Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience

We all know that customer service and customer experience are two completely different things. But the big question is why they are so different and how that difference effects our business.

So what is the difference

According Jerry Gregoire, chief information officer at Dell, there is one BIG difference: “Customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”
But before drawing out our weapons and stepping out to the battlefield, we must first understand and define what exactly customer experience is and how it is different from customer service.


Customer Experience from A to Z

Your customer’s experience is composed of the following motions:

  • What your customer Wants
  • What your customer Does
  • What your customer Sees
  • What your customer Thinks
  • What your customer Feels
  • What your customer Likes

In their article “Understanding Customer Experience”, Customer support superstars Christopher Meyer and Andre Schwager explain that customer experience is the relationship your customer has with your entire company and is divided into two types of customer contact:

1. Direct Contact- happens during “the course of purchase, use and service, and is usually initiated by the customer.”

2. Indirect Contact- “…most often involves unplanned encounters with representation of the company.

Customers experience begins at the moment the customer identifies his need, way before his first interaction with your company, and ends long after that need was fulfilled.

The lifespan of an average customer experience:

An attraction rises in your customer→ the customer enters your store/ website→ the customer engages with you/ purchases→ the customer exitsextension to the customer’s action/ lack of action

Did you know that more than 50% of a customer experience is subconscious or how a customer feels about the company?

In order to create a memorable customer experience, you must have the ability to understand and many times even predict the emotional and practical needs of your customer.
It is never just about delivering good service or a good product, but granting your customer with an unforgettable experience.

Customer Experience vs Customer Service

Customer experience is composed of many elements and touch points the customer has with your company and focuses on the customer entire lifespan

Customer service is only one of those touch points and focuses on a specific point in time and happens only when there is a problem.

In the past, most of the interaction and relationship (what we call today ‘customer experience‘) a customer had with a business was on a person to person based interaction.
In other words, customer service was the ultimate touch point in the customer- business relationship. Good customer service equaled a good customer experience.

Shep Hyken, a customer service guru and a New- York Times bestselling author says that in the past “customer service was almost 90% of the customer experience!” But as time and technology progressed, companies found new and innovative ways to connect and reach out to their customers and by that created multiple touch points.
Customer service, important as it is, had become only 1 component of what we call “The customer experience”.

How Can You Provide a MEMORABLE Customer Experience? Good You Asked!

Here are a few basic but foolproof tips to provide your customer’s with the best customer experience!

  • Be Attentive- listen carefully to every one of your customer. They are your most valuable source of knowledge.
  • Predict needs- today’s technology enables us to predict our customer’s needs and wants way before they even know them.
  • Learn about your customers- know who they are, what they buy, why they buy it and yes, even when they buy it.
  • Be Prepared- 40% of customers expect representatives they speak with to already know about their previous attempts to resolve an issue. Don’t let them down!
  • Make it Personal- never give your customer the feeling that he is just ‘one of many’. Your personal touch can and will create loyal customers that will keep coming back to you.
  • Be available for your customers- use every possible platform and channel out there to make sure your customers can always reach you at a time of need. Live- chat, phone, email, online knowledge base, “click-to-call” support automation are just some of the channels out there…
  • Be efficient- 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly
  • Show appreciation- your customers are giving you their hard working money and it is important not to take it for granted
  • Follow up on your customers- a customer’s experience doesn’t end with the purchase, but continues with the shipping, the arrival of the product, and finally with the use of the product.
  • Check up with your customers and see if they are satisfied with the product or if there was any problem with it.
  • Be consistent- 9 out of 10 consumers expect to receive a consistent experience over multiple contact channels.

And most importantly- be creative and find your unique way to create an unforgettable customer experience.

Now it’s your Turn

A good customer experience is like a symphony- it is full of notes, sounds and colors. Most importantly- when done well, it is unique and stay’s in your head and heart for a very long time.
If this doesn’t convince you, just think of the fact that 89% of consumers who experience poor service with your brand will leave for your competition- Now are you convinced??

Please share your thoughts with us- what else differentiates customer service and experience?

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