Customer Effort Score

Customer Effort Scores are a relatively new metric that seek to measure the degree of effort or friction that a customer felt they had to put in to specific interactions.

We do not currently have a specific question type for this, so this guide will explain how to use SmartSurvey to collect a Customer Effort Score in an online survey.

The Question

Unlike Net Promoter Score (NPS), CES are not yet standardised, so the actual wording and question format can vary somewhat, though SmartSurvey can support any question wording and response type that’s likely to be used.

For a simple question:

  1. Create a Semantic Differential question.
  2. For the question text “How easy was it for you to…” and then finish the question with what the action is you’re measuring, which could be “make this purchase” or “get assistance with this issue”, for example.
  3. For the Row choices, enter “Very Easy|Very Hard”
  4. For the Column choice, enter the numbers 1 to 7, each on a new line.

The Calculation

The actual calculation of Customer Effort Score is very simple – the Customer Effort Score is simply the Mean (or Average) of the responses received. This can be easily calculated on a spreadsheet for exported data or can be viewed in the summary report by activating Key Analysis.


For CES surveys to work they should be as immediate as possible so that the interaction is as fresh as it can be in the memory of the respondent. Recommended methods would be Web Intercepts / Pop-Up / Exit Surveys, or including links to the survey in confirmation mails or ticketing systems.

Further Functionality

By using various tracking links and custom variables, it’s possible to use a single survey to collect this information across an entire business while also retaining information about specific functions or even specific interactions that you want to investigate.

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