Customer Service vs Customer Experience

Published by Alison Gittins

Customer Service…….Customer Experience, call it what you will. It is so easy to get wrong, and quite difficult to get right.

How easy is it for you to hold onto your existing clients? How easy is it for you to win new customers? The experience that you leave your customer with is key to customer retention and can dramatically help you gain new customers through referrals – the cheapest way to get new business.

You see, good service is no longer something that will differentiate a company or individual. With our expectations now, good service is the norm. We need now to be able to differentiate ourselves in a remarkable way, an exceptional way or as a friend of mine would say “we need to deliver unexpected value”.

Well it may not be as difficult as you think! It requires attention and focus and a little bit of soul searching.

But let’s start with the basics.

Of course customer service means different things in different industries but look it up via Wikipedia and you will see it described as …”provision of service before, during and after a purchase”.

Pretty basic.

It then goes on to say some other interesting things about process engineering, systematic approaches, and service being a way to generate income!

All of the above is true.

We believe that customer experience has 2 main building blocks.

Service and Process

You can be ultra-polite, thoroughly engaging and committed to getting your customers what they want. But if behind the scenes your business processes means that you have every chance of failing to deliver your service or product effectively and to the client’s requirements, then their overall experience could well be negative.

Vice versa – the same applies. You might have the slickest processes in the world, but just one bad personal interaction with your clients can leave them feeling aggrieved.

Ask yourself these questions – and answer them honestly.

  • What is the lasting impression that my customer will be left with?
  • Will they be likely to come back to me based on the experience that they have had?
  • Would they be likely to recommend me to others?
  • Have I delivered to them extra value?
  • If I was them, would I have been delighted?

If you don’t answer yes to ALL of the above questions, then it is time to look at both building blocks – SERVICE and PROCESS and put some improvement plans in place!

Author – Emma Harle, Elrah Consulting