A shift is underway in the contact center industry as customers derive both power and…
Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
- