Why you should measure your Customer Effort Score

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by Emily Collins, WRAP Partner and principal at EVC Marketing

With a range of customer satisfaction metrics available, there is one that is often overlooked – the customer effort score.

In a time when customer loyalty is more important than ever, this metric determines one simple question. How much effort do customers have to put in to do business with you?

Too much effort and they’ll tire of dealing with you and jump to another provider at the first suitable opportunity. No matter how satisfied they are with your products and services. 

It’s believed that if dealing and interacting with a business is easy and pleasurable, customers are more likely to be loyal and they will return to buy again. Indeed, 94 per cent of customers who reported low effort said they would likely purchase a product again (Harvard Business Review).

In this article we take a look at what’s involved with the Customer Effort Score, what questions to ask and what the scores mean.

1 What is the Customer Effort Score CES?

The Corporate Executive Board, now Gartner, developed the Customer Effort Score (CES) in 2010. Their research showed that effort is a key driver of customer loyalty and wanted a way to measure it.

The concept gained further attention that year with the Harvard Business Review article: “Stop Trying to Delight your Customers”. They argued that exceeding expectations and delighting customers does not build loyalty. Rather, “reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does”.

Then, acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, and decrease customer churn thereby increasing the profitability of customer service. CES rates a company on how much effort a customer has to put in when they interact with a company and the customer provides the feedback.

2 Why is the Customer Effort Score so important?

Customers want to transact with a business as easily and painlessly as possible. They want issues resolved quickly and professionally. Along with other customer satisfaction scores, understanding and acting on their customer effort score a business will:

  • Improve loyalty
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Limit negative word of mouth
  • Optimize self-service channels
  • Reduce customer service costs

While your customers may be satisfied with your products and services, they may find the effort of dealing with you too much. This reduces their customer loyalty and they might choose your competitor in the future.

Indeed, subsequent research* found that 96 percent of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal. Compare this to just nine percent who have a low-effort experience. High effort is simply how much a customer requires interaction before receiving a solution.

*The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon and Nick Toman.

3 What question/s should be asked?

Measuring your Customer Effort Score is achieved by asking a simple question:

“Company” made it easy for me to handle my issue/complete my purchase/find the solution

This is answered with a disagree-agree scale from 1-7. This can then be tracked over time so businesses can implement and monitor changes to their processes.

Alternatively, you can ask a standard rating question such as:

How would you rate the service you received today?

These questions should be followed up with open-ended feedback that highlights areas a business needs to focus on.

Tell us a bit more about why you chose 4 from the scale

Would you like to share any additional feedback?

Customer Effort Score CES
How much effort does it take for customers to do business with you?
The Customer Effort Score will tell you.

4 How is the Customer Effort Score calculated?

The Customer Effort Score ranges from 0-100. Your CES is the total number of customers who agree that their interaction was easy divided by the total number of responses. For example, if 65 customers out of 100 gave you a rating of 4 or 5, your CES would be 65, which on the 7 point scale is wonderful.

5 What activities can affect a company’s Customer Effort Score?

There are lots of business processes that will increase the effort it takes for a customer to interact with you. These include:

  • Not being able to find a contact number or email address
  • Having to re-explain a problem time and again
  • Switching from a customer’s preferred contact method to another to suit the business
  • Transferring to another employee
  • Constantly contacting the company about the same problem
  • Multiple clicks to complete an online purchase
  • Not finding the information needed on a website built for design rather than practicality
  • Not having device recognition
  • Anything that is perceived as inconvenient

These experiences generate customer frustration and increased churn. This is because companies develop procedures that fit their requirements rather than the needs to their customers.

6 When should business use the Customer Effort Score metric?

The CES should be used alongside your Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Score surveys as part of your customer service. Whenever there is a touch point with a client, you should find out how it was for them. For example after:

  • Interaction with customer service
  • Completed or abandoned sale
  • Visit to the website
  • Service sign-up
  • Online or any other purchase vehicle
  • Meetings or consultations
  • Changes to established processes

CustomerCount® encourages all of its clients to ask that one question. We have found different anomalies when looking at reports with our clients, notably a difference between Net Promoter Score and the Customer Effort Score.

The NPS can be very high, while the CES can be lower. Keep in mind the NPS is your global predictor of loyalty and revenue, while the CES is transactional.

It is our pleasure to show you the difference. Give us a call today on: 317-816-6000.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting, fast turnaround on requested updates, and detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities to support process improvement efforts, build customer loyalty and improve your bottom line.

