Differentiating between customer service vs customer experience can be difficult because they are so closely related. Customer service, however, is just one part of the whole customer experience.
Customer service vs customer experience
Customer service can be used in two contexts. Customer service can refer to the customer service department, which is in charge of interfacing with customers and helping them with product, sales, and service-related issues.
Example: “I called customer service to get the error fixed.”
Customer service can also refer to the act of servicing and assisting customers.
Example: “I wasn’t expecting great customer service from such a small hotel, but they really surprised me!”
The customer experience refers to the collection of experiences, thoughts, and emotions a customer has while doing business with a company. The customer experience stays with the customer well after it’s over; a good one is enough to encourage a customer to return again and again.
“…If you book a vacation on the phone and the person you are speaking with is friendly and helpful, that’s good customer service. Yet, if your tickets arrive early and the hotel upgrades your room, then that’s a good customer experience.” – Steven MacDonald, SuperOffice
It’s clear that customer service vs customer experience are two different concepts, but is one more important to focus on than the other? Absolutely.
Which is more important?
If you concentrate on improving your customer service only, you won’t get very far. Improving the way your employees interact with customers is just the beginning of earning more loyal customers. To affect real change, you must start to offer a better customer experience, of which customer service is only one small part. Every interaction a customer has with your company should be as pleasant as possible.
The overall experience a customer feels they’ve had after doing business with a company is what determines whether or not they’ll return – not simply how nice the store associate was. Store associates can change and differ by day, but a company that offers a great overall experience tends to be consistently trustworthy. That’s why considering the overall customer experience – not just customer service – is essential for growing companies.
Defining customer service vs customer experience becomes easier when we consider that one (customer service) is just a smaller part of the whole (the customer experience). If you’re interested in improving the customer experience you’re providing to customers, check out some of the related posts below.