Your customer effort score (CES) is a good measure of how easy or difficult it is for customers to conduct vital activities, such as purchasing or getting assistance. If you’ve submitted a customer effort score survey to your customers, you may have seen areas of your website, store, customer service department, or other areas that can be improved. Here are some of the most common ways to improve your customer effort score.
11 Ways to Improve Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES as a customer satisfaction metric is based on the theory that lowering resistance is more valuable to customer satisfaction than extraordinary service. This theory indicates that making essential processes as easy as possible and improving your customer effort score can improve customer retention and reduce customer churn.
Website Purchasing Process
Online sales have been quickly increasing over the last decade, amounting to about 12% of total retail sales and likely to continue rising. With many storefronts closing or limiting capacity due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses than ever are opening their doors online. A difficult online purchasing process is a common cause of low customer effort scores. These are a few of the ways to improve customer effort scores when it comes to online purchasing.
1. Test Your Purchasing Process
Before opening your online store, and periodically while it is open, test the purchasing process. Use different devices, including mobile and desktop devices, as well as different browser and common plugins, such as adblockers. If there are problems or roadblocks within your online purchasing process, you may uncover them in your tests before they become a problem for customers.
2. Test CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA, which is intended to thwart bots and spam, can be a source of frustration for some users. If it is not properly implemented, it can also make the purchasing process inaccessible. CAPTCHA can be an effective tool on your site, but make sure that you test it properly. If customer effort score surveys cite CAPTCHA as a problem, consider alternatives.
3. Provide Multiple Payment Types
Some customers aren’t comfortable entering their credit card information on some platforms, and prefer to use services like PayPal or Stripe. If your online store accepts limited types of payment, customers might find this difficult to use. Add payment types to
4. Make Website Mobile-Friendly
More and more consumers are shopping and making purchases on their mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, customers will find the process frustrating on their mobile devices. Using a responsive web design template can help you make your site mobile-friendly.
5. Monitor Time-Outs
Some websites are designed to time out and log a user out of the system after a certain time has elapsed. This is intended to prevent illicit purchases, however it can create challenges for customers. Make sure you’re giving your customers enough time to complete their purchases. Also, display the timer clearly, so customers know how long they have.
Customer Service Experience
Customers turn to service representatives to ask questions and solve problems. If no one is available to help, it can quickly make things difficult for customers and drive them away. Improving your customer service experience and making customer service more accessible can quickly improve your customer effort score.
6. Provide a Contact Number
If a customer has an urgent problem or question, they’ll want to talk to you right away. Provide a phone number to your office, as well as a knowledgeable staff member to answer these calls. Clearly show when the contact number is active, so customers know when to call.
7. Provide Online Chat
If a customer is trying to make an online purchase, an online chat is an easy and intuitive way to get their questions answered if they encounter problems. Just like a contact number, show when this is operated by a real person. Alternatively, you might use a chat bot to direct customers to the appropriate FAQ section, or answer common questions. If you use a chat bot, make sure customers are not expecting to talk to a real person, or they might become frustrated with the bot’s limitations.
8. Provide Customer Service Email Address
An email customer service inquiry is a convenient way to get questions answered and problems resolved. Provide an email address and explain what details you’ll need to resolve a problem. This way, customers can get their problem solved while working on other things. This can improve your customer effort score dramatically.
If the majority of your sales come from your brick-and-mortar business, this will be the best area to focus on, and the best way to improve your CES. Making your in-store experience navigable, accessible, and simplifying your check-out as much as possible will help to reduce barrier and improve customer loyalty.
9. Organize Items Intuitively
A customer’s in-store experience can become difficult if they can’t find the items they’re looking for. Use additional surveys, or ask your customers in the store if you could organize items more intuitively.
10. Give Staff the Tools to Solve Problems
Knowledgeable staff can help solve customers’ problems and questions in-store. However, staff can’t provide information they don’t know. Thorough training and accessible manuals can help staff solve problems and increase customer effort score. Also, give your staff members the authority to solve problems or make amends, such as providing discounts or making returns easy.
11. Make Purchasing Easy
The in-store purchasing process, just like the online one, should be simple and straightforward. If a customer isn’t sure where to check-out, or they have to provide an email address or zip code to check out, it can add too many steps. Balance the value of the information that you gather against the ease and speed of the checkout process.
Before you can improve customer effort score, first distribute a customer effort score survey. Consider the most valuable actions and interactions, and ask your customers how easy or difficult these processes are. Use targeted follow-up questions to discern where customers are having issues. Once you know what challenges your customers are having, try making the above improvements.
Posted in: Customer Feedback