Developed and managed by Mobius Vendor Partners, CustomerCount was initially designed for the timeshare and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries.  For more information call Bob Kobek, president, on 317-816-6000 and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

The future is here with Onsite Service Request

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by Yuri Duncan, WRAP Partner and CEO Buchanan Creative Solutions

The year 2020 is here, and the future is NOW! We may not have the flying cars and jetpacks promised in past visions of the future, but technological advancements in the hospitality industry are just as promising. 

Current technology trends and the speculative visions of how the person of the future engages their hospitality experience straddles the line between science fiction and science fact.

Imagine the future

The guest of the future has made their booking arrangements via their smart device, a process that took little time as the hotel brand has stored the guest’s preferences based on past activity.  The same smart device provides keyless entry into their room, and the room’s artificial intelligence greets them by name. 

The room then asks for temperature and lighting preferences, as well as any music or television activation requests.  The guest puts away their smart device, as many of the items in the room are smart devices themselves.

The windows themselves are digitized glass, and the guest requests they go dark for privacy.  That is until they remember that the big game is on, and the window transitions into one giant television screen.  The guest activates the room’s AI with a request for room service and settles in for a night of personalized relaxation. 

The future is now

That description may sound like the world of the future, but many of these elements are either already in use in many hotels, or are in development for use soon.  Again, the future is now.

Although this technology is just over the horizon, there are many things you can do to advance your guest experience into the 21st century.

onsite service request

Many players are currently operating in this space, catering to both small and large vacation properties. After some configuration on the part of the property, guests may use the app to:

  • Check-in or out;
  • Order room service;
  • Make reservations at onsite restaurants;
  • Engage the concierge and their services;
  • Explore onsite events;
  • Order poolside services;
  • Communicate with the front desk;
  • Request in-room services;
  • And so much more.

Onsite Service Request

One such app-based service is the Onsite Service Request (OSR) offered by CustomerCount®. The OSR “puts the power of instant customer service directly into your guest’s hands, allowing you to receive real-time alerts and meet their needs anywhere and at any time!”

When a property integrates the OSR into their processes, the guest experience is elegant in its simplicity:

  • The guest invokes the app by using their smartphone to scan their in-room personalized QR code;
  • The app provides service request options, customized to the property;
  • An email alert immediately notifies resort personnel of the guest’s request; and
  • The appropriate property staff responds promptly.

This system also allows you to collect guest preferences for future use.  As mentioned above, understanding the guest’s preferences is the key to personalization and providing a unique experience.

CustomerCount also allows for the integration of the data collected via the Onsite Service Request application into the data collected within their pre-arrival and post-stay surveys. Developing a guest experience cycle that includes the following elements maximizes both current and future experiences:

  1. Pre-arrival surveys;
  2. An application, such as the Onsite Service Request, for use during the stay; and
  3. Post-stay surveys.

Employing simple approaches like the one prescribed above allows you to advance your back-of-the-house operations fully into the 21st century without investing a large amount of time or money. 

If you’d like to explore this sort of customer experience strategy and others like it, contacting CustomerCount is a great way to get started. Their in-house expertise and resources, combined with their strategic partnerships, provide you with the level of thought-leadership necessary to keep up with current and future trends in maximizing your guest’s experience. 

About Yuri Duncan

Yuri Duncan is an award winning filmmaker and president of Buchanan Creative Solutions, LLC – a video production company specializing in producing affordable and effective videos. His skills and accomplishments as an artist and leader are what drive him to provide high quality services through Buchanan Creative Solutions.

With a proven record in design, illustration, animation, editing, and management, Yuri oversees all projects, no matter how large or small, to ensure the end-result fulfills your vision.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  

Why SMS should be part of your feedback strategy

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By Anthony Link, CEO, The Connections Group

Historically, companies have relied on phone and email for customer engagement and obtaining feedback and surveys.  However, today, text messaging is the fastest growing contact channel for customer service and feedback. This is simply due to its convenience, ease of usage and reliability. 

The data speaks for itself:

  • 81 percent of the population own cell phones;
  • 50 percent + of customers prefer contacting support through text;
  • 95.3 percent of consumers said they would respond to an SMS survey*;
  • SMS has a response rate that’s 76.5 percent greater than email;
  • 98 percent of all text messages are opened; and
  • 90 percent are responded to within three minutes.

Compare these statistics to email, which only has a 21 percent open rate, a three percent response rate and an average response time of 90 minutes.

