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Customer Service vs Customer Experience: Key Differences

We all know what customer service means and then up pops “customer experience” as a newer term that might seem to mean the same thing. So what’s customer service vs customer experience? Are the differences significant enough for you to care? Here’s the short version. Customer service is a very important part of customer experience, but it’s by no means the same thing. Confused? Let’s unpack this!

Read our guide to customer experience.

What is Customer Service?

There are many things that customers want to know and want to experience. Do you have people who are available to answer customers’ questions? Can they advise customers on the best version of your product to match their needs? Will they help customers by dealing with questions and problems? That’s customer service! 

You’re providing help, and “help” is pretty much what customer service is all about. It’s no coincidence that, when you’re browsing around a brick-and-mortar store worth its salt, representatives approach you and ask: “May I help you?” 

In remote shopping experiences, you might have a chatbot that does the same thing, and human representatives that can pick up the pieces if the chatbot doesn’t quite “get” the enquiry directed at it. They’ll have to do so more often than you might expect, but that’s a story for another day. 

Suffice to say, “service” equates to “help.” Not everyone wants to be helped, but when they do, they want it to be quick, efficient and pleasant. 

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is much more than customer service, but includes customer service when people want it. Sounds complicated? It isn’t really. Let’s use our brick and mortar store example to illustrate that. 

You see an advert that tempts you to visit a new store. As you approach it, you notice that it looks like a good place to shop. The window displays are gorgeous, and as you walk through the doors, you enter a beautiful environment. The products are presented enticingly, and it’s easy to find what you want. Before you know it, your shopping trolley is overflowing with goodies. 

As you hesitate in a choice between this and that, a pleasant person asks if you need help. “Do you have this in blue?” you ask. The service representative assists you and bang! There’s another item in your trolley. You’re in shoppers’ heaven as you approach the checkout. There’s no queue, and the person at the till processes your purchase quickly. 

You head home feeling happy, but when you arrive, you discover that you’re not sure about how to use one of the items you purchased, or aren’t quite satisfied with it. You call the store. They’re eager to accommodate you. The next day, the store calls you to check whether your issues were resolved to your satisfaction. You feel like royalty! 

Did you notice all the touchpoints? Advertising, the store itself, the way products were offered, how easy they were to find, the interaction with the service personnel, the pleasant checkout, the willingness to offer after-sales service, and the follow-up all become part of the overall experience you had. 

You’re getting the hang of it now! Customer experience consists of every touchpoint that customers have with your business. From the way they discovered you all the way through to following up on completed purchases, every detail contributes to your customers’ experience. 

A Commitment to Positive Customer Experiences Includes Great Customer Service

Can you offer positive customer experiences without awesome customer service? In some cases, you can. In others you absolutely can’t. Some customers know exactly what they want, and if you make it easy for them to find it and buy it, they’re happy with the results.

But, when customers want help or service and don’t get it, your business’s reputation is going to suffer, and so will your sales and repeat purchases. Not sure whether the item you’re considering matches your needs and nobody to advise you? Would you buy it or would you walk away? 

Suppose you take the risk and make the purchase only to find that you have pain points that nobody seems willing to address, would you recommend that store? At a not-too-wild guess, you wouldn’t. Why not? Shoddy customer service meant that your customer experience was memorable – but for all the wrong reasons!

Customer Service vs Customer Experience: Which Matters Most?

Some people need service while others don’t. Everyone wants a good customer experience. Does that make customer experience more important than service? Probably not. Good customer service might help customers to turn a blind eye to factors that would otherwise have caused a poor customer experience. 

So, maybe it wasn’t easy for your customer to find what they wanted, but help was at hand. The product was defective, but the service agents arranged for an easy exchange. It’s the kind of thing people can live with and still like your business. 

If, on the other hand, poor service wrecks what would otherwise have been an amazing customer experience, you just have to accept the metaphorical red card. You messed up in the eyes of your customers, and that’s the most memorable part of their experience. 

Customer service is only a component of customer experience, but without high quality customer service, a percentage of customers will have bad experiences. Expect them to be vocal about that.  At the same time, it’s possible that someone who was having a hard time doing business with you will change their mind about the experience if you offer fantastic service: food for thought!

Offer the Best Service Possible: Here’s How

You want to take good care of your customers, but you’re busy, and so is your staff. Sometimes, demands for service peak. At others, everything ticks over nicely without much need for intervention. And, at the end of yet another fulfilling day, you and your people need to shut up the office and head home. Who fields the calls and emails then? Is an out-of-office message or a recorded voice on the other end of the phone good service? Would it leave you feeling that you’ve had a great experience? Probably not!

Is there a solution? There is! RSVP is a call centre that works for you around the clock in as many languages as you need it to. No calls today? No problem. High call volumes? We’re geared for that too. 

What’s more, we offer you the upbeat, expert communicators that you need to leave your customers feeling like they had an amazing experience with your company. Are you ready to experience RSVP as one of our customers? Your business, and the way your customers experience its service, will be just as good. 

Experience RSVP today. Let’s work together to boost your customers’ experiences through service excellence. Simply reach out and discover the reasons why our UK call centre is a market leader.


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