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Customer Effort Score – a key metric in analysing customer experience

Accurately measuring customer behaviour is critical to business success. Can CES help deliver an excellent customer experience?

Jim Findlay, Head of Business Insight

NPS vs CES

Many methods of assessment and metrics have been used to measure customer behaviour, including tactical measures such as satisfaction, resolution and more strategic assessments such as NPS (net promoter score). NPS has, in the last decade, become the customer experience metric of choice in the industry.

NPS is seen as a pretty reliable indicator of customer advocacy with reasonable predictive capabilities but many organisations have struggled to reconcile contact point NPS results to corporate objectives.

A recent frisson of excitement in the industry would suggest that CES (customer effort score) is the latest metric contender is being touted as the most effective, predictive measure of future customer behaviour’s available as well as being able to identify the true root causes of customer detraction and is therefore the best operational customer contract metric to drive customer loyalty and experience.

Tools not solutions

In truth, no one metric can be viewed as a panacea.  Metrics can disconnect from actual objectives, leaving organisations driving a number with no tangible output.  Also metrics with corporate entity level relevance may not translate well to more granular investigation, for example, touchpoints and root cause analytics.  At this granular level, metrics may not have a predictive validity aligned to the corporate objectives.

If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

Experience would suggest that using a variety of complimentary metrics allows a 360 degree view of performance and customer experience.  The strengths of each metric can then be utilised to create the best possible view of reality.  This ensures that measurement has a relevance to objectives both tactically and strategically.

To gain clear insight it is enormously important to identify all aspects of a customer’s journey to its end.  Each touchpoint is relevant to the customer, each action, even if it is not a contact is also relevant.  If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

How we see it

Webhelp UK have identified that measuring customer effort to achieve an objective against their expectations of effort required is an effective predictor of future customer behaviours regarding advocacy, loyalty and future spend if used in conjunction with other tailored metrics.  Effort profiling, using Webhelp UK’s effort algorithm, of customer journeys across all elements of that journey allows a comprehensive view of both multichannel and non contact experience.

CES should be a key weapon in any customer management organisation’s arsenal.

In combination with Webhelp UK’s effort profiling, the use of any other relevant metrics can be combined to give a truly holistic view of business impacts of customer experience and journeys.  This allows the right actions to be taken in regard to people (customers and employee interactions and behaviours), policy (company policies that may not be aligned to objectives, products (are products meeting business and customer needs) and process (are processes effective in delivering objectives).

In conclusion, there are benefits to be gained by using both NPS and CES metrics (as well as other complimentary measures).  Webhelp UK Insight are particularly interested in CES, however, and feel that it is likely to have strong applicability at granular levels particularly in Contact Centre Management.  CES is equally applicable to any contact medium and is reflective of a customer’s journey and holistic experience.  This feature has great synergy with Webhelp UK’s strategy of multi-channel customer journey management and as long as CES is used as one of many data mining tools to derive business improvements and performance, the metric should be a key weapon in any customer management organisation’s arsenal.


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