NPS vs CES: Which One is Better for Your Survey?

For almost a decade now, the NPS question which goes something like – “How likely are you to recommend our products to friends and family on a scale of 1 to 10” has been the favored way to measure customer loyalty. NPS tells you how likely are they to promote you? However, marketers and customer success executives are now looking at a new parameter, CES or Customer Effort Score to measure the customer experience. Now the obvious question is, which of these two are going to emerge as a more suitable parameter as we dissect NPS vs CES.Ask an expert to pick the one, he/she will shy away from favoring one. There is a time and place for each KPI and in this blog, we will decode what Customer Effort Score is, how is it different from Net Promoter Score, and when to use which.

What is Customer Effort Score?

Every time you wish to make a purchase, be it online or offline, you have to make some efforts to either visit the website or go to the store, find the product and order it. All this process requires effort and CES is a measurement of how much effort was required on the customer’s behalf to make a particular purchase or transaction or avail particular service. It doesn’t matter your customer’s satisfaction or promoter level, although it measures the loyalty of your customers and their retention score.The idea behind determining CES is that people are mostly lazy. Harvard Research team concluded that it is convenience which is a better predictor of customer loyalty as compared to satisfaction. A prime example of this is fast food. Although you might find the best pizza in your nearest local restaurants, it’s the fast-food chains that deliver thousands of orders every day, while your local pizzeria hardly delivers 50 orders a day.Customer Effort Score question usually asks customers about how easy was it to transact. An example of such a question is – “How easy was it to apply for a loan?”The rating is usually measured over a scale of 1-5 or on a scale of 1-7. You can also measure it on a scale of 1-10, like NPS. In the CES case, 7-10 is scaled as good CES.  

How to measure Customer Efforts Score?

Let’s say you ask your customers to rate their efforts on a scale of 1 to 5. To calculate your score, you need to figure out the percentage of customers who rated the efforts as easy. The formula for calculating CES isCES == Sum of all the Customer Effort Score/Total number of respondents.So, let’s say in your survey, you got scores of – 4,5,4,3,2,5,4,5,1,2,4. Your total score is 39. The total number of respondents is 11. Let’s calculate your CES.CES == 39/11== 3.5

How to utilize Customer Effort Score?

A high average means that your customers are finding it easy to make transactions or avail services. This translates into your customer experience too. A low average indicates that there are gaps in your customer service that can be improved.Using CES scores, brands can pinpoint the major gaps in their CX. The brands can identify touchpoints where customers are made to put in the extra effort. Brands can further simplify the process to provide a seamless experience.

What is Net Promoter Score?

Net Promoter Score is probably the most used tool to measure customer loyalty and relationship with the brand or business. When you purchase a brand, you tend to form an opinion of the brand based on the product, service, and overall experience. Over the period, you make a relationship and this determines whether you would recommend the product or brand to your family and friends. This helps you determine what portion of your customer base would be an active promoter of your brand. This also helps you understand what part of your customer base is looking to detract from your brand.It is usually measured on a scale of 1-10. The ones who rate you between 1 and 6 are called detractors and they are the ones who are most likely to leave your brand. Respondents who rate you 7 or 8 are called Passives and they are neither looking to detract from your brand but they won’t be an active promoter either. The ones who rate you 9 or 10 are your promoters. You can read more about NPS, here.

When to use NPS and CES?

Timing is the key when it comes to implementing the right strategy. While NPS and CES both measure customer loyalty, both have a completely different purpose and are used differently.Customer Effort Score is used to measure the experience of your customer over a particular transaction. It is usually carried out just after the transaction or within 24 hours of it. For example, if a customer has contacted an airline to cancel his/ her ticket over a call, the business can send the CES survey a day after the transaction is approved. However, the NPS survey doesn’t yield the best result if conducted on an immediate basis. The airline can send an NPS survey once every quarter to assess the customer experience and relationship.NPS is a determinant of your customer experience over an extended period, sometimes over multiple transactions. However, the CES survey yields the best result when conducted after every transaction.There is no clear winner in the case of NPS vs CES. To understand which one of the following two should be used, you need to look at the type of survey you wish to create and what is the aim of that survey.If you are looking for a platform that allows you to create Customer Experience surveys in a minute, Survey2Connect is your savior. Now design DIY surveys in minutes and send them to your customers using multiple channels and analyze the results in real-time. To know more, visit

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