The customer is becoming a very important, if not the most important, piece to the success of a business. As such, topics like customer service and customer experience are becoming increasingly relevant buzzwords. Although customer service and customer experience are often used interchangeably, the two do not mean the same thing. Let's explore the differences.
Customer service focuses on helping customers solve problems around the sale of the product or service. It happens at a specific point in time, a single touchpoint, and can be considered the ultimate touchpoint because it plays a huge role in defining the overall customer experience. Customer service is transactional in nature and is usually a single department within the larger organization.
The customer experience is a lot more all-encompassing. It consists of everything your customer wants, sees, likes, feels, thinks and does. Customer experience represents the relationship a customer has with the entire company, beginning at the moment the customer defines a need - way before the customer's first interaction with your business - and ending long after a purchase was made or the need was fulfilled. It's not just one department that contributes heavily to provide a great customer experience, it's everyone.
In a nutshell, customer experience is the sum of all interactions and all touchpoints between a company and the customer while customer service is just one touchpoint. Customer experience moves far beyond the traditional definition of customer service referring to the individual moments when employees provide direct service to customers. Customer experience is a bigger picture including what happens before and after these customer service interactions.
Although customer service and customer experience are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Today, providing excellent customer service is very important, but even more so, providing an excellent customer experience is what is going to help you survive in the battlefield.
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