What is the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience?

The word service and experience may sound synonymous – but when applied in use with customers – they have a different meaning. The easiest way to realize its difference is when asking the question: ‘Does this action contributes to a better customer service or an improved customer experience?’ They may have different meanings, but they have something in common.

What is Customer Service?

Customer service refers to the services offered to customers. The common misconception is that it only involves giving proper resolution to customer complaints and measured on how it was provided. Customer service is more than just issue resolution alone.

Customer service refers to the interaction of the staff and the management towards its customers. It is not necessary to be an existing customer to witness how customer service is delivered. Potential customers can also assess the customer service level of a business. Based on the way they are served once they are in contact with the business or how they are welcomed.

The customer service staff, company, and management greatly contribute to how customer service is delivered. Some actions that the staff performs may affect how the management operates the business, or there are limitations to the service they can provide given with the industry of the company.

The main goal of a customer service department is to increase customer satisfaction. This is the reason why they use CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) surveys to know if they were able to deliver good customer service. A lot of successful businesses today continuously improves their customer service because they see a competitive advantage. As a result, they have increased profits and a good number of loyal customers.

What is Customer Experience?

In simpler words, customer experience refers to how they are treated while interacting with the business. Customer experience or CX focuses on how the customer’s perception of the business and sometimes with the brand.

Some brands are known to provide a great customer experience, based on the customer’s interaction in the business different channels. It can be impacted on how they are received in the store. How user-friendly is the company’s website and/or app, or how the after-sales service has been delivered?

Studies show that customer experience has two basic elements: Perception and Interaction. As mentioned, perception is how the customer sees the business. It can be the product of one or more experiences with a brand when finding information or assistance at various stages of the consumer life cycle.

On the other hand, interaction refers to the result of customer’s contact with the different touchpoints of the business. It can be from customer journey inside the store or office, call center operations, self-help options, or response received from live chat. Customer experience also increases customer loyalty and satisfaction when done well.

The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience

Based on the definitions above, it is clear that customer service is a part of the customer experience. Customer service is expressed when a customer shows interest in the products or services or in buying them. It is reactive, referring to the encounters that a customer has with a company or organization while requesting guidance or help with a product or service.

On the other hand, customer experience refers to the whole process involving the customer’s perception and interaction with the company. Customer service focuses on activities involving the contact of the business and the customers, while the priority of customer experience is how to improve the business as a whole in response to whatever action the customer will take.

This is why the customer service department and the agent play a vital role in customer service improvement. Customer experiences may require the help of higher management and major changes in the organization to make it better.

As an example, the customer service department improves their performance by seeking the help of each department that affect them. If they would like to improve the systems used, they can contact the IT department.

If they would need to clarify some billing concerns, the department will reach out to the billing team. In comparison to the customer experience, improvement may be required to all or some of the company departments. It will ensure it will give better results that will affect customer interaction and perception of the business.

What Is More Important?

Customer service and customer experience are equally important. Customer service focuses on the improvement of how service will be provided to the customers. On the other hand, customer experiences can contribute to the better performance of each department.

If the company has to choose between the two on what should be prioritized they can start by improving customer service. Since the impact of customer service can affect customer experience, it can begin by expressing efforts for its development. Along the way, the company can make changes to other departments that are affected by providing good customer service.

Both can be improved as a part of the customer improvement strategy. Customer service and customer experience both play an important role in the organization’s success. Considering that customers are the lifeline of any business. Honestly, it may not be easy to differentiate the two. When it comes to implementing them since they are alike in many ways.

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