Customer Service versus Customer Experience – Which Is Champion?
Think about the last time you received great customer service. You most likely described it as ‘that company gave great customer service’ but what you most likely meant is your overall experience with company. When talking, people often confuse customer experience with customer service, and while they are undoubtedly related, they’re by no means the same thing. In fact, customer service is just a piece of the customer experience equation. I feel this quote sums it up in a nutshell,
‘If a customer has to call customer service, then something has gone wrong with their experience’
Keeping your current customers happy is crucial. With modern technologies, your customers are empowered. They can communicate their dissatisfaction with hundreds or even thousands of people with the click of a mouse and your competitors will be like vultures, circling to pick them off with a better offer. Customer service is no longer a department. It’s a philosophy that should be embraced by every employee at every level. It’s part of everyone’s job.
Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
Customer service is exactly that; the delivery of service to a customer before, during and post purchase. Modern customers demand 24/7 customer service via a myriad of online and offline channels, coupled with the fact that your competitors are probably investing in expanding their customer service teams and response times, it is imperative for your business to excel at customer service, if you want to provide a second to none customer experience. Customer service also functions as a last chance to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
Customer experience refers to the sum of all interactions and experiences customers have over the course of their relationship with your business. As prospects move along the buyer’s journey and ultimately become customers, they will interact with several departments of your company ranging from Marketing, Sales, and Customer Support/Service.
Put simply, customer service is assisting customers and meeting their needs. It helps to shape the overall customer experience but doesn’t fully define it. Customer experience includes a customer’s perception of a company, a customer’s interactions with a company and a customer’s recollection of that entire process, from start to finish, at all touch points.
The key to making these interactions run smoothly and keeping the customer happy is knowledge. For example, Customer Service Reps should be aware of any prior communications the company has had with the customer. For instance, if two different account managers call a customer on the same day pitching the same new product and the customer had a great interaction with a customer service agent the week before, this will make for a bad customer experience, regardless of how positive the interaction with the customer service agent the week prior. The culprit: lack of knowledge.
Keeping all customer facing teams abreast of each customer interaction can easily be accomplished by introducing a flexible and well-integrated CRM system that is accessible to all departments and diligently used to document all records, feedback and other critical customer information.
Individually your Sales department might have high close rates; your Marketing team might achieve high conversion rates and all the customers that deal with your service team have their issues resolved. However, this does not matter if all units work in a silo and lack knowledge on how and when other departments communicated with a particular customer.
CRM can also help a company anticipate its customers’ needs, then services will be provided in the beginning to help define the customer experience as ‘good’ from the start.
In a true customer centric organisation, CRM should act as the “golden thread” linking all customer facing departments with the goal of working in conjunction to provide an unparalleled customer experience. For more information on how to optimise your customer experience, download your complimentary copy of our guide ‘Maximizing customer lifetime value by optimising customer experience’.