CSAT vs CES: What’s the Difference?

CSAT vs CES: What’s the Difference?

CSAT and CES are two of the most popular metrics when it comes to measuring customer experience and how your customers feel about your company. Both are helpful and have their place, and most teams should be actively tracking both.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a measurement of how happy a customer is with the company, whether in regards to a specific interaction they’ve had or in general. Customer Effort Score (CES) is a way to measure how easy or effortless it is for the customer to have their problems solved. 

Read on to find out more or watch the video below:

The Similarities Between CSAT and CES

Both CSAT and CES fall under the category of most tracked KPIs by support teams. Both metrics can be extremely helpful when it comes to improving customer satisfaction and understand how your team is meeting your customers' expectations.

Here are some of the things these two KPIs have in common:

  • Both are quantitative representations of customer experiences
  • Both provide insight into how your support team is meeting customer expectations
  • Both metrics represent ways companies can increase profits by improving customer satisfaction
  • Most companies need to focus on both figures to increase customer retention 

CES vs CSAT: The Breakdown

CES Score Breakdown 

The CES measures how much work the customer has to put into the interaction they have with your company. How easy was it for them to solve their problem in the interaction they had today? In this metric, the customer is asked to express how much they agree or disagree with a statement like "Our team made it easy for you to have your request solved."

The scale usually has 7 options from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”, but some companies might use a 5-point likert scale instead, or although more rare, even a 3-point one or other variations.

Another alternative format is to display smiley faces instead of sentences to express how much or how little effort was required by the users.

How to Calculate CES Score

To calculate CES, users need to determine what the average of their responses is. To do this, they can follow this method:

Total sum of responses/number of responses = CES score

To calculate this score, add up all of the numbers provided on the survey. Then, divide that sum of all scores by the number of responses received. For example, if you had 100 surveys completed with the range of scores from 1-5, and all of the scores combined came to a total of 410, then your CES score would be 4.1

What Is a Good CES Score?

Once you calculate CES, you have a number in hand. You may not know what that number means. On a scale of 1 to 5, here is a look at what these scores could mean:

4 to 5

On a CES scale of 1 to 5, anything above a 4 is considered positive. In that way, the average score of any question asked should be above a 4 (the average of all responses). 


This average provides a peek into indifference. In this situation, most of your clients were not impressed or disappointed. They were satisfied to a point but indifferent about it. This could indicate a limited amount of positive reaction to your support processes. It definitely indicates that things can be improved. 

0 to 2

This is an area that indicates a significant need for help. At this level, you need to work to improve your unhappy customers. You probably required a lot of effort from your customers, or long waiting times, or other factors that made their support experience below their expectations. Without taking steps here, your customers will likely have a negative impression of the support you provide as a whole.

On an expanded scale, such as 1 to 7, the best area to target for improvement may be that area where the customer moves out of the neutrality zone, such as at a 2 or lower for an area that needs improvement or a 6 to 7 indicating the best level of performance. You can find more CES survey examples here.

How Often Should You Measure CES?

The right time to send a CES may not always be clear. There are often key moments when it is best to send these surveys as they can trigger a higher level of response.

It is a good time to calculate CES after any interaction with your support team, ideally within 24 hours, where the interaction is still "fresh".

In B2C, support provided during the sales process might also qualify for CES, and then a good time to survey customers would be after a purchase is completed (provided that they interacted with your team before).

There is no need to send out CES surveys on a specific interval or basis. 

What Is CSAT?

CSAT was built as a way to understand how easy it is for customers to conduct business with a company. Is the process fast and easy or limiting and time consuming? The goal is not to wow customers but to meet their expectations, so they come back. 

CSAT asks the question: "How satisfied are you with..." 

The blank can be filled in with a wide range of elements that are important to the business, such as how well customer support is doing, how employees are doing, or how well a product fills a need. Consumers answer this question on a scale, though not all businesses use the same scale to calculate this information.

CSAT may measure how satisfied a customer is with the company, an interaction, or a feature. It is typically is abort survey that features one single question. 

Often it is on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. Sometimes smiley faces can be used instead. In a score breakdown, consider:

0 to 2: This range indicates the customer is not satisfied with the experience, feature, product, or something else. This is an area that needs to change.

3: At this range, the customer is indifferent about the product or service. They are not sure about what they feel. This could indicate an area that the company needs to work on to improve.

4 to 5: The customer is satisfied at these levels. This is what the company is aiming for when it comes to meeting customer objectives. 

CES vs CSAT: 3 core differences

Relationship vs transactional KPIs:

  • CSAT can be either a relationship metrics or a transactional metric
  • CES is exclusively a transactional metric


  • CSAT reflects the overall satisfaction with the product or support provided
  • CES is limited to a very specific aspect of the experience


  • CSAT can be distributed both after a support case is closed and at recurring intervals
  • CES can only be distributed after an interaction with your team

How Fullview helps improving CES and CSAT

Solving customer issues faster (let alone proactively!) has a tremendous impact on customer satisfaction scores. Fullview reduces and often fully eliminates the need to ask customer for additional informations, screenshots and so on, leading to a much better experience. Long waiting times and additional requests are some of the factors that most impact CES. And effective and fast resolutions can tremendously drive CSAT up. If you want to learn more about how support teams can use session replays and cobrowsing in their workflows, head over here.


Shifa Rahaman

Content Marketing Manager


Improve CSAT & CES with Fullview

  • Faster time-to-resolution
  • Personalized support
  • No more endless back-and-forth
  • Full context into every support ticket

Improve CSAT & CES with Fullview

  • Faster time-to-resolution
  • Personalized support
  • No more endless back-and-forth
  • Full context into every support ticket
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