Build an Effective Customer Effort Score Program

If you want to make a real impact on customer loyalty, it starts with measuring Customer Effort Score (CES). Let’s talk about how to do just that.

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Sara Staffaroni

March 1, 2020

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Today companies are investing in flashy products or sharp designs, but they’re missing what customers really want: an easy, simple experience. 

If you want to make a real impact on customer loyalty, it starts with measuring Customer Effort Score (CES). Let’s talk about how to do just that.

What is Customer Effort Score and how is it measured?

Customer Effort Score is relatively simple to measure. It revolves around one all-important question: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following question: [COMPANY] made it easy for me to handle my issue?

You’ll often see slight variations on the verbiage. When we transitioned to measuring CES at GetFeedback, we landed on the following:

CES survey example

Whatever the exact verbiage, customers typically answer the question on a seven-point scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. Your Customer Effort Score is then calculated by dividing your overall average by seven. A resulting score above 6.3 is typically considered a strong result. 

Many organizations will follow up on the core CES question by asking a few additional questions that provide more context. We’ll provide more guidance on this in the section about building your own CES survey below.

Customer Effort Score is an incredibly valuable metric primarily due to its ability to help you uncover customer pain points. After implementing CES surveys, you may even identify customer friction in areas that you never thought to look for. Shortly after transitioning to using CES at GetFeedback, we quickly found two important areas for improvement:

  1. We were making it difficult for customers to upgrade because we were asking them to switch channels multiple times before making their next purchase. 

  2. We were also making it difficult for customers to pay us. Customers with billing questions were often passed to several different teams and forced to wait days or weeks to get answers to the most basic billing questions.

Making life harder for customers in these areas is clearly counterproductive. Why would we ever make it difficult for customers to spend more money with us or to pay their bills? Of course, we didn’t do this intentionally, but that’s exactly the point. Customer Effort Score surveys turned these two blind spots into areas of focus, allowing us to make life easier for our customers and help our business grow.

These two examples also highlight the versatility of CES surveys. While typically used to follow up on support interactions, we’ve seen instances of CES surveys being used to measure customer effort in onboarding, sales and more. Customer Effort Score is relevant and easy-to-use throughout the entire customer journey.

Building an effective Customer Effort Score program

You’ve seen the light. Customer Effort Score will be a game-changer for your organization.

Now, where do you start? 

We recommend a four-step process to implement a CES program and start reaping the benefits. The process is summarized in the image below, and we’ll expand on each step in the following sections.

build a CES program

Build your Customer Effort Score survey

We’re talking about customer effort, so it’s probably no surprise that we think a great Customer Effort Score survey should deliver a great customer experience. As you build your CES survey, make sure that everything you do is on-brand, simple and easy for your customers to use. 

To that end, we recommend your survey follows this flow:

  1. Lead with the core CES question. This is your most important data point, and you want to get it in front of as many customers as possible.

  2. Follow up with a multiple-choice question to get more information about why they just gave you that score. A multiple-choice is a great option because it provides structured data that is easy to report on.

  3. Add a question to help you understand customer tastes and preferences. This helps you build their customer profile and customize their experiences with your brand. An example might be a multiple-choice question like, “Which of the following is most interesting to you?” and letting them choose from several product features you’ve been considering building.

  4. Lastly, end with an open text form to give your customers an opportunity to speak freely about their experience (positive or negative). While free text can be slightly harder to analyze, you’ll find these responses to be a treasure trove of data.

In order to get the most helpful data, you should always ask for feedback directly after an interaction, while the customer’s experience is freshest in their mind. These four questions should give you a firm grasp on how your customers perceive their experiences. 

Automate your CES surveys

The only thing better than relevant data is lots of relevant data. To ensure all applicable customers are getting surveyed at the appropriate times, it’s a good idea to automate your CES surveys.

If you’re looking for an easy way to do this, consider GetFeedback’s top-rated Salesforce integration. Combining GetFeedback and Salesforce is the equivalent of supercharging your survey program. By combining customer feedback and customer data, you’ll have a holistic view of your customers. Salesforce integration also enables:

  • Triggers: You can trigger surveys based on key interactions with the customer. For example, if a customer submits a support case through Service Cloud, you can automatically send out a CES survey once the case closes to understand how easy it was for the customer to resolve their issue.

