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Customer Service in the News | Week of November 19th

Is it time for a Chief Customer Experience Officer? [ITWire]

Increasing extrinsic rewards for your reps by “gamifying” customer service might actually damage service quality [Wired]

Technology is increasingly an essential component of the customer experience; these are some reasons why your company should take note [B2C]

What Lance Armstrong’s scandal can teach us about customer service [B2C]

Black Friday isn’t only for customer deals- companies are thinking about how to build their brands and take advantage of the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree [New York Times]

Does the customer experience matter if you don’t have major competitors? [Retail Customer Experience]

Frequently Asked Questions about Customer Effort Score

Posted on  20 November 12  by 


The concept of customer effort, developed by CCC, is the best predictor of loyalty for the service organization.  In 2008, CCC created the Customer Effort Score, a customer experience metric that gauges the ease of a customer interaction, enabling companies to track effort from the customer perspective.

CES asks respondents, “How much effort did you personally put forth to handle your request?” Answers are on a five point scale from 1 (very low effort) to 5 (very high effort). A recent member poll found that 64% of respondents now measure effort in their organizations. Of these, a majority use the CES metric.

As CCC blog readers, this metric shouldn’t be new to you. Recently, my colleague wrote a blog about how to use CES to surface trends and provide actionable insights. As simple as the question is, however, the implementation of CES into the post-service survey can be problematic sometimes. We have worked with many member companies to ensure they have properly used the effort question and worded it in the most effective way.

Below are several frequently asked questions about the metric itself:

Question 1: On what scale should CES be measured?

CCC measures CES on a scale of 1 to 5. However, we’ve seen companies successfully use a 7-point scale as well. Whether to use a 5-point or 7-point scale will depend on the scale of other questions in your survey (e.g., customer satisfaction). We typically recommend maintaining consistency in scale across all questions. Moreover, we encourage companies to use an odd-numbered scale because it will allow an option of “neutral” or “moderate effort” in the middle, which is more complete.

Question 2: Customers are sometimes confused with the scale and choose “5” (very high effort) when they actually mean very low effort, or choose “1” (very low effort) vice versa. What should I do?

There is a simple fix which is to reverse the scale, with “1” being very high effort and “5” being very low effort. That won’t necessarily create new problems because we believe customers who rated correctly at the first place will still choose the right answer with the scale reversed.

If you are still concerned with the issue, we recommend you do A/B testing on the wording for your customers. You can have some customers complete the survey with “5” being high effort and have others complete the survey with “5” being low effort. By comparing the results from the effort question with other metrics (e.g., CSAT, issue resolution), you should be able to see a clear picture of whether using “5” as high or low effort makes sense to most customers.

Question 3: Can I change the question to “How easy was it for you to…”?

CCC actually does not recommend changing the wording of the effort question to “How easy was it for you to….” because we think “easy” lends itself to a positive connotation and bias, whereas “effort” is a more neutral, if not even slightly negative, word.

CCC blog readers, are you currently measuring CES at your organization? Does this information help you answer your questions?


Related CCC Resources:

Customer Effort ScoreTM (CES)

2011 Customer Effort Score Benchmarking Data

Customer Effort Assessment

Write Your Survey

Say This, Not That!

Posted on  14 November 12  by 

Comment (4)

Here in the United States, there’s a popular book series titled, Eat This, Not That! and its focused on making healthy eating choices.  One of the things that strikes me about this series is that it typically compares two foods, one much healthier than the other (in terms of calories, fat, sodium, etc.), but the less healthy version often sounds so much more appetizing I wish the author wouldn’t even mention it.

For instance, which sounds more appetizing: a classic, hand-tossed pizza or a crunchy, thin crust pizza?

Now we all know the crunchy, thin crust is lower in calories, etc., but why’d you have to tempt me with the description of the less healthy version?  Why couldn’t you just guide me to order to the thin crust pizza instead?

Read More »

How to Map the B2B Customer Experience

Posted on  13 November 12  by 


A multi-faceted customer experience where the customer is interacting across multiple channels and products is a reality. In such a scenario where customers are going through multiple touchpoints, we hear many of our B2B members struggling to improve customer experience.

