Customer Effort Score & Product planning

Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) are the most important customer metrics and have their own specific fields where they are the right choice and where they are most useful. We even have an entire blog post about differentiating the three customer surveys and implementing them in different areas of your business. But today, we are going to tackle on the Customer Effort Score, the uses of it, and why it can be the most useful metric in product planning and future product development.

Creating customer loyalty

Before we go to the exact definition of customer loyalty, it’s best to start with an example: You have a favorite white T-shirt from a specific brand that has become worn-out. You will probably go to the same brand for that shirt again since you are used to it, even if there are probably more affordable options. But do you have a relationship with that brand and continue to recommend it to your family and friends? Probably not. But, you have a favorite skincare item that does wonders for you, you have tried more products from the same brand that wowed you and you just continue purchasing from that brand with an overall positive experience. Also, the interaction you had with their customer service when you asked for assistance in choosing the right product for your needs was entirely satisfying. You create an emotional bond with that brand and wholeheartedly recommend it to all your friends and family. The second example is the right indicator of customer loyalty. The emotional bond that a customer has for the brand that makes them favor you amongst competitor brands is customer loyalty. Importance of customer loyalty is easily seen in numbers: The Loyalty Management Market is expected to grow USD 1.4 Billion in 2015 to USD 4.0 Billion by 2020, according to PR Newswire. Benefits of having customer loyalty are seen in high customer retention, repeat business, possibilities for up-selling, fact that acquiring new customers costs more even in just ad and service costs and loyal customers are more eager to share their honest and constructive feedback. Customer loyalty programs, even as great and beneficial as they are, can go overboard and actually make customer turn away from your company. In HBR’s article, they are advising that you need to stop “wowing your customers” to increase customer loyalty. The easiest way for your company to build, increase and maintain customer loyalty is through helping customers solve their issues quickly and effectively. It’s not in “delighting”, as HBR says, that you build customer loyalty, but reducing the effort it takes them to get the issues they come across resolved. This is where Customer Effort Score (CES) comes to play. This is a metric designed to measure how easy was it for your customer to have their problem solved on a scale from 1 -- very difficult to 7 -- very easy. Implementing CES into your company and customer experience teams will help you measure customer effort after every interaction they have with your company. This way you can have insights into parts of your offered service that can cause difficulties to your customers, work on them, and build loyalty by providing them with a seamless experience with your company. Even the sole use of customer surveys, such as CES, can tell customers that their opinion is listened to, and if they later notice improvements, valued.

How CES influences better product decisions

Now that we know how CES can help us grow customer loyalty and all the benefits customer loyalty provides to your company, it’s important that we take a look at one broader use of CES and also how we can utilize benefits of creating customer loyalty and the honest and constructive feedback loyal customers offer us. Product planning and product development. Product planning is a very broad term and it involves several different actions before we come to the official product launch. According to Wikipedia, product planning has a couple of different phases:
  • Developing the product concept
  • Studying the market
  • Market research
  • Product introduction
  • Product lifecycle
Product planning in itself includes all internal decisions an steps that are needed to develop a new, or improved product. It involves decision-making about what features are lacking in the previous versions or in a competition that need to prioritized and what will be a new price point. While a substantial part of the product development process relies on product teams and their market research and other statistics, the importance of customer experience and customer effort can’t be forsaken. While product management provides insights into business goals, internal capabilities for improvement of product, demographic and other statistical data, but measurements of your customer effort can tell you where are the weak points of your product that are often turning-away points for your customers. The two can work together to create a full workflow in product development, whether you are creating an entirely new product, adopting a new feature or how the overall user experience is with your company and product. By pinpointing situations and part of customer experience that leave customers unsatisfied and frustrated can help tailor the product planning in the right direction -- with not just relying to the statistics and market, but on the customer as well since they are the best indicators of what you are doing right or wrong. And how does customer loyalty here help? As we mentioned, loyal customers are much more likely to provide feedback that is constructive since they do want you to succeed even more -- they do have an emotional bond with your company. And when you think about to whom you are loyal to the most -- family and friends, and you do want them to succeed of course. It may be a farfetched analogy, comparing a brand and someone’s loved ones, but it gets the message across -- you can leverage very much on the feedback provided by your loyal customers. Implementing Customer Effort Score for measuring customer effort that takes them to resolve their issues, ease of their overall experience with the company and the user-friendliness your service provides can help you in your product development by providing firsthand experience from ones for which the product is actually developed.

When to use CES

Having the three most effective customer metrics -- NPS, CSAT, and CES can make your head a little dizzy. When are all of them supposed to be used?! For figuring out the right way to implement NPS, you can check our blog post on the correlation of bad use of NPS and churn rate. CSAT is often used to rate your customer success agents, and it can happen that they have an amazing rate of 9/10, or even 10/10, but you should be wondering what made those customers contact your agents for assistance. By using CES you are able to see what stages of product use makes customers go to your customer success teams and predict future behavior. With this, you are able to eliminate those risks and even eliminate the effort it took your customers to reach out to your team and resolve the issue. When and where can you use CES?
  • After any interaction with your product or service that led customers to purchase it
  • After interactions with your customer success team
  • Measurement of general experience the customer had with the company and their products
It is advised that CES surveys are used after specific parts of interaction or any events that are encouraged by the customer since that will provide you an exact input into those specific interactions and how resolution and the entire process satisfied the customers.


Now that you are aware of all pros of using Customer Effort score surveys, you are ready to implement it into your business and your product planning strategies. Customer effort is an important part of the decision-making process since the customers are the ones on which success of any product or feature depends on. Try out Successify and our user-friendly interface that will allow you to implement CES and other important customer metrics for the best strategic planning and data reporting.
Try out Successify and our user-friendly interface that will allow you to implement CES and other important customer metrics for the best strategic planning and data reporting.

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