Connecting Customer Effort Score with Value

Customer Effort Score is not only a valuable tool for making process improvements, it’s also a great way to understand the value of your good or service from the customer’s perspective.

by John Godwin

Customer effort score has gotten a lot of coverage over the last 4 to 5 years. Broadly speaking, Customer Effort Score (CES) attempts to capture the customer’s perceived exertion during a given interaction or transaction. CES attempts to capture how much “pain” your firm inflicts on the customer when they engage with you. The usefulness of this metric is self-evident. But there are deeper reasons that this metric is so valuable, which lie in how humans perceive effort and problem solving.

Most businesses can be described as solving problems for their customers for a price. The old saying, “people don’t want drills, they want quarter-inch holes” comes to mind. Humans have innate needs and assign value according to internal judgments. Humans place value on their time (more is desirable) and work (less is desirable). Effort combines the concept of time and work. Effort is the amount of work done over a given amount of time. Humans naturally optimize the effort required to solve a problem because they value more time and avoid work. Therefore, customers place a higher value on lower effort solutions.

Customers are confronted with myriad options to solve almost every problem, so when comparing options, the amount of personal effort required to achieve the solution is compared to the price of the solution. A cordless drill is more valuable than a corded power drill and a corded power drill is more valuable than a manual drill. You can see from this simple example that as customer effort decreases, the value (and usually the price) of the solution increases.

The magnitude of the customer problem solved is another angle to consider when thinking about the value of your product or service. Customers have different effort expectations based on the perceived size of the problem being solved. Solutions to “bigger” problems are expected to require more effort to solve. How does the perceived size of the problem your product solves compare to the effort required for your product? For your competitor's product?

So what does all this mean? Reducing customer effort increases the value of your product or service, therefore, Customer Effort Score is not only a valuable tool for making process improvements, but also a great way to understand the value of your good or service from the customer’s perspective.

Are you measuring customer effort? Do you have ongoing processes in place to monitor and reduce customer effort? How much effort do your require from your customers compared to your competitor’s customers?

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John Godwin
John Godwin
Customer Service Lead
Contact John

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