The Customer Effort Score (CES)is a useful customer experience metric for understanding how easy or difficult it is for users to utilise your SaaS solution. It measures how much effort your customer needs to use to complete a workflow.
What is CES
In every SaaS solution the user is trying to derive some kind of value from the SaaS. To arrive at this value they are required to carry out certain steps aka workflow on the software. The ease or difficulty of completing this workflow is the focus of CES. A high-effort service interaction is one that requires the customer to jump through hoops to reach a resolution. Some examples would be if your user needs to repeatedly request for support or they are confused by unintuitive UXUI.
CES was developed in 2010 by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB Global, now Gartner). The research showed that a whopping “96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.” In other words the ease or difficulty of using a system has a massive impact on long term retention and renewal efforts of customers. A good CES score also has a number of positive effectives including:
- Increasing word of mouth: Good experiences lead to a positive reputation for enabling users.
- Reducing customer service costs: addressing fundamental issues with the usage experience can reduce the number of inquiries incoming.
How to measure CES
The power of the CES is that is is an extremely simple and straightforward metric to set up.
CES can be calculated with a simple survey that takes the format, "On a scale of 1 - 7, was it easy to [transaction]". As an example, a e-signing solution may ask, "On a scale of 1 - 7, was it easy to set up a document and send it for signing?".
The CES survey is best executed immediately after a user has completed the aforementioned transaction. Users can be directed to a survey via in-application notifications or popups that request their response. Having an open-ended field for users to explain their struggle can also be important to help understand why users have a positive or negative experience.
Things that can impact CES
1. Profile of Users
The background and technical expertise of your users may significantly impact their perception of effort. For example millennials find navigating touch screens much easier simply because they have much more experience with utilising such systems as opposed to the general population of baby boomers. The UXUI of any software should be tailored to the ideal user group to minimise friction.
2. Number of Features
There is an inverse relationship between how intuitive software is to use and the number of features there are on it. Having a greater number of features usually means a more complicated usage experience. Consumer software typically is able to serve individual needs and hence tends to be more intuitive and low effort. In contrast, enterprise software which often serves a diverse group of needs such as the different departments within a single entity can be much more complicated.
3. Flexibility of Features
Features that allow for greater flexibility and ease of customisation by a user usually mean more effort is required. A good example is Content Management Systems aka Site Builders such as Wix or Squarespace. Many of these provide an option for users to build via a template or engage with building a site by giving more control over every page element. The former can usually be set up by a user within 30minutes through some simple Q&A and addition of additional content such as blogs, images or a catalogue of products. The latter tends to be much more complicated to set up ranging from anywhere between a few hours to weeks of work to understand and setup fully.
4.Availability of Support/Training Materials
Sometimes, the CES can be affected through the availability of support and training material. In a broader sense this can be thought of as the onboarding and training process in terms of the time and method of delivery. For example delivering a single training session in 2 hours to a user is more likely to lead to confusion when it comes to actual usage as opposed to providing a modular training program that is delivered at the point of need. In today's day and age this can be delivered in a number of ways such as onboarding tours, micro-LMS experiences, chatbots and more.
As a SaaS business, CES is a simple and straightforward way to get started with understanding and streamlining the user experience on your SaaS. By doing so, you can ensure customer success and satisfaction while also reducing churn rates. To get you started, we've provided a helpful guide to help you calculate this metric. With this information, you'll be able to make data-driven decisions that benefit both your customers and your business.
If you are a customer success team looking to improve your Customer Effort Score(CES) by improving the delivery of support materials and improve your engagement with users via in-application walkthroughs and guidance, please check us out at https://www.usertip.com or follow us on Linkedin for more tips to drive user adoption.
Usertip is the first Southeast Asia digital adoption platform designed to help scale your onboarding, training and support for digital solutions. Operating from Singapore, Indonesia and Australia our no-code platform delivers in-application walkthroughs directly on your digital solutions. Seamless user experience and on-demand learning are all delivered to your user’s fingertips within seconds. Click here to find out more.