SMS messaging survey deployment

Jay Conrad, president of The Connections Group, says,  “People communicate via text more frequently these days.  With conversational marketing we see higher engagement rates, higher cost satisfaction and greater ease of problem resolution.  People are more apt to text or access a web app than to call housekeeping for extra towels or contact the concierge to book a dinner reservation spontaneously and even when not on-site.“

For businesses today, utilizing texting for survey delivery and responses is an easy and quick way to obtain feedback information. It empowers and engages customers, who might not otherwise respond to email or telephone surveys, to provide feedback on their experiences.

And they will definitely appreciate the convenience of doing so via SMS. Using a text messaging system allows customers to interact with a business without long hold times or delayed responses. After all, the faster a problem or issue is solved, the greater the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty.

Benefits of SMS survey deployment:

  • Cheaper than over-the-phone or face-to-face surveys
  • High response rates
  • Quicker response rates
  • More accurate responses
  • Easy setup
  • Cost effective
Connections SMS survey

At The Connections Group we work with CustomerCount®, a premier provider of world class, enterprise-capable, guest experience measurement tools. By integrating with our SMS text platform, CustomerCount is able to delivery surveys for their clients via text messaging. And the results have been amazing.

CustomerCount’s omni-channel approach expands the traditional communication methods and provides customers the preferred channel to initiate their feedback through text messaging.

Bob Kobek, president of CustomerCount, explains: “We’ve seen a change in the way that our surveys are accessed. Mobile device popularity continues to grow. A year ago, 45.7 percent of our responses came from mobile devices. Today it’s 51.87 percent and growing.

“Our clients love SMS survey deployment and their customers really appreciate the ease of accessibility.”

SMS surveys provide a holistic customer communication experience and are an instant way to evaluate and ensure customer satisfaction and continued growth. It provides invaluable real-time data and analysis businesses need to create superior customer experience that skyrockets satisfaction and growth!

We believe it is the future for customer feedback survey delivery.

If you agree and want to find out more, contact Anthony Link at 561-414-4302 or Bob Kobek at 317-816-6000.

*Ipsos MORI

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting, fast turnaround on requested updates, and detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities to support process improvement efforts, build customer loyalty and improve your bottom line.

Developed and managed by Mobius Vendor Partners, CustomerCount was initially designed for the timeshare and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries.  For more information call Bob Kobek, president, on 317-816-6000 and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

About The Connections Group

The Connections Group are experts in the development and implementation of conversational marketing solutions. When deployed within a client’s online marketing strategy, it drives leads that want to have a conversation through the text – their chosen communication medium. Customers can now contact you directly via text with our patent pending technology and book rooms, order services, answer surveys and much more. This guest communication lead to higher engagement and higher customer service.

To qualify you must comply? We take a look.

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by Bob Kobek, RRP, President CustomerCount

Reprinted courtesy of Resort Trades, Volume 33, Number 1, January 5, 2020; ResortTrades.com.

Well, not necessarily, but maybe. In any case, it pays to pay attention when it comes to legislation compliance.

Chances are your competitors are not as aware as they should be.

It is important to note here – I am not an attorney – I do not, nor have I ever played one on TV. The ONLY legal opinion that is represented here, by me, is simple: Call a qualified attorney.

Let’s take a look: First some definitions, as you will notice in the paragraphs below, there are a lot of ways to get into trouble. I promise all of them contain legislation compliance that will impact your business in a bad way, or if you are smart, very often in a good way because they can offer a competitive advantage.

  • World Wide Web Compliance (W3C);
    • Your websites, all of them, need to be ADA compliant (are surveys included? Absolutely, every last one of them)
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG);
    • Strict adherence is critical
  • Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI-A);
    • Staying current is equally as critical
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
    • The EU is fining heavily here, and borders offer no protection
  • California Privacy Act (CCPA);
    • Modeled after GDPR – to take effect in 2020
  • The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) including Do Not Call (DNC);
    • The umbrella law that has long reach and will sting or bite
  • Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL);
    • Better not solicit or market without permission
  • and the last time I looked there were 30 different pieces of state anti robo call laws either proposed or passed dealing with TCPA issues

NOTE: All legislation compliance here falls under the umbrella of “consumer protection”. Most all of them work with the premise that you must gain prior express written consent.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Do Not Call rule was passed and signed into law that was to be the destroyer of the call center. But smart marketing people figured out how to capitalize on it – use it, don’t call people that don’t want to be called. It also created an industry made up of companies that manage your DNC lists.