  • Leverage: In the spirit of delivering effortless customer experience, you’ll want to ask customers for feedback in the context of their most recent interaction. With a Salesforce integration, you can select the appropriate channel for your customers to receive the survey. For instance, if a customer is contacting you via chat, you can serve them up a CES survey via chat as soon as the interaction with the agent concludes, capturing real-time feedback on how it went.

  • Personalize: Combining GetFeedback and Salesforce enables powerful survey personalization. You can pull in unique customer details—like name, location, or purchase history—to tailor the survey experience and provide more context for your customers.

Integrating Salesforce and GetFeedback also enables you to push customer feedback into your customer records in Salesforce, allowing everyone who interacts with that customer to see their recent history and to tailor their approach accordingly.

Analyze your results

Collecting data is never enough. The end goal is to leverage your results to drive improvements to your customer experience, and pumping your survey results into Salesforce allows you to leverage Salesforce’s reporting capabilities to that end. 

First, figure out what the best ways are to view your data. Do you have various channels? Consider looking at them independently of each other. Do you have multiple support teams or customers in various regions? Look at each separately and collectively when assessing results. 

Once you’ve built out reports to view the data in helpful ways, create and share Salesforce dashboards to keep your customer experience top of mind across your organization. 

Take Action on your results

If customers provide you feedback and you never take any action on it, what’s the point? Genuinely listening to your customers is a simple yet potent way to set yourself apart in a world where 43% of customers don’t leave feedback because they don’t believe the business cares.

Businesses that don’t close the loop on customer feedback are missing out on a huge chance to improve. But what’s the best way to follow up on customer feedback? We’d recommend crafting a two-pronged approach.

One-to-one follow-up strategy

Your one-to-one follow up strategy shapes how you respond to each individual piece of feedback you receive. 

It’s a good idea to follow up with customers within 24-48 hours of receiving their feedback. A quick response is particularly important when they’ve had a negative experience because unhappy customers are an incredibly valuable resource.

You should aim to follow up with customers who have had excellent experiences as well. These situations present a great opportunity to let these customers amplify their voices and for you to collect additional feedback or reviews, which can help shape future development efforts or be used for marketing purposes.

Setting up a one-to-one follow up strategy is easy through GetFeedback’s Salesforce integration. It allows you to create parameters that trigger notifications whenever you want them—such as when poor feedback is received—so that the right people know to quickly follow up.

One-to-many follow-up strategy

While it’s important to follow up with individual customers, you won’t necessarily always take action on each individual piece of feedback. Instead, you should focus on identifying trends and themes. These areas present prime opportunities to launch programs and initiatives that improve your customer experience and drive organizational change.

Monitoring incoming feedback and Identifying trends is simple with a real-time analytics dashboard. You can then use this data to inform key business decisions and future development work. 

As you build and execute your plan to improve your customer experience, you have a great opportunity to broadcast these changes and improvements. It’s your chance to prove to your customers that you’re listening and responding to their feedback. How you do this will vary based upon your business model, but consider using things like:

  • Marketing materials.

  • Updates in customer communities.

  • Quarterly business reviews.

  • In-app updates.

Taking action programmatically is hard to do. It requires cross-functional buy-in across your organization. Many organizations find that having a CX executive or program owner can be instrumental in ensuring customer feedback is acted upon appropriately. Whether you find this necessary or not, each time your organization improves your customer experience based upon customer feedback is a win worth celebrating.  

Conclusion

Customer experience is the newest battleground for businesses looking to differentiate themselves. While making significant changes to your customer experience is never easy, they are a long-term investment that can pay massive dividends.

If you’re currently struggling for clarity on where to begin, Customer Effort Score surveys may be just what you’re looking for. Decreasing customer effort is key to driving customer loyalty, and CES surveys offer an easy way to gather relevant and actionable data. Combine that with automation and integration with your CRM and you’ll be well on your way to delivering first-class customer experience.

Learn how GetFeedback can help you exceed customers’ expectations—start your free trial today.

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