Customer Service vs. Customer Experience

By: Elizabeth Clor

July 8, 2015

customer experience

Confused about the difference between customer service and customer experience?  I’ve heard many people use the terms interchangeably, and the difference is simple, but significant. To set the record straight, customer service is one of the many elements that make up customer experience.

Make sure you understand the difference from the customer’s perspective:

Customer Service

A customer’s interaction with your contact center.

Customer Experience

The reason why they’re calling your contact center, everything that occurred prior to the call, and how they feel about the service they received.

How quickly a customer’s issue is resolved.

Why the customer had an issue or question to begin with, and how frequently they have issues with your business.

Having the option to pay a bill online.

How easy it is to pay a bill online.

Understand the customer experience in your industry

These concepts can seem abstract, so let’s drill down into specifics.

Customer Service

How friendly the wait staff is, and how quickly they bring the food.

Customer Experience

Restaurant cleanliness, the taste/quality of the food, the variety of menu options, the atmosphere, the prices, and how they feel while they are eating there.

How well an in-store representative answers a customer’s question.

The ease of navigating the store, the availability of desired products, the range of options available, and the speed of checkout.

How quickly a customer’s issue is resolved.

Why the customer had an issue or question to begin with, and how frequently they have issues with your business.

How a car dealership’s service center representative communicates to a customer.

The issue that the customer is having with the vehicle and how he/she feels about having to bring it in.

How a food manufacturer’s customer support team responds to an inbound call about a food safety concern.

How the food item was marketed, packaged, and priced, as well as how the food smelled, tasted, and looked. AND, any previous experiences with other foods from that same brand.

Clearly, customer service is just one aspect of the overall customer experience. Customer care managers striving to go beyond customer service can benefit immensely from understanding the entire customer journey from start to finish. This deeper understanding of customer needs, wants, and feelings can produce quantifiable business results. For more information on how customer service managers can improve the overall customer experience, download our guide below:

Elizabeth Clor is the Sr. Director of Content Marketing and Communications at Clarabridge. In this role, she is responsible for solidifying Clarabridge’s position in the marketplace as the leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) technology vendor. Elizabeth has 17 years of experience in high-tech marketing and communications, and is a regular contributor to various marketing publications. She holds a B.A. of English from the University of Virginia.