Is Customer Experience Equivalent To Customer Service?


Take a few minutes to think about it.

Are you able to distinguish between the two terms or not? Despite having such a vast difference between the two terms, you may not be able to make the right call. And what is most important is, to understand these terms at the right time and sooner. The reason for not being able to create a clear disparity amongst the two is that one is a subset of the other but reading these two terms as one can be a terrible mistake to your company.

If “cust+ is just like a complete Formula 1 race”, then customer service is mere the pit stop. So, if you are just focusing on the pit stops, you are completely missing the race, and you will lose it.

Customer experience is frequently associated with customer service and hence often misunderstood as “customer service is equal to customer experience.” But there is a serious need for a reality check for those with this perception, as “customer service is only a subset of the customer experience.”

When a customer needs a service or a solution from the company they directly contact the company to avail a customer service. It is a complete new department which handles the queries and the experience felt by the customers adds up to the overall customer experience. Companies work dedicatedly to improve the satisfaction of the customers who reach through customer care or service centre. But what about the customers who aren’t getting back to the company ever? Aren’t those customers experiencing anything at all? They are!

Quoting separate definitions for customer experience and customer service may not solve the problem for anyone so let me take a recent incident from my life to create disparity between two terms.

I had to plan a dinner for my family and a few relatives. A friend recommended a place and the online reviews were fine too. So, I visited the food outlet few hours before to reserve a table. I was shocked to hear that booking charges were so high, non-refundable and will not be cashed back in the bill either. I didn’t book the place but decided to directly come over and wait for a while till the space get vacant. Coincidently the space was not occupied and we got the place without any effort or extra charge. The dinner was well served but the food quality was average. The bill crossed the expectancies and we were disappointed with what we were charged as compared to the treatment given. I will appreciate the service as the waiter gave his best to serve other 5 tables and mine, but waiters per table is a serious concern for them. Though there was a terrible complaint section for giving a feedback, I went through the procedure to give one.

In this whole story, I am the customer and company is the food outlet. I began to shape my experience from the time I get to know about the food outlet. From then every interaction, may it be online or offline, adds up to my overall experience of that food outlet. But the time they provided all their services directly to me is only considered as the customer service. So, the customer service is one of the form in which I interacted to the company but there were many more incidents where I was directly or indirectly influenced by the company.

So, defining the customer experience- “the sum of all the experiences across every touchpoint over the complete journey of the customer with the brand which is a combination of customers feelings, emotions and perceptions.” and Customer Service is one type of the experience your customer have. Just think about giving your customers a supreme experience so that they never turns to your customer care/service.”The need to put the customer experience above customer service” as a culture, has got stacked below the layers of prioritisation of customer service and the misconception between the two terms, but the need of the hour is to pull this upfront.

“Customer experience comes way before in the customer’s journey than the customer service” in fact the customer experience is independent of what customer feels but the customer service is about what does the company do for the customers at the time of services. Also, the customer service is the reaction what company need to take but the customer experience is the sum of all his expressions.

If you are unaware of the value that customer experience holds above customer service, then you are not even the part of the race. It is important to hear back from the customers at every touchpoint of the journey not just at customer service. You can always contain the customer service but you can’t drive the whole customer experience.

“You can never govern your customers experience but you can shape it, mould it and improve it.”

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