Customer Experience vs Customer Service

A very commonly thrown around term of late, when speaking of sales and service, is ‘customer experience.’ An often misunderstood term, even though it is one of the most essential components of any company. So much so, that Customer Experience strategies are often some of the most important plans that companies employ.

‘Customer Experience’ is often interpreted as the same as ‘Customer Service’, which, while service is a part of it, it is only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Customer Experience is not what you think. Why is it important and why should you focus on it?

Service is obviously one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle. When the customer is right there in front of you, or on the phone, you have the opportunity there to give them great service and help them. But the overall customer experience focuses on much more than just that single interaction.

The ‘Customer Experience Umbrella’ covers many things, and encompasses all of your customers’ interactions with your brand. Not just how they are treated by a single staff member. Experience is the extras, the nice things on top of good service, the things that influence how your customer feels about your shop or your brand overall.

Here’s an example;

          Customer Service:            

How friendly the salesperson is, how well they communicate with the customer, how effective the recommended products are in meeting their needs.

Customer Experience:

Atmosphere of the store, cleanliness, how inviting the store is, availability of products (and different options), ease of store navigation and finding the desired items, pricing, efficiency of check out, overall feelings towards each staff member they interact with, and perception of all the interactions with that store/brand.

In other words; how well the customer is treated by the salesperson or staff member on a single occasion, versus how they feel about the brand or store as a whole; the sum of every single interaction.

The service could be amazing, but the overall experience can be tarnished by many other things.

Concentrating on service but not paying attention to the other factors that make up the overall experience can be disastrous.

Think about it as having a friendly, professional, and helpful waiter, but food that is overpriced or under cooked. The waiter may be amazing, but the overall memory of the experienced will be tarnished. From that experience the customer may look at your brand and remark that the waiter was nice but the food wasn’t worth the expense. This will likely be relayed to friends and family, removing any chances of them heading there for their next dinner out.

So remember:

Great Service + bad Experience = lost customers

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Experience is your chance to differentiate from competitors

Of course, Customer Service is incredibly important, and needs to be right, but you need to
make sure you see Customer Experience as a separate entity, which requires just as much focus and strategy in place to create a strongly positive perception of your brand. Having strategies to create positive Customer Experience is your chance differentiate and stand out from your competition.

Experience can be the tipping point that creates loyal customers who drive past competitors to get to you.

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