Customer disloyalty metric – Customer Effort Score(CES)

I read an interesting article prepared by the conference board on a metric that they are recommending for measuring customer disloyalty!

According to Matthew Dixon, managing director for the Customer Contact Council, the Customer Effort Score (CES) is based on a single question that determines the degree of required customer effort during a service request.

Instinctively, I find this metric appealing when I take into consideration my own interactions with service providers. Sometimes, when I deal with a bank, the effort required from my side to get my account details, get some new service activated or get wrong transactions reversed is so time consuming, it almost looked like they are doing a favour with " my money"! It always triggered a thought in me to change the bank. So is the case with mobile phone service or utility providers where literally there is no face to talk or interact and everything is handled over the phone or internet and literally I am at the mercy of IVRS systems, tele-execs with set scripts & process in front of them.

What would be interesting is to see how do they define effort for each service category as it will be very different for every category and  weightages that they give to an effort which leads to the most disloyal behaviour.

But, this is a good starting point for companies to start defining and tracking CES scores of their customers and looking at attrition!


  1. To briefly respond to your question, the Corporate Executive Board’s study did in fact find some differences in customer effort by service category, in addition to few other notable areas including differences across industry and differences in the methods that customers use to contact service groups. As expected, there is increased effort in interactions that are classified as problems or complaints versus simply checking the status of an account, making a purchase, or other general inquiry. Industries such as travel, leisure, and shipping/express tend to cause the most effort (issues like changing flight or hotel plans, or tracking a package you are eagerly awaiting) whereas industries like retail and consumer products cause the least effort. The highest effort inducing industry we found was in high-technology – not a huge surprise here given complex technical issues. Lastly, in methods to contact a company, we found that web interactions cause the least effort, whereas phone and e-mail interactions cause the most. An important note here is that customers using multiple contact methods tended to put forth much greater effort than those only using one contact method. Other highly significant sources of customer effort are generally repeating information, needing more than one contact to resolve an issue, transfers to other reps or departments, and generally asking customers to take on unexpected work (for example, completing and faxing a form with a signature).


  2. very interesting article, unexpected point on why customers are loyal and why not. Some of the points mentioned are very recognizable. I can use that for my customers and my company.


  3. I found this article very interesting and want to know more…
    I am one to give under the disloyal work put on me to get help with my product or my money.


  4. Dear All,
    I have another questions please that needs to be answered here! At what stage during the service process we can use the below “single question to measure and predict a company’s financial performance?
    ”How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”


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