How Customer Effort Scores Can Complement Your Member Feedback Program
A number of credit unions have asked recently whether they should be measuring Customer Effort Score (CES) in their surveys. CES was introduced by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in 2010 in a Harvard Business Review article. The methodology was revised by the CEB in 2013 after further research showed the need for adjustments to the question wording and scale.
The essential idea behind CES is that reducing the effort required for your members to do business with you will result in fewer detractors and a better member experience, thus improving loyalty. How do you determine where you need to reduce effort? By asking members that recently interacted with you if you made it easy for them to handle your issue.
The scores, especially when segmented by the types of interaction (question, problem, technical support, etc.) or channel (phone, web, mobile), can highlight the areas of your business where members have to put forth high effort to get what they need done. Think of those times when you’ve had to call a service provider back multiple times to get an issue resolved, or you try to find a solution on a website…but you’re forced to call in and try to use the touch tone phone tree. High effort erodes loyalty.
Some may ask, is CES better than Net Promoter Score (NPS)? We think both metrics (and also Customer Satisfaction or CSAT) have merit when building a member feedback program. NPS is, by nature, a relationship-oriented metric. When members consider how likely they are to recommend the credit union, all of their past experiences are rolled into the rating they choose. As credit unions analyze NPS and the comments that go along with the scores members provide, they are often able to uncover the root cause of service issues and make adjustments.
However, CES (or CSAT) can also be beneficial when used to measure member experience within a specific channel or touchpoint. Consider this, a member may have had a multitude of great experiences with the credit union and be highly likely to recommend. However, their recent experience with your online banking was very difficult and took way longer than they anticipated. This very loyal member, may indicate that they needed to put forth a lot of effort to use online banking. Imagine if this member continuously had issues with the online banking channel…one would guess that this would impact their overall loyalty at some point. CES (or CSAT) can be used as a spotlight to highlight current high effort experiences in your member journey. When used over time, it can provide an early warning signal to loyalty eroding, high effort interactions.
The reality is… a metric alone cannot improve a credit union. It’s how you use the feedback and take action that creates the impressive results that NPS, CES or any other metric promises.