Dissecting The Customer Effort Score (CES)

April, 2014

The Customer Effort Score (CES) has been found to be an accurate indicator of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here we look at what might comprise a CES, and what could be done to optimise it.

The effort a customer must expend in achieving their goal for a contact session – measured as a Customer Effort Score (CES) – has been found to be an accurate indicator of customer satisfaction and loyalty, the ultimate aim of any customer-facing service.

Here we look at what might comprise a CES, and what could be done to optimise it, focusing on 3 key areas:

  1. metrics
  2. functionality
  3. agent training

Metrics

CES is especially useful because it doesn’t rely on a post-interaction survey, but rather can be gleaned from various measures within the control of the contact center.

Which metrics might be useful input for a CES? Mainly those relating to customer wait time.

For voice interactions:

  • How long did the phone ring before it was answered (either by IVR or a live agent)?
  • Was the IVR easy to navigate? i.e. did they follow a linear path, did they get lost and backtrack, or did they ‘zero out’?
  • Once navigated, how long did they wait in queue for a live agent?
  • When talking to an agent, were they put on hold?
  • For how long?
  • How many times?

For text-based interactions (web chat, email, etc):

  • After initiating a chat session/ sending a text/ email, how long did they wait before an agent replied?
    Expectations are different depending on the channel. A recent survey* found that 59% expect resolution within 30 minutes when contacting customer services by phone, 52% expect to get resolution within a day via social media, and 75% expect resolution within a day via email.
    *The Omnichannel Customer Service Gap – Zendesk/ Loudhouse survey, Nov 2013
  • How long were they left waiting for agent responses?
  • How many questions/ answers were required before the customer was satisfied?

To implement improvements for real-time metrics, targets/ thresholds can be set and alerts primed to tell supervisors when the targets are under threat of being breached. For post-interaction metrics, reports must be generated and analysed to identify areas for improvement.

Functionality

For voice interactions:

  • While in the queue, were they kept informed? (“You are number x in the queue”, “The current wait time is x mins”, etc)
  • Did they have the option to leave a message, or request a callback?
  • When transferring from IVR to agent or between agents, did they have to repeat info (security details, account number, etc)?
  • How many times?

Agent training

  • Was the agent able to satisfy the customer during the first contact (first contact resolution)?

In order to achieve this, a number of things must be in place:

  • Did the agent have access to the right information & systems?
  • Is the agent trained adequately to provide the required service?
  • If they couldn’t provide resolution themselves, did they have access to a remote knowledge worker who could help?
  • Did they have the right basic skills for the job? E.g. could they speak/ write clearly and intelligibly?

The combined answers to all these questions and more will give an informed insight into the consumer experience without the need for customer feedback. Armed with this, the contact center is in a good position to maximise efficiency and improve services so that customer effort is reduced and consumers are grown into brand advocates.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC), offering multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions, for quick and easy deployment by partners offering CCaaS or enterprise users. All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

  • Flexible Contact Center Platform

    Softdial Contact Center™ – tightly integrated modules, designed to deliver at scale

  • Blended Media Desktop

    Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

  • Work Anywhere

    Browser-based tools, no software installation required

  • Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

    Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

  • Customise, Localise, White Label

    Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

  • Integration Via APIs

    ‘Swap out’ components and integrate with 3rd party apps

  • World Class Development

    Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries

Capabilities

Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

  • All Media Types

    Voice, chat, email, social, etc – fully integrated and blended

  • Agent Multi-Tasking

    Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

  • Dynamic Media Blending

    Automated, ‘best available’ decisions to blend and balance work load across all media types

  • Predictive Dialing

    Best-of-breed performance under compliance

  • Intelligent Routing

    Smart rules and ‘best-available’ decisions to drive great customer service

  • Agent Scripts

    Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

  • Voice and Screen Recording

    See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

  • Analytics and Data Feeds

    Measure and evaluate performance at every level

  • IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

    Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

  • Customer Journey Tracking

    Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations

Modules

A complete suite of tools, with unique flexibility to extend and swap out modules to deliver a tailored contact center solution for any environment

  • Softdial One™

    Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

  • Softdial Scripter™

    Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

  • Sytel AI Dialer™

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

  • Softdial Pathfinder™

    Precise routing rules for ‘best available’ connection

  • Softdial Media Server™

    Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

  • Softdial Reporter™ 5

    Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

  • Softdial Publisher™

    Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

  • Softdial Recording Monitor™

    Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

  • Softdial Campaign Manager™

    Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

  • Softdial Repository™

    Central storage and configuration of common resources

  • Sytel Global Compliance™

    Flexible ‘no contact’ rules to protect contact center and consumer

Markets

Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

  • Customer Service

    Connect quickly to well equipped agents

  • Sales & Telemarketing

    Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

  • Healthcare

    Secure, highly-configurable multichannel communications for excellence in patient care

  • Market Research

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

  • Collections

    Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app