CSAT vs CES: What’s the Difference?

CSAT vs CES: What’s the Difference?

CSAT and CES are two of the most popular tools for measuring customer experience. These metrics provide a way to understand how your customers feel about your company. Both methods are helpful and have their place. 

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 interact with the company. 

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 CX. That often means that people confuse them or do not know the difference between these two measurements. Both tools may help with the way a company improves its customer satisfaction. 

Some of the ways they are the same include the following:

  • Both are numerical representations of CX experiences 
  • Both provide insight into how a company can improve customer services and experiences 
  • Both metrics represent ways companies can improve 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 agree or disagree with a statement. This may be a statement like, "this product helped me solve my problem."

Various scale types exist where a customer may choose a scale that ranges from “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree.”

Sometimes a numbered scale is used in the process, such as 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, where 1 indicates the need for improvement and 10 indicates satisfaction. Some formats use a smiley face method to allow customers to choose how they feel. 

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 product. It indicates you may need to seek improvement. 

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. Your product did not work for them or did not meet their need. Without taking steps here, your customers may not be willing to work with you.

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 a customer that led to a purchase. This is a very important real-time feedback metric that is best obtained right after that interaction occurs. 

Another instance in which it may be the ideal metric is right after a client has an interaction with the customer service department. It can provide a quick and easy way for the client’s interaction to be measured based on how well customer service provided for their needs. 

Also, consider the use of CES whenever there is some type of change in the way the customer interacts with the company. For example, if there is a change to the way a service is provided, you may wish to send this survey out.

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. 

The Main Difference Between CSAT and CES

CSAT allows companies to measure the effectiveness of a specific transaction with the customer. It does not reflect a whole, company-wide effort though. It is also easy for people to answer this metric at the mid-range point, which really does not tell the company a lot about their experience but does show they are not very engaged.

By contrast, CES is a single question used to judge the effort that is put into completing a transaction. It makes it easier for the company to see where they can make improvements. When a customer has to engage in lower levels of effort, they are more likely to engage again. However, CES does not address the factors that influence that decision, such as products, competitors, or price. It does not provide a direct indication of what makes the transaction easier or harder. 

About Fullview

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. 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