Every business is trying to find the perfect formula to increase revenue and successfully grow. Keeping your customers happy is important, but businesses should also be looking at how much effort they exert when working with your company to determine success. This metric is also known as the customer effort score, and it can help analyze and improve customer retention and repurchase rates.
What is a Customer Effort Score?
The customer effort score (CES) measures how well a customer can resolve issues or obtain services from a particular business.
CES differs from customer satisfaction, and it is a metric that tells businesses just how much effort a customer must go through to resolve an issue or work with your business. The more effort a customer must exert, the harder it is for your customers to purchase from your company or continue to work with you.
Having to expend a lot of effort might become harmful. The longer that a customer has this negative experience, the chances of them returning start to decrease. They might not also recommend your business to a friend because of this negative experience.
What does CES tell you about the success of a particular business?
Your customers are savvy, and they know that they can pick and choose the businesses that suit their needs. This means that the more positive experiences that they have with a company, the more likely they will select that business again and again. Having a great CES tells a lot about customer loyalty.
Data suggests that 96% of customers who have high-effort interactions eventually become disloyal. This is compared to just 9% who have low-effort experiences who may also become disloyal.
As you can see, CES does not correlate perfectly to loyalty or disloyalty, but it’s close. Only 4% of customers who had a high-effort service transaction stayed with a business, compared to 94% who had a low-effort experience and stayed. The lower CES is, the more likely a customer will continue to work with a business.
Low-effort experiences also save businesses money. Lower effort means that customers call less (up to 40%), and there are 50% fewer escalations and 54% fewer channel switching.
Five ways high-effort scores can tell you what’s wrong with a business—and how to improve them
Connecting with your customer base is just one way in which you can nurture that relationship. You want their experiences with your customer support to be positive.
Here are five examples of how addressing CES can improve your business:
#1. Frustration placing an order? Reduce the friction in the ordering process.
If their online shopping cart is malfunctioning, or they can’t initiate a return on their own, then customers are more likely to call in already frustrated. Frustration can grow if they experience long wait times, technological friction, and wasted time on the call. Optimizing the online ordering process and customer profile could reduce customer effort.
#2. Complaints around delivery? Cut delivery times.
Issues around delivery are challenging because it involves a third party. Consider reevaluating your shipping relationship, especially if you get a lot of complaints around this process. Offer a bigger incentive for expedited delivery times. The cost savings from high call volume and call escalation will pay off.
#3. Higher escalations? Work on first-contact issue resolution.
Escalations happen when your first line of customer support does not have the tools, skills, knowledge, or authority to provide appropriate resolutions. If you are experiencing an oddly higher level of escalations, you need to address why these customers are coming in (maybe their items are regularly damaged). Once you identify this issue, fix it and give your support team the ability to do what they need for customer satisfaction.
#4. Long wait times? Provide multiple channels for customer contact.
Not everyone likes to call in. In fact, many millennials prefer live chat. Offer multiple channels that your customers can interact with (effectively), so they aren’t waiting on the phone all day.
#5. High transfer volumes or dropped calls? Offer knowledge portals to support self-service.
If your customers are having a negative experience with your support team, then they will likely not want to interact with them and would prefer to solve this problem on their own. You want to interact with customer support as enjoyable as possible. Provide FAQs and knowledge portals so that your customers can get on the same page and your support team can do less educating.
How to crank up the focus on Customer Effort Score
Businesses only need to learn about CES and realize its potential for success. From there, you can focus on lowering the level of effort your customers go through. In addressing customer effort, reconsider your customer feedback and satisfaction questionnaires (which can add effort). Reword the questions to focus on effort and the willingness to work with your brand.
Here are some universal ways to approach this:
- Demonstrating empathy can help your support team to understand what your customers go through.
- Creating community builds morale and tells your customers that they have a place to turn to for support.
- Improving the supply chain can solve a lot of the problems that your customers experience.
- Streamlining your online experience can ensure your customers aren’t held up and getting frustrated by easy process fixes.
Find the places where your consumers get held up or have to work extra hard for your business. These could be easy fixes that your company can address.
Simple changes could go a long way in improving your customer effort score and helping solve problems.