CES Projects

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Suggested next section: 3. Distribution Platforms & Sending

Introducing CES

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. 

CES surveys are proven to generate actionable metrics and responses — allowing your team to "close the loop" by responding to customer feedback in a way that solves a problem or presents a solution to ease customer friction and frustration. 

Available scales

Delighted CES surveys offer two scale options: a 7-point scale and a 5-point scale. To choose the 5-point scale when creating a CES project, click the “Additional scales” button on the question type selection page. Learn more about the different scale options below!

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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 7:

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

Or 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 5-7 (for the 7-point scale survey), or a 4 or 5 (for the 5-point scale survey)
  • Total number of responses: Your overall response count
  • “X 100”: Multiply the result from the division equation to get a whole number

CES is 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 the following responses to the 7-point scale survey:

  • 7: 30 responses
  • 6: 20 responses
  • 5: 15 responses
  • 4: 15 responses
  • 3: 10 responses
  • 2: 5 responses
  • 1: 5 responses

With 65 “Agree” responses (30 + 20 + 15) and 100 total responses, the calculation becomes:

(65 / 100) * 100 = 65 (for the CES score)

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Testing and previewing a CES question vs. a full questionnaire

There are two — very different — preview options to consider. You can:

1 Preview a CES question in customization mode
2 Preview an entire CES survey project in a platform testing environment
1.  Preview a CES question in customization mode

Visualize how your CES question will appear (with the Desktop and Mobile preview options) as you customize the look and feel of your survey. Preview the changes you make to the color scheme, logo, and text elements of your CES question in real time. (See CX Customization Basics.)

2. Preview an entire CES survey project in a platform testing environment

Previewing how respondents will experience your full survey (particularly if you've added Additional Questions to your questionnaire) requires testing at the platform level.

To learn how to test and preview you entire project, click and explore each of the distribution platform(s) that you have deployed from this list:

Platform Links to the 'how to' instructions
Email Testing and previewing the Email platform
Web Testing and previewing the Web platform
Link Testing and previewing the Link platform
Kiosk Testing and previewing the Kiosk platform
SDK Testing the SDK PlatformPreviewing the SDK Platform
Test and preview each of your platforms independently 

Additional questions are added to each platform independently of the others; ergo, you should preview and test each of your distribution platforms separately. 

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Who are CES surveys for?

CES surveys are great for businesses 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 effective those meetings have been for you clients? 

CES survey projects can help businesses tackle these types of scenarios and more.

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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 anticipate roadblocks for customers. These moments offer great learning experiences for your team and can help you smooth out any bumps in the customer lifecycle.

Common use cases for CES

Consider these common use cases:

  • An email directly after a support conversation
  • A web survey following a search in your Help Center
  • An email survey sent a week after a training event
  • A survey deployed to active users after a app update

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What are some best practices for CES surveys?

CES surveys can lead to insights that can 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.

Keep your question specific and effort-focused

Customer Effort Score features a scale that ranges from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 or 7 (strongly agree). Because the CES 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.

Effortlessness is the underlying theme of CES. Making your survey overly complex would run counter to the CES method, 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!

Choose the right scale

When first creating your CES survey project, you’ll have the choice between a traditional 7-point scale and a shorter 5-point scale. Both are great options, but ideal for different situations! 

  • The 7-point scale is better when you want a bit more nuance from your customers about the experience
  • The 5-point scale is ideal if you’re looking for a quicker response

Also, since the CES scale options can be long, if you’re utilizing CES for an Email Signature Survey, we recommend using the 5-point scale.

Learn more in section 11. CX Best Practices in our Help Center.

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