Jan 31, 2022
4 min read
By Karla Vargas
In an ever-changing world of business and digital transformation, there are a few terms that sound very similar and are confused as synonyms. That’s the case of Customer Experience and Customer Service, two concepts that may ring a similar tone but play a completely different tune. Knowing why they differ is essential in tackling them with the appropriate approach.
Customer Experience vs Customer Service
Customer Experience is defined as the perception a customer has of a brand as a result of the sum of their interactions with it. When we talk about interactions, we are talking about all the instances where a person is faced with the product or service, through its design and value proposition, its marketing strategy, communications and content, to its customer service channels, among any other touchpoint where clients are expected to take an action or respond to a trigger.
Because of its ubiquitous nature, Customer Experience must be considered and embraced in all areas of the organization, impacting from the definition of the business model — the product or service itself –to the processes and people behind it.
On the other hand, Customer Service is in charge of providing support and assistance throughout the different stages of the customer journey. Some classic customer service touchpoints are Contact Centers, Help documentation,FAQ Centers, and self-service systems, among others. The customer service key metric is Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), which refers to the level of fulfilment a customer has after the completion of a certain service process.
Cover all touchpoints, including customer service.
It’s a strategy, not a capability.
It’s cross functional to all areas of an organization.
It focuses on adding value and providing the client with the best possible experience, which can lead to greater customer retention , catalyzing mid-term and long-term revenues for the company.
Covers support and service touchpoints (self-service systems, contact centers, etc.)
Tends to be tactical in nature.
It’s approached by the customer service area and adjacent areas.
It tends to focus on efficiency and cost reduction. An example of a customer service project would be to optimize the customer service model to reduce response times.
Customer Experience, the MUST HAVE competitive advantage.
In a 2013 study, the consulting firm Walker stated that by the end of 2020, Customer Experience would be more relevant to consumers than pricing and product. This prediction was fulfilled long before. Apple, Amazon, Google, to name a few, have built their positioning and relevance in the market based on Customer Experience. In other words, this is no longer a mere add-on. According to a study from Watermark Consulting, CX market leaders’ stock performance is 3 times greater than CX laggards.
Having answered the questions above, you may be wondering, should we focus on one over the other? The answer is not exactly. Customer Service is definitely a key aspect of Customer Experience which needs to be handled with both dedication and commitment . Doing so can bring us some visible quick wins both externally and internally. The danger, however, lies in focusing all our efforts on solving the tactical customer service pains, believing that we are building a better Customer Experience, when actually we are just making an incremental improvement in a specific aspect of an overall experience.
To confuse customer experience with incremental improvements in customer service is to waste the disruptive potential that customer experience can have in your business and this means putting your business relevance and sustainability at risk.
This phenomenon of confusing defining Customer Experience with optimizing Customer Service can be seen, for example, in the case of Chilean retailers that have focused their efforts on efficiency and cost reduction in the operation over defining a differentiated experience based on their strategic assets. By adopting this short-term focus, they end up being reached by the experience-focused innovations of disruptive players.
In conclusion, should we keep an eye on customer service? certainly yes. But if there is something that we definitely cannot lose sight of, it is to have an ambitious and transversal CX vision with disruptive potential, with which to align our team, processes and indicators. Only then you will be able to build an incredible experience in customer service and beyond.