CES Surveys

CES stands for Customer Effort Score, a metric that measures the amount of effort required for a customer to complete a specific task.

CES focuses on the concept that the easier you make it for customers to resolve their issues or get the information they require, the happier they’ll be. Happy customers equal long-term loyalty, word-of-mouth promotion, increased organic growth, and more.

In this section


What is the CES survey flow?

CES surveys start with some variation of the statement:

“[Company] made it easy to [resolve my issue, etc.]”

Respondents provide a score on a scale from 1 to 5:

  • 5: Strongly agree
  • 4: Agree
  • 3: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 2: Disagree
  • 1: Strongly disagree

After providing a score, respondents answer an open-ended comment question to explain their responses. They’ll then respond to any Additional Questions you’ve configured before being presented with a customized Thank You page.

Sample CES question

Sample CES comment page

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How is the CES score calculated?

CES is calculated with the following equation:

( Total number of “agree” responses / Total number of responses ) x 100 = CES

Let’s break that down piece by piece:

  • Total number of “agree” responses: Any response where the score was 4 or 5
  • Total number of responses: Your overall response count
  • “X 100”: We multiply the result from the division equation to get a whole number

CES is always rounded to a whole number. The higher your CES, the easier your customers find it to resolve their issues or locate the resources they require.

An example

Let's imagine we received the following responses:

  • 5: 40 responses
  • 4: 10 responses
  • 3: 25 responses
  • 2: 15 responses
  • 1: 10 responses

With 50 "agree" responses and 100 total responses, the calculation becomes:

( 50 / 100 ) * 100 = 50 (your CES score)

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Who are CES surveys for?

CES surveys are great for businesses that are looking to surface aspects of their support, service, or product that require excessive customer effort. If your overarching goal is to make the customer experience as effortless as possible, CES is likely right for you!

Trying to get a better sense of customer effort during sales cycles or support interactions? Recently deployed a new online checkout flow and interested in how it’s affecting your customers? Are you running customer consultations and keen to learn more about how easy to digest those meetings have been for you clients? CES surveys can help businesses tackling any of these scenarios.

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When should I send CES surveys?

The ideal time for sending a Customer Effort Score survey is immediately after your customer has completed the action or interaction you’re trying to measure, be that your online Help Center or your phone support hotline.

Look to deploy CES is in situations where you’d anticipate there may be some roadblocks for customers. These moments will offer great learning experiences for your team and help you smooth out any bumps in the customer lifecycle.

Common use cases for CES

Interested in learning about situations where others are using CES? Consider these common use cases:

  • An email or SMS survey directly after a support conversation
  • A web survey following a search in your Help Center
  • An email survey sent a week after an instructional manual is purchased
  • A web or email survey deployed to active users after a website update

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What are some best practices for CES surveys?

CES surveys can lead to insights that impact every way your customers interact with your team. To make sure you’re accurately measuring CES, follow these best practices as you create your survey.

Follow the traditional CES scale

Customer Effort Score features a scale that ranges from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Because the calculation is contingent on this scale, avoid any question or intro message phrasing that might affect it. For example, rather than asking, “How hard was it to find the information you needed with Delighted?”, use, “Delighted made it easy to find the information I needed.” Statements, rather than questions, will more accurately map to the CES scale.

Keep your question specific and effort-focused

Effortlessness is the underlying theme of CES. Making your survey overly complex would run counter to the CES methodology, so keep it simple. Consider these two CES examples:

“Delighted made it easy for me to locate the shopping cart due to their new in-app guide.”

As compared to,

“Delighted made it easy to locate the shopping cart.”

The more variables you throw into the equation, the fewer customers it will apply to… and the more effort it will take to complete!

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