WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

The terms customer experience (CX) and customer service are often confused and interchanged, with brands mistaking them for the same thing. However, a successful business model relies on both components and a blended approach of the two is essential. In order to implement this, it’s important to understand both the differences between customer service and CX and how they interconnect.

 

Customer service vs customer experience

Customer service involves taking care of your customers’ needs by providing and delivering professional, high-quality assistance and advice to ensure their requirements are met. Whether that’s via phone, live chat, social media or website FAQ’s and chatbots, good customer service ensures any queries and issues are promptly answered and dealt with. Getting this right has a significant impact on the way customers feel about your brand and is a defining component in gaining their loyalty.

Whilst customer service focuses on directly supporting customers, CX involves the whole customer journey with your brand. The two interact closely as customer service is a crucial element that needs to be right for positive CX. However, CX is the sum of all customer contact, from first discovering and engaging with your brand, to using your product or service and all other interactions and experiences that follow.
 

Experience is everything

Leaving a positive impression with your customers is crucial, as happy customers ultimately lead to better revenues through increased brand loyalty and affinity. Customers who have had positive experiences are also likely to promote and recommend your brand to others, encouraging acquisition as well as retention. However, it’s also important to understand that those who have had a bad experience with your brand are perhaps even more likely to share this with those close to them and possibly online as well, meaning it’s important to get your strategy right.

CX is determined by how your brand is perceived by customers across every stage of the customer journey. This covers everything from the media you use to communicate with them, your tone of voice, messaging and brand values, right through to the value-added rewards you offer, your call response rate and returns policy, to name a select few.

One way to ensure a positive overall CX is to get to the bottom of your customers’ unique preferences as soon as possible. This can be achieved through a quick survey to ensure you are engaging with customers in ways that they are happy with, as well as assessing the digital engagement trends of that customer, such as purchasing patterns and open and response rates.

Once equipped with this information, you can then adapt and align your products and services with customer preferences, which will not only foster increased brand engagement but also enable you to learn more and more about your customers as time goes on.

At this point, a great way of taking your CX to the next level is introducing bespoke, value-add, experiential rewards to customers for sustained interaction with your brand to show them that they are appreciated.

Through such rewards, additional behavioural data can be gathered to refine services further, while reinforcing positive brand association through enjoyable experiences. Whether it’s cinema tickets, dining discounts or various other lifestyle experiences, implementing a loyalty scheme which offers rewards is a great tool in achieving better overall CX.
 

Putting this into practice

Although the two are often conflated, customer service and CX are both crucial to a successful business model in their own rights. As a result, you need to put in place plans to ensure both processes are as efficient as possible. Focussing on improving and defining the two components individually and then implementing a blended approach of them both will play a key role in ensuring fruitful, long-standing relationships with your customers.

By gaining a detailed understanding how and why customers feel the way they do about your brand, you can adapt your services accordingly to both reduce churn and increase acquisition through positive customer experiences.
 

If you’re interested in developing a customer loyalty and engagement scheme that fosters quality CX get in touch to discover how ELLO Media could help, or download our Understanding Customer Expectations of Brand Loyalty Programmes report to learn more.

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