What is a customer effort score and why does it matter?

What is a customer effort score and why does it matter?


  • Customer centricity and CX are the most important things for your company to focus on.
  • In a crowded market, they can be the difference between a user that churns and one that becomes a loyal customer.
  • One of the best ways to inspire customer loyalty is by making sure their interactions with your product and company are frictionless and smooth.
  • CES, or customer effort score, measures how much effort your customer needs to use to complete a transaction, resolve a support issue or interact with your company/product in general. 
  • Any company that wants to build a loyal following and customer base needs to make sure that their CES scores are consistently decreasing and well below industry standard and competitor scores.
  • Measuring CES scores can also tell you whether you are catering to the needs and expectations of your users and whether you are inspiring customer loyalty. It can also help you limit or watch out for bad word of mouth and help you diagnose product issues and churn if you notice that your CES score suddenly skyrockets.

Customer centricity and CX should be at the heart of every company. In a market where customers — especially SaaS customers — have more choice than every before, if you aren’t trying to build the best customer experiences and delivering on that each time, customers will churn and defect to a competitor. 

One of the most important things you can do to make your customers’ experiences better is to ensure that they always have easy, effortless ways to get in touch with you when they run into trouble using your product or solution. 

And there is a way to quantify that: using a customer effort score. 

What is a customer effort score

A customer effort score (or CES) is a metric that defines how much effort your customer needs to use to complete a transaction, resolve a support issue or interact with your company/product in general. 

Along with metrics like CSAT, NPS and time-to-resolution, CES is one of the most important metrics for your customer support team and company at large to track. 


Specifically for customer support, it tells you, perhaps most directly, how the workflows you have set up in your customer support flow are functioning and how easy — or hard — they are making the lives of your customers. 

The origin of the customer effort score

The customer effort score was created by the Corporate Executive Board (now Gartner), who discovered through their research that low effort interactions were the key to driving customer loyalty and satisfaction in support interactions. 

Low effort versus high effort interaction

Given that a customer effort score measures, well, customer effort, it is helpful to define what exactly is meant by a high effort versus a low effort interaction. 

A high effort interaction is one in which the customer has to jump through many, many hoops before finally being able to speak with an agent about a problem that they are having and solving that problem. Some examples of this would be if your customer needs to hunt for your contact information, be transferred from department to department looking for the right person to help, wade through endless chatbot messages or read many help center articles to get an answer to their question. 

Remember: most customers prefer speaking to a human support agent straight off, so the steps laid out above are often cumbersome and frustrating for them. 

If you make it too difficult for them to solve their issues, they will churn. 

In contrast to a high effort interaction, a low effort interaction is one in which a customer is able to solve their issue or problem with the least amount of friction possible. Examples of this sort of interaction would be if your support and contact information is prominently displayed on your website, you have many relevant support touchpoints at every stage of the customer journey, you have not gone crazy with automation, and all your support agents have been trained adequately to provide timely, helpful support. 

Why you should measure CES

We hope we've driven home the importance of CES in the previous section. In this one, we want to lay out some of the specific reasons you may want to measure it.

To ensure you are adequately catering to the needs of your customers

Your customers want one thing above all else: to be able to easily and effortlessly solve issues that they encounter while using your product or service. Therefore, you, as a business, have to place the needs of your customers first to ensure that all experiences they are having with your company are frictionless and pleasant. 

This means investing adequate resources in your support team and ensuring that you are following customer support best practices. It also means frequently measuring your CES score — along with other scores like CSAT and NPS — to ensure that your standards are being maintained and your customers are having the best experience on your platform.

To inspire customer loyalty 

Customers these days have plenty to choose from – especially when it comes to SaaS companies. If their experiences with you are frustrating, they are bound to churn and use one of your competitors. 

And as we’ve mentioned before, low effort interactions were the key to driving customer loyalty and satisfaction in support interactions. 

To limit bad word of mouth

You’ll also want to regularly measure your CES score and benchmark yourself against your past performance and industry standards to ensure that you limit the possibility of bad word of mouth. 

Customers are 4x more likely to buy from a business that has been recommended by a family member, friend or acquaintance, so you need to ensure that all your customers have only good things to say about you. 

To diagnose churn and customer issues

If you notice that your churn rates are unusually high for industry standards or have picked up recently, measuring your CES score and comparing it to your scores in the past can give you important information about why your customers are churning. 

If your CES is high, then you know that is likely one of the reasons your churn rate is so high. Try and think about the reasons why: have your support flow and customer support touchpoints changed? Are your agents experiencing a backlog of tickets and are therefore unable to quickly respond to support tickets — or respond at all? Have you introduced a product feature that is poorly explained or difficult to use?

If your CES is low, on the other hand, then you know that that isn’t the issue and can look elsewhere for the cause.


As a company, you have to ensure that you are always going above and beyond to meet customer needs. A customer effort score is one of the most important things to track in that regard. It tells you have much effort a customer has to put in to get something out of your company and product.

Making sure that your customer effort score is as low as possible is a surefire way to please your customer base and ensure that they turn into loyal brand evangelists for your company.


Shifa Rahaman

Content Marketing Manager