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Customer Effort Score (CES): A New Perspective on Customer Satisfaction


Delighting customers has been the backbone of contact center management for many decades. Companies spend millions on front line training to ensure agents offer a delightful/pleasant interaction. As important as customer service training is, what rarely is measured is the effort that customers had to put in to get their issues solved (e.g., call backs, transfers, voice mails, dealer visits, etc.).

Customer Effort Score (CES): A New Perspective on Customer Satisfaction

A recent study conducted by the Customer Contact Council, a division of the Corporate Executive Board, of over 75,000 customers found repeating messages in the results:

  • Delighting customers does not build loyalty, reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.

  • Acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer experience, reduce service costs and decrease customer churn.

Customer satisfaction then is the result of an effortless resolution to their concerns. What happens along the way only adds/subtracts from the end result.


We focused around the effort and the many ways we can reduce the amount of effort a customer was investing to get resolutions to issues. Based on our study, some of the small steps we took included:

  • Change IVR strategies for more streamlined routing and quicker access to specially trained agents for certain kinds of issues

  • Eliminate/realign queues that only focused on minimal aspects of customer resolution

  • Create brand specific teams and combining multiple tiers to create a one-stop shop to drive the reduction of customer effort. This allowed us to better prepare our agents to handle a multitude of issues and resolve customers questions and concerns with ease.

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