Why Customer Service Does Not Equal Customer Experience

by Jeannie Walters

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Customer Experience is this unkempt, crazy art form coupled with enough science to make it work. It’s not one thing or another – it’s a wonderful mishmash of all those little things that add up to big things like profit margin and customer loyalty.

So I get a little annoyed by something people assume. I say “customer experience” and they assume I’m speaking of one, singular piece of the puzzle. Typically, the polite new friend says something like “customer service is a big issue. I hate calling India just to get my computer working!” Aside from the blatant xenophobia, it annoys me because it’s assuming what happens BEFORE and AFTER the service call isn’t part of the puzzle.

It’s great when companies focus on customer service. But they’d be in trouble if that’s all they do, because that assumes customers will have an issue big enough to call in the cavalry. Start thinking about all those little things to think about where they add up:

  • Selling – How are your new customers treated? What promises are made?
  • Welcome – How are your customers welcomed? How are they informed of how to work with you?
  • Billing – Does this process reflect your brand promise? What about your follow up and collections?
  • Service – Do customers know where to turn when they need help?
  • Additional Purchases – Do your customers know what would work best for them?
  • ALL channels – Internet, call center, communications, retail space…are they all good for the customer?
  • Exit – What happens when they leave?

“Tip of the iceberg” barely covers it here. This starts with questions and usually leads to more questions. How are your service people compensated? Who do you hire for the front-line? And on and on and on.

OK. Rant over. I’m not against service at all, I’m just against assuming that’s the ONE thing that matters. What about you? How do you define customer experience?

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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