How To Write Customer Effort Score (CES) Questions? [10 Tips]

customer effort score (ces) question

Are you looking to ask highly reliable questions in your next Customer Effort Score survey? You’re in for a treat!

We highly recommend going through this complete guide to writing the best CES questions as we have shortlisted the best tips you can use to get your CES survey up and running.

Drafting an engaging Customer Effort Score question isn’t a walk in the park and might require several iterations before you land the perfect CES question. However, if you stick to the fundamentals, the process becomes less effort and time-intensive.

Let’s cut to the chase and learn how to write great CES questions, shall we?

Table of contents
1. Have a clear purpose
2. Let the survey flow naturally
3. Use audience segments
4. Nail survey questions’ timing
5. Keep the customer satisfaction survey short
6. Don’t ask double-barreled questions
7. Choose the right customer satisfaction scale
8. Make words your ally
9. Ask the right customer loyalty questions
10. Test the survey questions rigorously

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Top 10 tips to write great Customer Effort Score questions!

If you have never written a survey before, we suggest you follow the tips mentioned below and create a reliable foundation for your upcoming Customer Effort Score surveys. Let’s discuss them in detail.

1. Have a clear purpose

We know what a Customer Effort Score survey does. But, it’s important that you realize why YOU want to use it in the first place. In other words, you need to determine the purpose behind writing the CES questions.

A survey without a purpose is basically a movie that lacks any plot.

Indeed, you can create a survey anyway. But, it will not leave an impression on the respondents or give them a reason to spend their time on it.

A survey question developed without any thought will only result in respondents dropping out early into the survey and not completing it.

2. Let the survey flow naturally

Customer Effort Score surveys help businesses determine how convenient it is for customers to interact with the brands. You will use the survey questions to measure customer satisfaction.

Since the survey itself is a part of the brand, shouldn’t it be customer friendly as well? The questions in any Customer Effort Score survey should flow naturally. If you are new to writing CES survey questions, make sure you ask the filtering questions first.

Then move to the main body of the survey, and finally close the survey with demographic questions. The demographic questions are generally included to conduct audience analysis.

Some brands prefer asking demographic questions at the beginning. If you do that, make sure you don’t ask all the demographic questions upfront. Instead, ask a few up front and save the rest for the end.

3. Use audience segments

Are you segmenting the audience before sending the CES survey?

This is far more important than you can imagine. Don’t just ask CES questions because a customer is done with the transaction. Instead, focus on where the customers are in their buying journey.

Remember, not all customers will be in the same stage in the customer journey. In other words, they wouldn’t have enough experience to respond to the CES question.

Therefore, write the Customer Effort Score questions while considering the different stages of the buyer journey. The best way to do that is by creating audience segments as it helps make more relevant CES questions, which further improves the response rate.

4. Nail survey questions’ timing

What is the best moment to trigger a CES question? In our recent posts, we shared precisely when you should shoot the CES survey. Ideally, you should share the CES survey right after customers are done with the online transaction or interaction.

This is because the customers have a fresh memory which will help them better answer the CES questions. It also eliminates potential biases triggered by irrelevant occurrences.

We highly recommend you couple the CES survey questions with certain events in the buying journey that can help determine the experience cycle. For example, the end of a customer service team interaction.

You can use own our JustFeedback tool to create and deliver CES surveys fast.

5. Keep the customer satisfaction survey short

Your customer has already been through a lot. Not saying that you have a bad CX. But, you shouldn’t expect much out of a customer that is already putting in the effort to make a purchase.

This is why we recommend all brands aim for simplicity. Use the customer effort metrics to frame the questions instead of worrying about CSAT or exploring ways to generate better NPS scores.

Just figure out what you want to get out of the question, and stick to it. The simpler the survey the better. Don’t create lengthy questions that make the customers take forever to read, understand, and respond to.

6. Don’t ask double-barreled questions

A business-customer interaction online can be quite taxing, especially for the customer during a high-effort service interaction. Since there’s hardly any personal interaction during the transaction, the possibilities of misunderstanding and confusion are endless.

We highly recommend you don’t make the survey questions harder for the respondents. One way of ensuring that is by not asking any double-barreled questions. What are double-barreled questions?

Here’s an example, “Please feel free to rate your level of satisfaction with the promptness and transparency of the sales team.”

While the question might seem simple, respondents might get confused because you are asking to rate two factors in the same question. Asking specific questions should be your priority.

7. Choose the right customer satisfaction scale

Are you choosing the right scale for the CES questions? In an earlier post, we discussed the differences between CES 1.0 and CES 2.0 scales (customer effort score benchmark).

The former scale was quite troubling for businesses and customers as it was an inverted scale.

In other words, “1” on the scale meant good, and “5” was bad. This was very confusing as most customers associate a higher score with a better or positive customer experience. More importantly, customers left the CES scores intuitively.

So, they didn’t put any time into learning about the scale. Then came CES 2.0 which was essentially a 7-point scale where choices were from “1” (strongly disagree) to “7” (strongly agree). The scale helped mitigate acquiescence response bias.

8. Make words your ally

Are you wording the Customer Effort Score questions correctly? Choosing the right word for the CES questions is critical to the survey’s success.

The words used in the questions should first, serve the purpose (as mentioned earlier, and second, target the area of analysis and group.

To keep things simple, you can ask questions in Likert format. It will help make the questions sound natural. Aim to use words that render the questions unambiguous — words that only focus on customer effort.

There shouldn’t be any redundancy in the words, especially in the same question. This you can ensure by keeping the question simple. Most importantly, the question should stay neutral and must not indicate a favorable answer.

9. Ask the right customer loyalty questions

Is the CES survey asking the right questions? You need an answer to this question as a CES survey with the right questions helps extract precise answers.

So frame the question in a way that proves to be an extension of the customers’ struggle or ease experienced during the interaction. We highly recommend you use a neutral tone to not push the respondents in a certain direction.

The best way to ensure that is by asking Customer Effort Score questions in the form of a statement. More importantly, refrain from using the word “effort” as it has different meanings in different languages.

Rephrase the questions to directly ask the respondents about the ease of interaction or resolution.

10. Test the survey questions rigorously

Creating the CES questions is one thing, testing the results is another. How can you test the CES questions? We highly recommend you put the questions to the test by putting them in front of as many people as possible.

Let lots of people answer the CES questions before setting them live. This simple test even helps companies address the different logic used in the questions. It gives them the opportunity to figure out whether or not respondents are able to understand the logic.

More importantly, you should ask the testers to leave feedback. Ask them about flow, overall sense, relatability, and other crucial factors. Let the testers mark questions that seem odd or ones that don’t have a correct logic flow.

Final thoughts!

You’re all set to create good Customer Effort Score questions! Indeed, there is so much to learn about writing the best CES questions. But, you should not wait to create the perfect CES survey.

Just go ahead and write the questions and keep testing and optimizing them for better results. More importantly, you shouldn’t focus on all the tips mentioned in this extensive CES question writing guide.

Instead, we want you to just pick 2-3 tips and run with them. As you get more and more comfortable with writing the questions, level up with the rest of the best practices and create the most complete CES survey of all time!

So, what are you waiting for? Write your first Customer Effort Score question right away! Did you find this post helpful? Let us know by getting in touch.

Also, don’t forget to check out other informative posts on the blog!

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