Customer Service vs. Customer Experience: Key Differences Explained

The chances are that your support team uses customer service and customer experience interchangeably. Of course, both CS and CX are important, but did you know there’s a difference between them?

Here we’ll be reviewing the meaning of customer service vs. customer experience, and highlighting the differences between the two. 

CS vs. CX: What’s the difference?

We often use the terms customer experience and customer service interchangeably, but there is a vital distinction between the two that is worth noting.

Before we get into the differences though, we should first go over what exactly customer service and customer experience mean.

Let’s define customer service versus the customer experience, and compare the two elements. 

What is Customer Service (CS)?

CS comes to the forefront when a concern, query, or problem emerges from the customer. It is an important component of customer experience and is a single point in a customer journey when they willingly interact with your brand representative.

Customer service is offered in a myriad of ways. For example, some companies make an effort to provide a personalised service by employing a panel of customer service agents. Whereas others automate the process using AI-powered chatbots. 

Customer interaction remains paramount for both CS and CX as businesses take the time to understand the customer’s issue and provide them with a resolution in the best possible way. 

Although customer service is just one fraction of customer experience, it is integral to building prospering relationships. 52% of individuals around the globe hold the belief that brands should be receptive to the customer’s feedback. 

This is why successful companies take the time to understand their customers and devise their CS to prioritise customer satisfaction. 

Let’s take a look at what great customer service looks like.

Know your customers

The key to offering good customer service is understanding what your customers expect and want. To do this, you must take the time to highlight what you know about your customers. Next, figure out how to interpret this information and apply it to your brand’s products and services. 

If you truly want to understand your customers, using customer insights can help you out. For example, you can reflect on your brand’s communication with customers in the past and compare the conversations to identify similarities and differences in each transaction. Taking this step enables you to highlight your customer’s likes and dislikes. 

With this information, you can tweak your brand’s customer service strategy and create a plan of action that yields promising results. 

Be responsive 

The key to delivering great customer service is making yourself available. According to research, 90% of customers believe that a query or concern’s immediate response (up to ten minutes or less) is essential. Considering this, you can improve your customer care by having round-the-clock customer support agents or by using AI-powered chatbots. 

Offer multiple mediums of support

If you want satisfied customers, you need to make customer support more accessible. Most brands do this by offering multiple mediums of communication.  Encourage your customers to reach out to you in a manner that is comfortable for them. For instance, you can provide support via phone, email, text messaging, or through a live chat. 

Provide a personalised service 

To increase customer satisfaction, remain empathetic towards customer service issues. For example, when talking to a client, actively listen to their problems, empathise with their feelings, stay willing to admit your fault, and respond in a friendly and helpful tone. 

Follow-up with the customer

If you want to offer an exceptional customer experience, make sure to conduct a follow-up session with the customer after the issue is resolved. Taking this step shows that your brand genuinely cares about the customers. Additionally, you can take feedback about their customer service experience and use those metrics to measure customer satisfaction. 

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer experience is a continuous process that highlights how individuals feel about your brand throughout their customer journey. It involves every step in the sales and marketing process that your customers encounter, at pre-purchase and post-purchase stages.

Customer experience is shaped at several touchpoints. For instance, CX can be affected by all the interactions a customer has, such as when they view your advertisement, visit your website, or talk to your sales teams. 

Factors that influence customer experience

Customer experience is influenced by the people in your teams, the process you offer, and the products you sell. 

Therefore, it is important to ensure that your company’s representatives are empathetic, understanding, and helpful individuals. The more helpful your team is, the better your brand will get at delivering great customer experience. 

If you want a good overall customer experience, simplify the processes as much as you can. The process aspect of customer experience covers several components. To improve customer experience, you can:

  • Design user-friendly touchpoints, including your website
  • Add helpful content about your products/services to your website
  • Provide multiple channels of communication. You can offer customer support via Facebook messenger, WhatsApp messages, live chat, call, or email
  • Offer multiple payment methods
  • Write detailed descriptions about your products or services
  • Offer recommendations based on previous purchases
  • Provide updates and information on deals and discounts using social media channels
  • Provide personalised services by using geo-location technology
  • Collect customer feedback and measure customer experience

Lastly, the quality of the products and services offered by the brand also plays a significant role in your customer experience. The products and services you present to the customers should fulfil their needs. Therefore, it is important to take the time to learn about your customer’s needs, the gaps in the market and figure out a way to fulfil those needs and gaps using your products. 

You can build a habit of conducting regular customer surveys to learn more about your customers. In addition, taking feedback about your products or services can also help make improvements in the future. 

Customer service is not customer experience (and vice versa)

Customer service comes under the broad heading of customer experience. So, in essence, your customer service and customer experience both affect one another.

The key difference between the two is the customer’s journey. While customer service is just one part of the process, customer experience is the complete venture. So let’s explore some major differences between the two concepts. 

Control

Since the brand provides customer service, you have more control over it. You can train your teams, add responsiveness, and offer more channels for support to improve the customer service experience. On the other hand, the way the customers feel about your brand gives you less control. While you do have the freedom to make your brand more attractive, the factor of how a customer perceives your brand is out of your hands.

Measurement

There are quantitative metrics that you can use to measure the customer experience and customer service. For instance, customer experience is typically measured by customer lifetime value (CLV), churn rate, and retention rate. On the other hand, customer satisfaction score (CSAT), customer effort score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are a few metrics used to measure the quality of your customer service. 

Responsibility 

The responsibility of providing a positive customer experience lies with the company. Your sales team, marketing team, customer care agents, and manufacturers are all responsible for optimising the customer experience. On the contrary, providing excellent customer service is limited to the customer care agents or the sales team.

Customer experience vs customer service: Which is more important?

Source: ProvideSupport.com

Customers are seeing a combination of your customer service and customer experience. They form a perspective about your business based on how they’re treated during each phase of the process. Unfortunately, 68% of them will leave if they think you don’t care about them. 

In 2017, 96% of customers said they were drawn to and became loyal to brands because of excellent customer service. This means it’s important for your business to create customer service practices that contribute to the overall customer experience.

Designing an accessible and engaging customer experience makes the customer journey more enjoyable. Your customers expect your service to match your experience. 

Improving the quality of the customer experience increases your company’s revenue by 15% while reducing the costs of serving your customers. Also, 92 percent of customers trust word-of-mouth and user content more than advertising. 

Customers make decisions based on the way you treat them. The only way to manage this is through creating a quality customer experience. 

Why are feedback surveys essential to a great customer experience and customer service?

Feedback is the number one source that will tell you what your customers want from you. Using this valuable data, you’re able to pull key terms and important aspects that will guide the development of your company’s customer experience.

Feedback surveys give your customers a voice

When you don’t ask for feedback, customers feel like you don’t care about their experience. By making it simple and fast for customers to provide feedback, you can give them a voice that the right ears will hear. 

Feedback surveys are a quick, easy way for customers to send feedback directly to the right department. Your survey software can process each response and send the urgent ones directly to your customer experience management team.

Feedback surveys measure customer loyalty

A simple question can help you know how likely customers are to stick with your brand. Asking them if they would recommend your product is a powerful way to collect that data. We’ve written about 20+ customer satisfaction survey questions that can improve your business, and mistakes to avoid when surveying customers.

Feedback surveys help improve customer experience

Your customers know what they experienced during their purchase journey. Asking your customers about their experience provides your company with a direct source of information that will tell you where changes should be made. 

Take the next step to improve customer experience and customer service

Digital services simplify your company’s collection of customer responses. By using a multichannel approach, you can increase customer satisfaction and create more certainty through customer loyalty.

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