The difference between customer experience and customer service

Customer experience and customer service, though used interchangeably, are not the same. Customer service (CS) is a part of the customer experience (CX) but not the entire customer experience. Let us look at them individually first.

What is the customer experience?

Customer experience is defined as the grand total of interactions, experiences, and touchpoints your customers have with a brand. Customer experience is more wholesome and covers many touchpoints, some of which may or may not be service-oriented. Customer-centric organizations are best at delivering great customer experience. They frequently measure customer experience, look at their customer care processes, and improve customer experience including customer service.

Levi’s is a great example of a great customer experience. They launched an app in 2019 that connected users with Levi’s tailor outlets. Users could create product designs in the app and then use them in the store with the help of stylists and tailors. It let users design and realize their own unique styles.

What is customer service?

Customer service is defined as the collective effort of an organization’s employees put in solving a customer’s need or problem in some way. This could be helping potential customers finding a product that suits their needs, or troubleshooting some issues with a product or service, or payment processing problems, etc.

A great example of customer service would be Zappos. They make sure that all their customer emails are responded to. The CEO included. This is extremely crucial since customers expect a revert when they write to you.

Customer Experience vs. Customer Service

It is essential to know the difference between customer experience and customer service before you begin your Voice of Customer (VoC) initiatives. So let us understand the key differences between customer experience and customer service.

Customer support is a subset

Customer experience includes the entire customer journey, of which customer service is a part. Customer experience includes customer service and customer care. CX begins with potential customers who have yet even to make a product purchase or avail of a service. In terms of customer service, it comes after; when they need help with the purchased product or availed service.

Nature

Customer experience is proactive and reaches out to customers in various ways and touchpoints. This could pre-purchase, post-purchase, etc.

Customer service is reactive in nature and is often contacted in case customers have any issues. A customer will have no reason to interact with customer service professionals if there are no issues.

Interactions

Customer service is a one-time interaction often engaged by customers only in times of problems or issues. Service interactions take place when customers avail of a service or a product.

Customer experience is designed in a way it interacts with customers multiple times and in numerous ways. This could be, informing potential customers about a product or service through emails, enquiring about service satisfaction via phone calls, gathering product performance information via customer feedback software, etc.

Measurement

Customer service is measured via customer satisfaction (CSAT) score; a method used to gauge how satisfied customers are with the experience.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used to measure customer experience; it’s a single question asked to survey respondents if they would recommend a brand to their friends or loved ones.

nps-question

Based on the responses, respondents are categorized into three types – promoters, detractors, and passive, as shown below.

categories-of-net-promoter-score

CX should be focal to all your customer initiatives, and CS should be a key element in your CX strategy. Keep monitoring feedback from your customer service channels and improve your customer experience programs to boost your levels of customer engagement, customer satisfaction, and customer delight.