Everyone is talking about how important customer experience is for businesses. However, the term “customer experience” often times becomes confused with the term “customer service, which actually refers to something else.
What exactly is the difference between the two and why do they even matter? To distinguish between these two important terms, we’ve come up with some very simple explanations.
Customer experience refers to everything that a customer has experienced with a brand over time. It covers all the 7 P’s of marketing namely, people, physical evidence, process, product, price, place/distribution and promotion.
Unlike customer service, customer experience does not involve specific transactions but instead involves passive or indirect experience, in many different touch points, that influences the customer’s overall perception of the brand. It starts from his initial awareness of the brand, products or services, up to the point of purchase and use of the products or services.
It is basically subjective and experiential and pertains to what the customers think and feel about the brand.
Customer service is just one of the touch points that influences customer experience. It covers only 3 marketing P’s: people, physical evidence and process and focuses mainly on one particular event or point in time.
Simply put, it pertains to the provision of service or what the company does for its customers, before, during or post purchase. It happens only when a problem occurs and is transactional and quantifiable.
Why Both Customer Service and Customer Experience Matters
Knowing the difference between customer service and customer experience matters to businesses because they go hand in hand. While customer service is only one part of customer experience, it is a key component that brands must learn to take seriously.
It used to be that providing customer service is a responsibility solely of the customer service department. Back then, providing good customer service already equals good customer experience. Nowadays though, technology has enabled brands to develop multiple touch points that allow them to connect and reach out to their customers.
It is imperative then for brands to make customer service a core value of the company with each person in the organization responsible for delivering it across all touchpoints. This should also transcend over to a company’s customer service outsourcing partner, if any. Having a customer-centric organization will help businesses exceed customer expectations and improve overall customer experience.
How to Deliver Great Customer Service to Improve Customer Experience
Below are a few tips on how brands can provide great customer service.
Customers hate being told to wait. Streamline operations so that you can attend to your customers as quickly as possible.
Customers love it when brands go the extra mile to please them. Following up with them after a purchase or when you haven’t heard from them for a while will make them feel that you care.
Giving a personal touch to everything that you do for your customers will make them feel special and not just one of many.
Anticipate their needs.
Being able to predict what your customers will need or want even before they know them will pleasantly surprise them.
Customers get frustrated whenever there are service inconsistencies across multiple channels. Consistent service makes for a better experience.
The bottom line is, a good customer experience cannot exist without good customer service. Learning how to provide exceptional customer service will help businesses ensure exceptional customer experiences as well.