The success of a company depends on many factors. Some of them are inextricably linked to the industry in which the company operates. Still, some are universal and can be used in any company, regardless of whether we are talking about a software development company or a bakery.
Such factors that significantly impact your company's success are undoubtedly customer service and customer experience. The two terms are not interchangeable as they mean different concepts. However, they intertwine with each other and have no reason to exist separately.
To grasp the difference between customer service and customer experience, we need to understand each in more detail. Then you will know how they can affect the success or failure of your company.
Great customer service is an integral part of any business. At its core, customer service is the help a company provides to its customers before, during, and after purchasing products or services. This assistance may include advising them on the best product for them, resolving any issues they may have with their purchase, and responding quickly to questions about that purchase. Providing customers with good support throughout this process is essential to building loyalty and trust.
Remember that customer service includes all customer interactions, both offline and online, between your company and its current or potential customers. This definition extends to the customer experience - from first contact through sales to lasting relationships.
The definition of good customer service has evolved. It is undoubtedly related to the huge technological development happening before our eyes. A few decades ago, specific products were ordered using catalogs delivered by post, and brick-and-mortar sales could not occur without a customer service rep. Meanwhile, today, for most consumers, checking the status of an order by issuing a voice command to any mobile device is something obvious.
Technological progress has made reaching a potential customer easier than ever before. But on the other hand, it also caused a significant increase in the level of customer expectations. And suddenly, it turned out that exceptional customer service that meets customer satisfaction is more complex than several years ago. In addition, the customer satisfaction score has a crucial impact on the company's market position and further development.
It's no secret that customers expect a high level of customer service. In addition, this term may have a slightly different meaning for each client. So what can you do to provide great customer service? First, you should follow the customer and accompany him in the entire customer journey. Companies that understand that customer service determines their position in the market care a lot about their customers and are open to customer feedback. Of course, having customer service teams and customer service experience certainly helps. Still, they are not mandatory items in your customer care project. If you follow your customers and make them feel special, their ratings will be high.
Below are a few things that are the foundation of great customer service. Apply them, and you will surely notice the difference in the operation of the entire company very quickly:
According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report, 60% of customers say speed is the most critical aspect of good customer service. Everyone expects quick responses and instant customer interactions in today's busy world.
Friendly and empathetic contact with the client is a crucial issue. Almost half of the customers prefer to talk to a friendly and kind customer service agent. For most people, kindness in contact with another person is something natural, but some people forget about it. ;-) Make sure that kindness and courtesy are one of the main distinguishing features of your employees.
Customers become very attached to the communication channels they use daily. They don't like to suddenly install an unknown messenger or communicate via chat when they usually don't. Therefore, provide your customers with the broadest possible choice of communication channels. It costs nothing and will make your customers perceive your company as friendly.
The customer experience (CX) is the sum of all interactions between the customer and the company. It includes not only customer service during the purchase but also every other stage of interaction: contact with marketing materials, visit to the company's website, contact with a community marketing specialist, or even advertising on Instagram. The customer interacts and creates touchpoints that influence your company's perception.
The customer experience is shaped by three factors - people, process, and product:
Customer interaction, sooner or later, will be based on contact with people. Customers always expect helpful and friendly employees, regardless of whether they talk to them directly or use the chat. Of course, virtual assistants are an increasingly popular option, but nothing can replace contact with a living person.
Customers love simple and intuitive processes, the purpose of which is to guide them smoothly, for example, through the sales process. Then every, even the most minor function that simplifies, for example, contact with the customer service department, enjoys excellent recognition in customers' eyes.
Interaction with the product has a crucial impact on the overall customer experience. The product must meet customer expectations, be intuitive and solve their problems. It will make customers rate their customer experience very highly, which will translate into the assessment of your company.
To improve the customer experience, a thorough understanding of this issue is crucial because the idea of customer experience should be approached holistically. Building a positive customer experience is impossible if you focus only on customer service or the website. An approach is needed to deal with as many things as possible that affect the customer experience. Here are three actions you should take first to improve your company's customer experience:
Improving the customer experience must be a common goal of the entire company. Every employee must know how to work to take care of the touchpoints within their responsibilities. The whole team must be involved in implementing the "customer-based strategy" - from the business owner to the cleaning service.
Unfortunately, a common mistake of organizations is to perceive customer experience only as a tool to achieve greater profits. Such thinking makes everyone forget that the critical issue is to meet the customer's needs and focus solely on sales.
As we mentioned earlier, customer experience is based, among other things, on meeting customer needs. And that means you need to get to know your customers and understand their real needs, desires, and emotions. Only then will you be able to create personalized interactions that will improve the customer experience.
Unfortunately, many companies view customer service solely in terms of cost. Meanwhile, excellent customer service dramatically impacts the customer experience because this department's employees have direct contact with customers and can build long-term relationships with them. Therefore, view customer service as an investment, as the return on investment in providing exceptional customer service justifies the short-term cost.
Customer service is only part of the entire customer journey. In contrast, customer experience is the sum of all customer interactions with the company. So the key difference between these concepts is that customer experience is much broader than customer service and includes all possible customer interactions.
In addition, 3 more aspects clearly show the differences between these concepts:
Although both customer service and customer experience involve contact with the customer, only in the case of customer services do you have complete control over this process. You hire the right people, train them, control their work and give comments about their work. However, in the case of customer experience, your control is limited because there are a huge number of factors that affect the perception of your brand.
Many metrics and indicators measure the level of customer service as well as the level of customer experience. Different types of metrics and indicators are developed to measure these two issues separately or together.
Indicators like CES (customer effort score) or NPS are ideal for assessing customer service. In contrast, customer churn rate or CLV (customer lifetime value) indicators are ideal for evaluating the customer experience.
Customer service is primarily the responsibility of a customer service employee and their supervisor.
On the other hand, customer experience is a joint responsibility of the entire company. Every person in the company - from marketing to sales and product development - is committed to providing a great customer experience across all touchpoints.
After reading this article, you already know the answer to the above question. Customer services and customer experience are essential to your company's success. They cannot function in isolation from each other.
Customer experience is much more than just a trend. It is the purpose of everything your company does. By providing a high level of customer service throughout the purchase path, you will be able to delight your customers.
While customer service and customer experience are two different concepts, they work hand in hand when building loyalty to your company and product. Delivering excellent customer service along with great customer experiences is a daunting task. Still, it's worth the effort because your business depends on it.
If you want to find out how we approach these issues in our company, make an appointment for a free consultation with our specialists. For over a dozen years, we have been creating successful products that meet users' expectations. We love sharing our knowledge and experience.
Milo founded mDevelopers in 2010, bringing his over 10 years of sales management, B2B solutions, and business relations. Milo acts as the general director, as well as a mentor and advisor. In everyday work besides managing the company, he supports the sales department in networking and building relationships.
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