Customer service and customer experience are two terms that are thrown around and often used interchangeably. This shouldn’t be the case.

While there are similarities and areas of overlap, it’s vital that contact center managers understand where these two ideas differ if they’re to implement effective improvement to either.

This article will explain the practical distinctions between customer service and customer experience in contact centers, and how both are crucial to customer satisfaction.

The differences between customer service and customer experience are important to process improvement.Managers need to be aware of the differences between customer service and customer experience.

1. The time period

The first difference between customer service and customer experience is to do with when they take place. At a fundamental level this can be described as follows:

  • Customer service: This usually refers to a one-off interaction. Usually the customer will engage with your business to ask a question, purchase a service or product, or register their feedback.
  • Customer experience: Here we’re talking about an ongoing phenomenon which follows the customer’s journey across all company touchpoints. As we’ll see a little later, this can include a range of platforms and a variety of different circumstances.

Customer experience can also be thought of as the sum of all the dealings a customer has with your teams, with each separate snapshot contributing to their overall perception of your company. As a result, customer service is one element of the larger customer experience.

2. The goals

Ultimately, with customer service and customer experience, you want to create positive outcomes for your customers, as both are essential to your overall success.

In fact, a staggering 88 percent of respondents to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Contact Center survey said that customer experience was the main driver for growth in their organization. Given that we’ve already established that customer service is integral to customer experience, you need to ensure that staff can deliver consistent quality in both areas.

However, when we drill down deeper, there are some important differences in setting goals for customer service and customer experience. When it comes to customer service, your approach should be resolutions oriented – this means establishing the pain point for the customer, and providing an effective and efficient response. This is reflected in the data from the Deloitte survey which suggested that the most important contact centre attribute from a customer perspective was the accuracy and quality of the information given, with first contact resolutions also ranking highly.

While these objectives also translate to customer experience, the latter is more proactive than reactive. In other words, your customer experience should aim to promote good feelings about your brand at a holistic level, which means learning who your customers are, and devising a strategy that will best connect with them.

Customer experience needs to be omni-channel.Customer experience includes all interactions a client has with your business.

3. Who is responsible?

Traditionally, customer service provision involves a specific department of trained human operators dealing directly with customer needs. Customer experience is much more of an omnichannel¬†situation, and this is becoming increasingly apparent in today’s market.

A separate Deloitte survey shows that over 60 percent of customers use more than one platform to engage with companies. Increasingly, of course, this is through social media, but automated website chats and FAQs are also important and, crucially, these often don’t involve person-to-person interaction. The challenge from a management perspective is to ensure that the customer encounters high quality, and consistent, systems no matter where they look.

It’s only through fully understanding the theory behind these two terms that managers can hope to improve their provision from a customer perspective. However, when it’s your teams, you can often be too immersed to identify precisely what needs work.

This is where Call Design comes in. Our training and solutions in areas such as performance and quality management can help you identify weaknesses in your delivery, and work to improve them. For more information, get in touch with our team today.