What is the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience?
Gaining and retaining customers is more important now than ever. Customer expectations are high, and the marketplace is crowded. It can seem as if customer loyalty is a thing of the past.
Technology makes it easy for customers to seek alternative products and services –and challenging for companies to build customer loyalty. What’s the solution?
Industry publications and company board rooms are filled with talk about customer service and customer experience. These terms are often used interchangeably but they actually have different meanings.
What do we mean by customer service?
Customer service is a component of an overall customer experience. It is what happens before, during, and after a customer purchases a product or service from your company. Customer service is active and includes assisting and advocating for customers, face-to-face or via technology. It can be delivered by a person or via a digital resource or even a chat bot.
The goal of any company should be to provide outstanding customer service, to go above and beyond. A customer service experience can either make or break a company’s relationship with a customer. It takes only one negative customer service experience to harm the relationship between your company and a customer. This is why your customer-facing team members need to have a specific skill set that includes patience, empathy, and in-depth knowledge of your company’s products and services.
What makes customer experience different?
Customer service is directly related to a customer’s purchase. Customer experience, on the other hand, is the combination of ways a customer interacts with your company – and their perception of those interactions. Customer experience includes customer service but is so much more than that.
Customer experience also includes a customer’s interactions with your technology. Anything from the content on your website to the ease with which a customer can navigate around that website straight through to the purchase process. Customer experience encompasses the entire customer lifecycle, including interactions with your company’s marketing materials prior to purchase, the quality of your products and services, and the customer service they receive after the purchase.
So, where should your company spend its time and energy – on customer service or customer experience?
The answer, of course, is both. You need both to build true brand loyalty. It’s not possible to give customers an exceptional experience without exceptional customer service. It is also no longer enough to simply provide great customer service.
Our experts weigh in on customer service & customer experience.
At Michelle Joyce Speakers, we know how vital it is for our clients to provide their customers with outstanding service and the kind of overall experience that builds loyalty and turns customers into valuable marketing tools.
We’re incredibly proud to represent four leaders in the customer service and customer experience space. Who better to turn to for insight into the differences between these two industry buzz words and how they impact a company’s success and future growth? We asked for their insight on the differences between customer service and customer experience – and they answered.
“Customer service begins when the customer experience fails to meet expectations.”
Your customers have almost endless opportunities to interact with your brand. This makes approaching customer service or customer experience holistically impossible. Rather than trying to focus on all facets of customer service and the overall customer experience, Jay’s Keynote program, “Coveted Customer Experience,” identifies the three things that really matter most to your customers. He teaches how you can gain and keep more customers by improving on those three things.
Jay Baer’s programs are not only highly entertaining and engaging, they are also filled with real-world case studies and examples. He reveals how to turn customer experience, customer service, and marketing into your company’s biggest business growth advantage.
“People often use the phrases ‘customer service’ and ‘customer experience’ interchangeably. While I can understand why this happens, the results are usually confusing and problematic. Customer service is the assistance and advice that a company provides people who buy and/or use its products and services. Customer experience is how customers perceive their interactions with a company. In short, customer service is a reactive technique for responding to customer problems – whereas customer experience is a proactive philosophy for designing interactions to avoid problems from the outset.”
Joey Coleman is a recognized expert in customer experience design, and specializes in creating unique, attention-grabbing customer experiences. He teaches companies how to do the same.
In his engaging and entertaining keynote, “Never Lose a Customer Again,” Joey talks about the biggest threat facing businesses today – one most companies don’t even realize they’re facing. Losing Customers. Joey will introduce your organization to The First 100 Days® methodology. This approach to customer experience and customer service turns new customers into lifelong fans. Learn why the first 100 days of a customer’s journey are so critical and what your organization can do to make that experience truly remarkable.
“I have always looked at customer service as tactical, whereas customer experience is emotional. Customer service is only a portion of the totality of the experience and focuses on the transactional nuts and bolts of delivering a product or service. Things like sense of urgency, eye contact, smiling, and attention to detail during the actual ‘act of service’ are all important and are based on human behavior. But today’s savvy customers expect more; they want an entire experience.”
Our very own rock star, Jim Knight, teaches organizations how to achieve their own rock star status. He’s as well known for his entertaining and engaging programs as he is for his gravity-defying hair!
Jim’s program, “Service That Rocks,” teaches companies how to create unforgettable experiences – the kind that turn customers into raving fans. Jim wants your customers to fall in love with your business. He teaches organizations how to differentiate from the competition to become a customer’s business of choice.
“Customer service includes all the things we do to take care of the customer. Customer experience is the cumulative effect of all those things. In my work, the highest level is customer emotion – how the customer feels about his or her experience with your brand. The most important question of customer emotion: is the customer happier after they do business with us?”
In Mark Sanborn’s keynote program, “The Fred Factor,” he calls upon his interactions with an extraordinary postal carrier to illustrate several important points. In this program Mark teaches that no one can be prevented from choosing to be exceptional. This is true in both an individual’s personal and professional lives. It is also true for companies.
A company who chooses to be exceptional chooses to elevate the customer experience for everyone. Choosing to be exceptional means creating new value for customers and doesn’t require spending a dime to do it. Mark teaches people at all levels of your organization the power of choosing to be exceptional.
Give your teams the support they need to succeed.
Customer experience is shaped by your company’s people, processes, and products. It directly impacts your company’s ability to gain new customers and retain your existing customers. An exceptional customer experience starts with outstanding customer service and has the potential to create brand loyalty and fans, as customers become unofficial members of your marketing team.
Provide team members at all levels of your organization with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to deliver the level of service and experiences your customers demand.
Learn more about our speakers and how they programs can help by connecting with us here.