uses phrases instead of numbers. For example, the phrases “very difficult” and “very easy” might be replaced with “took a lot of effort” and “took very little effort.” For example:

How easy was it to interact with our business?

  • Took a lot of effort
  • Took some effort
  • Took a little effort
  • Took very little effort
  • Didn’t take any effort

5. Semantic differential scale

This scale uses a series of bipolar adjectives to measure customer perception. For example, you might ask customers to rate their experience on a scale of “easy” to “difficult” and “pleasant” to “unpleasant.” For example:

How easy was it to interact with our business?

Pleasant ( ) – – – – – Unpleasant ( )

53 Customer Effort Score Questions that Measure Ease of Customer Interaction

These 53 CES questions are intended to cater to various interactions and touchpoints that a customer might have with your business. Make sure to send these surveys at the most appropriate times – ideally, soon after the specific interaction has occurred.

Customer Effort Score Questions for Customer Service Team:

Customer service is the frontline of your business, interacting directly with customers daily. Measuring Customer Effort Score (CES) in this context helps assess how easy it is for customers to get their issues resolved, information clarified, or requests fulfilled. High effort experiences can lead to customer frustration and churn, while low effort interactions can boost satisfaction and customer loyalty. By asking the right questions in your customer effort score survey, we can identify areas of friction in the customer service process and take steps to simplify and enhance the customer journey.

  1. How easy was it to reach out to our customer service team?
  2. How simple was it to explain your issue to our customer service representative?
  3. How would you rate the ease of understanding the solution provided by our representative?
  4. How much effort did you put into resolving your issue after contacting our customer service team?
  5. How easy was it to find our customer service contact information?
  6. How would you rate the accessibility of our customer service across various channels (phone, email, live chat, etc.)?
  7. How simple was it to schedule a follow-up call or support session?
  8. How easy was it to escalate your issue to a manager or supervisor?
  9. How effortless was the process of returning a product or requesting a refund with the help of our customer service team?
  10. Was it easy to follow the troubleshooting steps suggested by our customer service representative?
  11. How easy was it to find self-help resources or FAQs related to your issue on our website?
  12. How would you rate the ease of use of our automated support (like chatbots or automated phone systems)?
  13. How simple was it to receive and implement feedback from our customer service?
  14. How effortless was the process of filing a complaint with our customer service?
  15. How easy was it to understand the terms and conditions or policy details explained by our customer service representative?
  16. How would you rate the ease of submitting documents or additional information requested by our customer service team?
  17. How simple was it to renew or cancel your subscription with the help of our customer service?
  18. How effortless was it to track the status of your service request?
  19. How easy was it to navigate through our customer service portal?
  20. How simple was it to change or update your personal or account details with the help of our customer service team?
  21. How effortless was your experience with our multilingual customer service?
  22. How easy was it to receive assistance from our customer service team outside of regular business hours?
  23. How simple was it to provide feedback or rate your interaction with our customer service representative?

Customer Effort Score Questions for People Success (Human Resources) Team:

Within the People Success or HR function, CES becomes an instrumental gauge to assess the internal customer experience – the employee experience. An HR teamโ€™s main objective is to ensure that employees find it easy to access and use HR services. Whether it’s updating personal details, utilizing employee benefits, or navigating career development options, a low-effort experience leads to happier, more engaged employees. CES can help us understand the effort employees need to exert when interacting with HR, allowing us to refine and improve our processes, systems, and policies for better employee satisfaction.

  1. How easy was it to submit your leave request through our HR portal?
  2. How simple was it to find policy information in our HR resources?
  3. How would you rate your experience with the employee onboarding process?
  4. How easy was it to submit your expense reports?
  5. How effortless was it to schedule a meeting with the HR team?
  6. How simple was it to find and participate in our employee engagement activities?
  7. Was it easy to access and understand your employee benefits package?
  8. How effortless was it to nominate a peer for our recognition program?
  9. How easy was it to provide feedback in our employee survey?
  10. How easy was it to complete your career development plan in our system?

Customer Effort Score Questions for IT Service Management (ITSM) Team:

In IT Service Management, the focus shifts to how effortlessly end-users can access and use IT services. IT is a critical support function in any organization, and any hindrances in IT service can lead to significant productivity loss. CES in ITSM helps in understanding the user-friendliness of IT processes and the efficiency of IT support. Whether itโ€™s resolving IT issues, installing software, or setting up new equipment, CES questions can highlight areas where users are struggling and where the IT process can be streamlined.

  1. How easy was it to report an IT issue?
  2. How much effort was required to set up your new workstation?
  3. How easy was it to access our IT resources remotely?
  4. Was it easy to install the software provided by our IT department?
  5. How effortless was it to update your system as per the instructions given by our IT team?
  6. How simple was it to recover your forgotten password?
  7. How easy was it to request new hardware or software from our IT team?
  8. How effortless was it to follow our IT security guidelines?
  9. How easy was it to understand the IT alerts and notifications sent to you?
  10. How simple was it to connect your devices to our office network?

Customer Effort Score Questions for your Finance Team:

In a Finance department, Customer Effort Score (CES) provides insights into how easily customers can access and manage their financial products or services. Whether it’s understanding the terms of a loan, setting up direct deposits, disputing a transaction, or managing an investment portfolio, ease of use is key to customer retention and satisfaction in the finance industry. By leveraging CES, we can identify pain points in the customer journey, making our financial services more user-friendly and effective.

  1. How easy was it to apply for a new line of credit with us?
  2. How much effort did you have to put in to manage your portfolio on our platform?
  3. How easy was it to find tax information related to your account?
  4. How effortless was it to set up direct deposits with us?
  5. How simple was it to withdraw funds from your account?
  6. How easy was it to dispute a transaction on your account?
  7. Was it easy to find and understand the terms and conditions for our services?
  8. How simple was it to request a higher credit limit?
  9. How easy was it to close your account with us?
  10. How effortless was it to use our online banking services?

Final Word

It’s essential to tailor these questions to the specifics of your customer service operations and the kind of interaction being assessed. Understanding your customers’ journey, including the effort they have to exert, will give you the power to provide a seamless, satisfying experience that fosters long-term loyalty. So, use these templates, measure the CES diligently, and set your business on a path of constant customer experience improvement.

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Shobhana's expertise lies in creating well-researched and actionable content for Customer Experience (CX) professionals. As an active member of popular CX communities such as CX Accelerator and Support Driven, she helps professionals evaluate tools for their support team and keeps a keen eye on emerging industry trends.

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