With more and more competition in almost every industry, communicating the traditional competitive advantages is slowly eroding (ex. “we provide great customer service”). Organizations are looking at what some are calling the new “competitive battlefield” or customer experience. Customer experience is so much more than providing exceptional customer service. What is the difference between the two?

Customer experience looks at the entire customer journey from the time the consumer becomes aware of your product or service to the time they decide whether or not to buy, and beyond if they become repeat, loyal customers, and finally if they will advocate by referring to your organization. Customer experience is proactive and looks at every touchpoint along that journey. Touchpoints include anything that interacts with the customer, not just human interaction, but also ads, marketing materials, your website, emails, social media, estimates, invoices, etc.

Customer service is what each employee in EVERY department provides along the touchpoints. Every touchpoint must have exceptional customer service. So many organizations claim exceptional customer service as one of their competitive advantages, but few actually deliver it across all their departments (marketing, sales, fulfillment, billing). Customer service is the quality of an interaction between an employee and prospect or customer. Customer service is a soft skill.

To compare the difference further between customer experience and customer service, let’s look at the touchpoint of an organization’s website. Marketing’s job is to provide easy to find and understand information about a product or service being sold in a manner that is compelling. If the website provides a poor customer experience by not providing the prospect with the information needed, the prospect may go away. Some prospects will make an inquiry by picking up the phone or submitting an online inquiry. They are not lost yet. When the customer makes the inquiry, the way the employee communicates and provides that missing information is customer service.

One final note, you cannot provide an exceptional customer experience, without exceptional customer service. The customer service culture of an organization is imperative to providing a positive customer experience, but it is not the only thing that contributes to the customer experience.

Contact us for a complimentary phone consultation to discuss how to measure your organization's customer experience and customer service. 

About the author

Beth Boen

Beth Boen is on a mission at The VOICE Customer Service Training - to restore the lost art of providing exceptional customer service and turn the tide on poor customer service becoming the norm! Her blogs contain tips on how to provide exceptional customer service in everything you do!

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