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Glossary of Marketing Terms

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What is a customer effort score survey?  

A customer effort score (CES) survey is a specific type of survey designed to measure how easy (or difficult) it is for customers to interact with your business and complete tasks. In simpler terms, it gauges the ease of doing business with you.

How to measure customer effort score surveys?  

Here's a breakdown of how to measure customer effort score (CES) surveys and gain valuable insights from customer feedback:

CES calculation:

  • Assigning values: Each response choice on your lilkert scale (e.g., very difficult, Easy, Very Easy) is assigned a numerical value. Typically, a higher value represents less effort (easier).
  • Average score: Calculate the average of all the response values you collect from your CES surveys. This will give you your overall Customer Effort Score.


Let's say you send out a CES survey with a question like "How easy was it to contact customer support?" and receive 20 responses with the following distribution:

  • Very Difficult (1): 3 responses
  • Difficult (2): 2 responses
  • Easy (3): 7 responses
  • Very Easy (4): 8 responses

  1. Assign values: Very Difficult (1), Difficult (2), Easy (3), Very Easy (4)
  1. Calculate the total value: (1 * 3) + (2 * 2) + (3 * 7) + (4 * 8) = 47
  1. Calculate the average: Total value (47) / Number of responses (20) = 2.35

Interpreting your CES:

  • Higher score = lower effort: A higher CES (closer to the maximum value) indicates a smoother experience for customers and less effort required to complete tasks.
  • Industry benchmarks: There's no one-size-fits-all benchmark, but generally, a CES above 70% is considered positive. However, it's valuable to track your CES over time and compare it to your own historical data to identify improvement trends.
  • Actionable insights: The real value of CES lies in using the score alongside the open-ended feedback (if you included it) to understand the "why" behind the ratings. Analyze the qualitative data to pinpoint specific areas where customers experience difficulty and prioritize improvements.

Additional tips:

  • Segment your data: Analyze your CES data by different customer segments (e.g., new vs. existing customers, product usage levels) to identify areas needing improvement for specific groups.
  • Track over time: Monitor your CES score over time to measure the effectiveness of your efforts to reduce customer effort.
  • Benchmark with other metrics: Consider CES alongside other customer experience metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) to get a more comprehensive view of customer satisfaction.

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