Customer Experience Is Not Customer Service, But Customer Service Is Customer Experience.
6 min read
Customer service is often used interchangeably with customer experience. In reality, they are two different things.
What is the difference between customer service and customer experience?
Customer service is the set of activities a company provides to support customers. This includes answering phone calls, meeting customer requests, and so on.
Customer experience is the end-to-end journey a customer experience with a company. From the first time they hear about you to when they make their last purchase.
Customer service is a subset of customer experience.
Customer service is where customers go to when they are facing issues with your product or service.
A company might have the best customer service, but without good customer experience, they’ll never be happy and loyal customers.
That's because customer service is reactive, whereas customer experience is proactive.
The more often you do something right for your customers before they need it from you, the better their experiences will be when they engage with your company.
The best customer service can do is to ease the pain.
But customer experience = customer loyalty = brand loyalty = word of mouth
That is why customer service is customer experience.
How can companies can improve customer experience?
Since customer experience concerns end-to-end journey, improving customer experiences involves the entire organization.
It's not just a function of customer service but includes every other functions from operations, marketing, sales and so on.
There are 3 areas that companies should focus on in order to improve customer experience.
1. Be obsessed with solving customer needs.
Always seek to understand your customers' current state and their desired future state. What steps are required to achieve the future state? What problems are they facing while attempting to complete the steps?
How can your products and services solve their problems and help them to achieve their desired future state? The more steps you help them to complete, the better their experience will be.
2. Implement self-service and guided-service for different context.
It's important to know when and where to implement self-service or guided-service.
Implement self-service for small tasks that don't require much human intervention.
For customer service, when customers have a question about something they need answer, a knowledge base is sufficient for them to self-serve.
For customer experience, this means customers can complete tasks that involve different functions such as downloading invoice, or view historical changes of product usage.
Implement guided-service for larger or complex tasks that require hand-holding.
For customer service, this means when customers have a question about something they think only live customer service can answer, (such as whether their subscription is eligible for renewal), then guiding them through their questions and issues create positive customer satisfaction.
For customer experience, this means hand-holding the customers throughout the process of onboarding or using certain product features that are complex in order to get their jobs done. Such as how to switch to a new CRM, connect with third-party apps and automate workflows.
3. Nurture relationships instead of making transactions.
Transacting is easy, but forgettable. Building relationships with customers is hard, but customers will remember how your company make them feel.
Relationship is built on trust.
And trust is built on consistency in:
- Talking and keeping in touch regularly.
- What you say matches what you actually do.
- Continuously satisfying their needs.
Consistency in these 3 things will help you build long-term customer relationships with happy loyal customers.
If a company provides delightful customer experience by working with them from first contact to the end, they won't even reach out to customer service for seek help in frustration.
Your customers will choose your competitor if you don't provide them with what they need or want from their interaction with your brand.
At the end of the day, if you provide good customer service, you have a good band-aid. But if you have great customer experience, you have a happy and loyal customers - which is what branding and capturing mindshare is about.
Do something right frequently for your customers before they need it from their support department means happier customers overall. For companies this means higher net promoter score, retention rate, customer lifetime value, and revenue.