In timeshare, there were also those companies (I suggest they still exist) that ignored the DNC treating is as a part of their risk management.

Legislation compliance

And, today, check these instances:

Scenario 1: Government

Google and its subsidiary, YouTube agreed to pay more than $170,000,000.00 for alleged violations of Children’s Privacy Law*.  https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2019/09/google-youtube-will-pay-record-170-million-alleged-violations

Scenario 2: Class Action

Meanwhile, Treasure Island (yes, THE Las Vegas Treasure Island) was the victim of an SMS (text violation) and TCPA class action law suit over the use of a virtual concierge service because embedded in their system was the opportunity to submit a review on Yelp! Note the reference to “class action”. Civil suit. http://www.kleinmoynihan.com/hotels-use-of-artificial-intelligence-leads-to-sms-tcpa-class-action/

You might think these two companies are smarter than that – but alas, not to be. (In the case of Treasure Island, the suit against Yelp! was dropped, the one against Treasure Island was settled.

How a Legislator might think

I recently met with a Member of Congress (MOC) about a robo call bill he was introducing. My take was/is there are two very distinct types of robo calls: legal and illegal. Just about everyone I talk to about this agrees, and it is the position of the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE). I love the debate and there are very intelligent solutions being engineered. But this is about that one single bill.

It seems the gentleman from a state that will not be mentioned here for fear of some retribution, came up with the initiative when his mother called to complain about all the robo calls.  Yup, his mother. When he found out that is was a politically palatable effort – he went for the fences.

All calls, even the ones some very unfortunate parents might get if there is a lock down at their child’s school or their doctor needs to tend to an emergency and can’t make the appointment with you.

This one will fall under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

According to the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) as of December 1, 2019, there are 30 separate proposed pieces of state legislation and four proposed federal pieces of legislation, all dealing with TCPA consumer protection issues.

Then, there is this one – on the Compromise Bill currently working its way through Congress, in an article written by Eric J. Troutman of Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLC and published in the National Law Review: “Breaking News: Don’t leave for Thanksgiving just Yet! Text of New Compromise “Robocall” Bill just released, and its huge!” Wednesday, November 27, 2019.  Can be referred to as SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. 1 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Pallone-Thune Tele-2 phone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act’’ or the ‘‘Pallone-Thune TRACED Act’’. https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20191202/BILLS-116s151-SUS.pdf

Notice the word “criminal” in this one?

This is all about the robocall, but one of the more intriguing ones is “No new criminal enforcement provisions but it requires certain reporting to the DOJ about fraudulent calls for possible prosecution”.

Not being a lawyer is not a deterrent for me to interpret what this means. It means that any government entity, Attorney General, County Sheriff, can refer fraudulent calls to the Federal Department of Justice for prosecution. They are the ones with the gold badges.

And, there is still no definition of an Automatic Telephone Dialing System. And, keep in mind the next big wave of anticipated legislation compliance that will turn to regulations will surround the issue of privacy. This one is just getting started in the states, the federal legislators and the global regulators.

Stand by – this is a moving target!

Marketing vision for 2020 and the new decade

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By John Heffernan, WRAP Partner and associate of EVC Marketing

With 2020 just around the corner, we’re looking forward to not just a new year but also the start of a new decade.

In recent weeks, influencers, specialists and writers have taken us back to 2009/2010. They’ve made reminiscent observations of where we were, how far we have come, and the difference the last decade has made to both our personal and business lives.

Over the past 10 years, we have moved into a more mobile and social world. We are told Facebook is losing users, Twitter is falling out of favour and Google wants to control everything. New apps and services are launched every day. Everything that has worked in the past to market and promote our businesses – search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing and PR for example – is dead or dying.  

There may be some truth to the doom and gloom. However, in reality, business marketing has simply continued to evolve over the years. It’s moved with the times and trends. And adapted and offered opportunities to those prepared to embrace change.

2020 marketing

The year 2020 is apt to accompany a new vision for the new decade.

Rather than look 10 years ahead (after all how many got this decade right?), the immediate year ahead should be the focus of our business planning, strategy and implementation. This will then provide a solid foundation for whatever the decade brings.

And to start 2020 correctly, we need to remember that traditional marketing is not dead and digital marketing is just marketing using digital tools and systems.

The future of marketing in 2020 and beyond dictates a cross-channel approach that includes all the elements necessary for your business to succeed. Let’s be honest here. Content marketing is NOT a one-size fits all approach. The focus starts with your clients and potential clients.

