Customer Effort has received a lot of interest and attention in customer experience management in the recent past. The Customer Effort Score (CES) featured in the 2010 Harvard Business Review article: “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers“. In this article the authors prove a link between Customer Effort and two customer experience metrics, namely the likelihood to keep doing business with a company and the intention to spread positive word of mouth.
CES is measured by asking a single question: “How much effort did you have to personally put forth to handle your request?”
Overall the premise is that the less effort customers have to put in during an interaction, the more likely they are to recommend and continue doing business with the company. This is particularly relevant in complaints management. It makes intuitive sense that when customers face negative ‘critical incidents’, or ‘moments of truth’ in the customer experience, the more effort they have to put in to resolve the issues and the more dissatisfied they will be. This is expected to have a significant impact on customer advocacy and loyalty.
Ipsos Loyalty carried out a survey across 7 sectors in the US in order to investigate how companies respond to customer issues or critical incidents, and the extent to which they are successful at mitigating resulting negative customer outcomes. As part of this research we investigated the role Customer Effort plays on customers’ satisfaction with complaints handling and on broader outcomes such as advocacy and loyalty.