You’re having an issue with your Wi-Fi. It’s taking forever to get through to your provider, and when you do, no one knows how to solve the problem.
So you decide to tweet at the company about it, hoping that you’ll draw attention to your plight. You receive a reply telling you to call their 1-800 number for help.
Your service provider’s response defeated the whole purpose of the tweet and made you work harder to get the help you needed, instead of trying to solve your question via Twitter.
It’s nothing new. Every day, companies make customers work harder by asking them to switch channels, repeat information, deal with unhelpful self-service chatbots, and transfer between agents.
The problem is that companies create loyal customers primarily solving their problems quickly and easily.
But to create a low-customer-effort approach to your customer service experience, you need a metric that measures your customer’s current perceived level of effort.
That’s where a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey comes in. We’re going to show you the easiest way to create and send one.
A CES survey typically asks the question, “on a scale of “very easy” to “very difficult”, how easy was it to interact with [company name].” Here’s an example of one in practice.
Customer effort score calculation is as simple as adding up all the scores and dividing by the number of respondents.
CES ranges depending on the scale you use. Generally, low scores indicate heavy customer lift, and high scores reflect an effortless experience.
Using a 7-point scale, you can typically make the following assumptions about what a good customer effort score is and isn’t:
There are several ways to collect responses to a CES survey. Companies use email, kiosks, telephone calls, and even face-to-face surveys.
There are merits to all of the above approaches, but SMS CES surveys stand out for several reasons:
Another reason is that an SMS survey is easy to deploy and only takes a few minutes to set up.
To send your first customer effort survey via SMS, you’re going to need a SimpleTexting account. (You can sign up for a 14-day free trial here and test out the process.)
Once you’ve created an account, the first step is to decide who will receive your survey.
Most companies choose to import a list of contacts to send the CES survey too.
The next step is to use our text-to-vote poll feature.
Though “effort” is in the name of the score, it isn’t the best way to phrase the question. Instead, a universally understood word like “easy” is ideal.
Here’s an example of how we would phrase the question and answer options.
You can then view all responses from your polling dashboard.
There are instances where you might want to trigger a survey due to a customer interaction with your product or customer service team.
If you decide to go this route, you won’t be able to use our polling feature. Instead, we recommend linking to a survey where customers can click a link and fill out a form.
While there are tons of customer satisfaction survey tools out there, you can use a budget-friendly Google Form to collect feedback.
Here’s an example of one we created in two minutes.
This way, you can also track the click-through rate on your CES surveys.
Finally, you can get a nice visual representation of the survey results in the responses tab of your Google Form.
If your customers are reporting a high-effort user experience, it’s time to reduce it. Depending on how you structure your survey, you may glean additional information about the pain points.
The most significant change you can make is not only responding to problems but also looking at ways you can prevent them.
For example, 58% of Expedia customers placed a call after reserving flights or hotel rooms. Twenty million of those callers wanted to get a copy of their itinerary. At about $5 per call, it was a $100 million problem.
The team changed how they worded their itinerary email to avoid spam filters and created a self-service tool to access one. Their calls declined from 58% of customers to 15%.
There are several other steps you can take, such as:
While CES is not as well known as Net Promoter Score (NPS), it’s an essential metric to track.
Gartner’s research shows that reducing your customer effort can increase future purchases, lower service costs, and improve the employee experience.
We don’t know any business that doesn’t want those benefits.