The brutal truth for many businesses is that quality counts. And simply churning out sound bites, poor quality images/video and one-liner social posts will never improve your brand authority.

marketing 2020

Yes, videos, images and infographics are a must-have for any content strategy in 2020. But quality blogs, articles and long-form content will still remain the most shared and most commented-on form of content developing both authority and trust.

This is especially so if that content is educational, informative and provides the reader with real added value.

Although this is not new, 2020 marketing must involve a more holistic approach to cross-channel marketing. It needs to embrace website design, speed and structure and mobile-first content, video, images and content distribution to your targeted client channels.

Be where your customers are and deliver the content in the style and format they want to receive. Understand that you need to take a different approach for who and what you are marketing.

Marketing B2C?

You’ll need to consider the short attention spans and the buy-now, selfie-obsessed focus of your target market.

Marketing B2B?

You’ll need to understand your target market’s need to research, learn and understand your products and services.

So, what is needed for 2020 marketing?

The start of a new decade should perhaps allow all businesses to take a short step back and review:

  • Where are you now?
  • What worked in 2019?
  • What has failed or held you back?
  • Which content and channels are worthy of your time?
  • All your competitors activities?
  • How are they evolving (if at all)?

Review the review and decide how you can move forward more efficiently, effectively and successfully.

The new decade still needs an old marketing approach:

  • Review;
  • Plan;
  • Create;
  • Implement; and
  • Measure.

Marry old style planning to new style strategies and this year will move your business from solid foundations to on-going success.

But what do Bok Kobek, CustomerCount president, and our fellow WRAP partners think will happen in 2020 and beyond? We asked them for their thoughts:

2020 marketing

Bob Kobek – President, CustomerCount

2020 will bring about incredible advances in technology that at this point we can’t even fathom. The emergence and always increasing sophistication of AI alone will bring the need to constantly adjust processes and attitudes. All while doing whatever we can to avoid unnecessary distractions.

Combined with the knowledge that our prospects and clients will face similar numbers of distraction we will be required to be much more precise in our messaging, meaning the need for us to understand whatever data we can collect, to make our messaging even more targeted – we can never forget, people buy from people.

Marketing is marketing – the technology pushes it to be more targeted and faster.

Georgi Bohrod – Principal, GBG & Associates

Words matter.  Pictures matter more.  In the next decade, according to my crystal ball, our attention spans will shorten even more.  Few will want to read lengthy blog posts, wordy social media analyses and lengthy articles.  Video and live stream broadcasting already dominates marketing communication and in the next decade I predict it will take over nearly entirely. 

This evolution is going to happen without you even noticing.  If you want to communicate with your customers, choose the platform that speaks to them, in their language, doesn’t bore them and assures you of their attention.  You’ve got about 10 seconds to capture them.  Ready-set-go.  Oops they’ve clicked on something else.  Mastering the quick connection is going to be paramount. Good luck!

Howard Bendell – Principal, Bendell Resort Consulting

One of the most daunting challenges facing today’s resort developer is being able to augment the ownership message to appeal to the millennial consumer.

Recognizing that this target demographic will soon represent the greatest proportion of the purchasing economy will create distinct separation in the marketplace along with competitive advantage.

This consumer is fundamentally different from the baby boomer that helped to build the timeshare industry, as we know it. Millennials are far more experiential and demand credibility and validation – not by the strength of the brand promise or name recognition, but rather through personal reviews and references provided by other consumers who look and act like themselves.

Being able to anticipate the demands this will place on existing marketing and sales infrastructures will drive where we go as in industry…and as industry, how we react will pave the outlook for the next decade. 

Emily Collins – CEO, EVC Marketing

At this time of year there are many ways to look forward to the New Year challenges:

  1. Doing exactly the same as the year before (and hoping for better results);
  2. Waiting to see what the New Year brings before deciding what to do;
  3. Randomly checking your competitors and what they may or may not be doing; OR
  4. Reviewing your 2019 performance, customer feedback (good and bad); and
  5. Strategically planning your 2020 future success.

Yes I know, you’ve heard it all before. But, experience dictates that even if you know that options four and five are what you want to do or must do, they all too often fall into the round-to-it trap and the enemy of round-to-it is time.

Consider this.

From January 1st we will all have the same number of months, weeks, days, hours, minutes available. How we allocate our time is the issue, not time itself.

If you want to succeed in 2020 you need:

  • A plan.
  • A strategy
  • To be organised
  • To be ready.

Plan for success. Have real 2020 vision.