Customer experience and customer service are two very common terms in business. However, many people confuse them and use them interchangeably. While they are certainly related concepts, they are not the same. They are also important concepts.
Research by Zippia says that 73% of customers believe that customer experience is a vital aspect of purchasing. Similarly, Zendesk found that will likely make another purchase after receiving outstanding customer service.
Seeing how vital they are, how can you differentiate between customer service and customer experience?
In this blog, we’ll demystify the differences between these important business aspects.
What is customer service?
Customer service refers to any immediate support provided by a company to its customers before, during, and after they purchase a product or service.
Customer service encompasses the various ways a business engages with its customers with the aim of addressing customers’ needs and ensuring a positive overall experience.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) is a term that defines a customer’s overall perception, emotions, and impression towards a business or brand throughout their relationship.
CX is not confined to a single interaction or transaction; instead, it is an ongoing process that evolves.
The customer experience journey begins when a potential customer becomes aware of a brand or business. This could be through advertisements, word-of-mouth, social media, or even an online search.
The journey continues as the customer engages with the brand, which could involve browsing your website, making inquiries, and ultimately purchasing.
But the customer experience doesn’t end at the point of sale. It extends to post-purchase interactions, including customer service and support, feedback solicitation, and any other communication between the business and the customer.
Every touchpoint between a customer and a business shapes the customer experience. Therefore, businesses should strive to ensure positive and memorable interactions, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Differences: customer service vs customer experience
Customer service and customer experience focus on different areas. Here are some of the notable differences of customer experience vs customer service.
Proactive and reactive approaches
When it comes to the approach, customer service tends to be reactive in nature. This means that it kicks into action once a problem has arisen or a question has been posed by a customer.
The main aim is to resolve the problem or provide an answer to the query as quickly and effectively as possible.
In contrast, customer experience takes a proactive approach. This involves creating strategies and implementing measures designed to ensure customers have a positive experience at every stage of their interaction with the brand.
The objective is to make the customer’s journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
Measuring success: key metrics
In terms of measuring success, there are different key metrics involved.
Customer service is typically gauged with metrics such as first-call resolution and response time, net promoter score (NPS), , and customer satisfaction (CSAT) score. These metrics are indicative of how efficiently customer queries or issues are resolved.
On the other hand, customer experience is quantified using metrics like customer effort score, retention rate, churn rate, and lifetime value estimate.
These metrics provide a measure of the overall satisfaction of the customer, their loyalty to the brand, and their likelihood to recommend it to others.
Touchpoints: limited vs all-encompassing
Customer service and customer experience also differ in the touchpoints they include. Customer service deals with specific touchpoints where customers seek help, such as phone support and email.
Conversely, customer experience encompasses the entire customer journey, from marketing and sales to product usage and post-purchase interactions.
Objectives: problem solving and relationship building
Customer service’s primary objective is to address immediate customer issues and ensure short-term satisfaction. It is about problem-solving and providing quick fixes.
In contrast, the goal of customer experience is to build long-term loyalty and advocacy. This is achieved by consistently exceeding customer expectations, providing memorable interactions, and fostering strong relationships.
Similarities between customer service and customer experience
While customer service and customer experience cater to different aspects of customer interaction, they share several similarities.
The pivotal role of both
Customer service and customer experience both play a key role in any organization’s success, as they revolve around meeting the needs and expectations of customers.
The primary purpose of both of these areas is to enhance customer satisfaction and cultivate positive relationships with customers.
They both strive to ensure that customer needs are met effectively and efficiently, which in turn helps to foster customer loyalty and retention.
The ultimate goal
Ultimately, a company’s goal is to establish and sustain strong customer relationships, which can be achieved through excellent customer service and a good overall customer experience.
Customer service is a major contributing factor to the customer experience, so improving your support system also improves your customers’ overall experience with your company.
Similar tools used
These systems act as a central repository for customer data and history, ensuring consistency in customer interactions.
Same skill sets
Marketing, sales, PR, and support teams all contribute to the customer experience.
Knowing to whom they’re speaking, either directly or through an ad, and how to do so most effectively is what will make customers feel valued and understood.
Well-trained teams can use these skills to foster a positive relationship between customers and the brand.
Customer service particulars
Let’s explore more details on the best strategies and benefits of providing good customer service.
Strategies for delivering exceptional customer service
Customer service includes all the steps of providing customer support. To offer exceptional customer service, you must have strategies in place.
The following are some of the strategies for delivering exceptional customer service:
- Provide fast responses: Prioritize quick and effective responses to customer issues as a customer service strategy. Consider implementing automated customer service features for instant and 24/7 availability. You can also prioritize a short first response time for all customers by quickly and efficiently replying to their product and service questions.