Wondering why? Because most service organizations do not know what those touchpoints are and how they affect the customer experience and customer loyalty, in turn. Without a clear understanding of customer interactions at the different touchpoints (and service failures that happen at each of the touchpoints), service organizations cannot target the right opportunities for service improvement.

Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of November 12th

  • In-store customer service a crucial component of driving consumer holiday shopping behavior [DSN]
  • Best Western tops UK customer service for the travel industry [Travel Weekly]
  • Businesses should have customer service focus that is more than just short-term [B2C Community]
  • Customers expect greater service in social media channels [Time]

Getting Personal with Customers

A recent CEB Iconoculture observation highlighted the Fairmont Hotel’s Presidents Club rewards program for their personalized treatment. Upon enrollment, club members select their preferred amenities, services, interests, and regions from a list.

Fairmont puts this list to use by personalizing their President’s Club rewards with travel preferences, passion points, and interests, thereby providing a unique experience that feels more personal and exclusive for the recipient. The tailored approach gives the customer confidence that they have not wasted their time or money with a brand that does not appreciate them.

An alternative benefit of the custom-made approach is showcasing the brand’s potential and available services. This value-added perspective provides insight into the possibilities for service organizations to follow a similar formula, especially in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

Read More »

My Supervisor Knows My Development Areas: Agree or Disagree?

Posted on  7 November 12  by 


One of the most popular diagnostic tools available through CCC membership is our Coaching Pulse Survey, which helps member companies gauge the effectiveness of the current coaching taking place within their service and support organizations. Using this tool, companies can:

  • measure the overall coaching culture
  • identify strong (and weak) coaches
  • understand the effectiveness of different types of coaching topics and coaching activities

And after the diagnostic is completed, the CCC team reviews results with members to discuss the implications and plan for next steps. I’ve had quite a few of these conversations lately, and one of the most common themes that is emerging is lower scores for questions that relate to how well supervisors know the specific development areas of their individual staff members. And this feeling bleeds over into other questions in the diagnostic, including overall effectiveness of scheduled sessions and diagnosing true root causes of performance issues.

It seems to me that this is one of those moments of difficult truth…if your reps answered this question, what would they say? More importantly—how are you equipping supervisors within your organization to truly know root cause development needs for their staff members?

The startling fact is that poor coaching harms rep performance almost two times as much as good coaching helps performance. Read More »

The Path Less Taken: How to Invest and Divest to Win “The Customer Expectations Race”

We asked CCC members, “Are your customers more demanding of customer service today as compared to a few years ago?” A resounding 80% said “Absolutely, yes!” As the customer service world becomes a much smaller one and the competitive environment intensifies, customers feel more empowered and possess greater expectations for more tools, more channels, and more options to contact companies for their issues.


This “Customer Expectations Race” has almost become an impossible race to win.

Or maybe… companies are just not running the right race.

Read More »

Improving Offshore Vendor Relations: See How Panasonic Did It

Posted on  6 November 12  by 



A few months ago, my colleague revealed the number one trend we’re seeing in contact center outsourcing: increasing collaboration between call centers and their offshore vendors.

This new goal, despite political rhetoric and industry pressures to insource, reflects the changes in service and outsourced delivery landscapes. With increased customer expectations and renewed focus on customer experience, companies realize they can’t just tell their vendors to simply take calls. Instead, outsourced vendors are expected to deliver personalized, low-effort experiences– and companies must collaborate with them to ensure that this level of service is met.

But this type of relationship may be difficult to achieve. One barrier that many companies face is the reality of misaligned goals. While companies want to drive down live contact volume to reduce costs, outsourced vendors want to take calls to make profits. What companies need to do, then, is to identify results that they and the vendors can agree on.

Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of November 5th

Posted on  6 November 12  by 


How customer service can use the new iPad mini [Tech Crunch]

Zappos counters traditional KPIs to develop its own set of metrics that influence performance and outcomes [Customer Think]

Effective communication, rep empowerment, and openness to feedback are some of the keys to managing outsourced contact center operations effectively [1to1 Media]

Traditional contact center metrics are uncoordinated with the current shift from a business-centric approach to customer-centric one [Destination CRM]

Two tales of customer service during the East Coast storm in the U.S. last week [Wall Street & Technology]