This is a guest post by Martin Ceisel, Digital Content Strategist for MindTouch.

Customer effort score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS®), customer satisfaction (CSAT) —a book could be written about each of these important KPIs (and has). The debate around which one is most useful is layered, with it depends and all three remaining common (if frustrating) answers.

And there’s a reason for that: Context is everything, and no KPI exists in a vacuum.

When it comes to improving the customer experience, though, not all customer success KPIs are created equal. And though NPS® and CSAT have their merits, CES is a much more useful heuristic in the world of CX.

How CES Helps Inform Customer Experience Improvements

A typical CES survey might look something like this:

Did GetFeedback make it easy for me to resolve my issue?

The customer then rates the experience on a scale of difficulty, usually from very easy to very difficult.

Simple enough. Yet, whereas CSAT tends to be more transactional (“how was your experience with your customer support agent today?”) and NPS® more after-the-fact (“how likely are you to recommend GetFeedback to family or friends?”), CES gauges the customer’s sentiment after an isolated experience, often on the product level. This proximity to product-level integrations (or touchpoints, as we call them) makes aggregate CES data a potent source of CX insights.

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Customer effort score data can:

Help surface challenges throughout the customer experience

If certain parts of the journey (onboarding, post-sale, etc.) are consistently generating poor CES scores, this data can be used to justify a more focused effort (read: hours and budget) toward these areas.

Impact “downstream” customer success KPIs

Lowering customer effort can enrich other support KPIs. After shifting its focus to CES, for example, GetFeedback began seeing CSAT scores that actually reflected what the support interaction was like, including actionable write-in replies. By addressing this kind of feedback, a support team can in turn impact lifetime customer value, as measured by changes in NPS®.

Inform content improvements and enable self-service

If customers are repeatedly reporting high effort around specific issues, why not review the help content you have around those issues? Is your self-service help content structured and easy to find? Are there glaring content gaps that, if addressed, might make things easier on your customer? Of course, you can’t update all help content at once; but CES data can help spot opportunities for content improvements and content gaps that …  self-solve with greater ease.

Deflect tickets

Self-service and ticket deflection go hand in hand. Not only can CES inform content improvements that lead to better self-service; it can also provide valuable intelligence on the learning paths that lead certain customers to NOT submit a ticket. This creates opportunities to enable that learning path for other customers and, ideally, deflect future tickets of the same ilk.

A Powerful Use Case

The GetFeedback Customer Support and Experience team recently shifted its focus toward a greater emphasis on CES. This caught the eye of Aaron Fulkerson, customer-obsessed CEO at MindTouch. Fulkerson sat down with Kimberly Powell, Director of Customer Support & Experience at GetFeedback, to learn more about how her company measures customer effort.

The conversation revealed some incredible insights into the power of CES.

To hear the entire conversation, be sure to watch the full webinar recording. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the #supportCES hashtag on Twitter, which webinar attendees used to share thoughts, ask questions, and leave feedback. It’s a great way for you to get involved and extend this already rich conversation!


About the Author: Martin Ceisel is a Digital Content Strategist at MindTouch. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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