Creating & Using a Customer Effort (CES) Question

SmartSurvey has built-in question types for Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort (CES), and Net Promoter (NPS) surveys.

This guide will explain how to use the CES question Type.

Creating the Question

  1. Choose “Customer Effort Score (CES)” from the “Question Type” drop-down.
  2. Enter your question text. The “Question Text” box will be pre-populated with a line of text as a prompt: “How easy was it to…”. Complete this with wording reflecting your requirements. The prompt can be totally overwritten, but as a CES question, you should ensure that the wording of the question is asking about the respondent’s ease or effort needed with the product, service, or other object of enquiry. This can be phrased directly, or as an “Agree - Disagree” statement.

Setting Up The Answer Choices

  1. Choose a display layout for your answer options by using the “Display Options” Drop-Down.
  2. Choose an answer format from the “Answer Templates” Drop-down and choose the scale of points you want to use (5 is the most common). The “Customer Effort Ratings” options will be at the top of this drop-down and we recommend using them.
    • Easy - Difficult: Text only – 2-point to 7-point scale.
    • Agree - Disagree: Text only – 2-point to 7-point scale.

NOTE ON SCORING: Answers need to be ordered in ascending order of difficulty to work. Do not use the “Reverse Answer Order” or “Sort Alphabetically” buttons, or otherwise change the order of response options as this will cause scores to be reported incorrectly. (See "Reporting" below for a link to a scoring calculation).


If you have used the standard ordering (Easy to Difficult), the CES is the mean average value of the answer, with a lower score being better (a higher score being indicative of a higher level of effort needed). This is calculated automatically as part of Basic Statistics.

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