- Technical support: Offer efficient and expert assistance on technical issues. This includes technical issues such as bug fixing or working on complications related to virtual products or services. This is common in industries like technology and software. Any company with an online presence, though, will require technical support to keep their website running smoothly.
- Offer product usage assistance: Provide thorough guidance on product usage. This can be done by offering customers guidance on product use, including installation and setup.
- Continuous onboarding and training: Keep your customer service agents updated on product knowledge and service skills through continuous training. This ensures they can provide the best support and stay aligned with your brand’s values.
- Implement integrated multichannel support: Develop unified customer profiles that consolidate data from all interaction channels. This provides your agents with a complete view of the customer’s history and preferences, enhancing their ability to provide personalized service regardless of the communication channel used by the customer.
- Get customer feedback and implement suggestions: Regularly collect customer feedback and measure your customer satisfaction score to assess overall satisfaction. Use this data to make informed decisions and improvements for the next customer services. This strategy will also enhance your understanding of their needs, enabling you to provide more effective service.
- Do a post-sales follow-up: Providing ongoing support after a purchase helps you ensure that customers remain satisfied. This can also help you note concerns that your customers have, thus giving you a chance to address any additional needs that may arise.
- Implement self-service: Empower your customers by offering self-service options. Develop a comprehensive self-service knowledge base, enabling customers to find answers to common questions independently.
Importance of exceptional customer service
Customer service is important to any business for multiple reasons.
- Increased customer lifetime value: When customers are satisfied with the services offered, they are more likely to stick around for longer, thereby increasing the total sales made from them over time.
- Increased customer loyalty: When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to remain loyal to the brand. Loyal customers are more likely to choose the same brand even when there are cheaper or more convenient alternatives available.
- Shaping brand culture: Excellent cx service showcases a company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, and a well-managed customer experience consistently delivers value, fostering an attractive reputation.
- Gaining competitive advantage: Companies that prioritize customer service create a unique and positive brand identity, setting them apart from competitors and thus attracting more customers.
- Reduced churn rate: By providing excellent customer service at each touchpoint, businesses can make their customers feel valued and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of customer churn.
Customer experience particulars
Here are the detailed explanations on customer experience components, best practices and its significance.
Components of a good customer experience
Brand quality: Customers expect high quality and consistent performance from brands’ products. They want the brand to deliver on its promises and maintain its standards over time.
Customer interaction: Customers expect efficient, respectful, and personalized interaction from businesses. They want their issues and concerns to be addressed promptly and accurately.
Customer journey: Customers expect a seamless, enjoyable experience. They want easy navigation, transparent pricing, excellent customer service, efficient post-purchase delivery, easy returns/exchanges, and effective after-sales service.
Strategies for delivering an exceptional customer experience
The customer experience (CX) not only shapes the company’s reputation but also directly impacts its bottom line. To deliver an exceptional customer experience:
- Offer proactive engagement: After a customer’s purchase, send a personalized message expressing gratitude and offering additional assistance. This proactive step demonstrates that you value their experience beyond the transaction. Consider using automated systems to ensure timely and consistent follow-ups.
- Customer relations: Focus on building and maintaining positive relationships with your customers. You can build good relationships with your customers by using tailored marketing, providing high-quality products, offering user-friendly website and store layouts, and supplying quick and empathetic customer service.
Importance of the CX
The quality of the customer experience can significantly influence a company’s success. Here’s why CX aspects matter:
- Boosting revenue: High-quality customer experience often leads to customer loyalty and repeat business, boosting a company’s revenue. Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, making CX support a factor in driving profits.
- Reducing customer churn: By providing a positive customer experience, companies can reduce customer churn. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to switch to competitors, so ensuring a high-quality customer experience can help retain customers and reduce the costs associated with customer churn.
- Reduced operational costs: Investing in CX service can reduce costs in the long run. It’s often more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. By improving CX, companies can increase customer loyalty and reduce the need for costly acquisition strategies.
Customer service vs customer experience: Which is more important?
In conclusion, both customer service and customer experience play crucial roles in a company’s success. They shape the company’s reputation and directly impact its bottom line.
One way to make a big impact on both is by integrating BoldDesk into your cx support system. BoldDesk is powerful help desk software that helps you understand your customers’ needs, expectations, and experiences.
BoldDesk offers a 30-minute live demo to give you a peek at what its features can do for your company and to let you ask any questions you may have. Or, you can sign up for a 15-day free trial to explore on your own how its features can be customized and incorporated into your workflow. Let BoldDesk help you exceed your customers’ expectations.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact BoldDesk’s customer service.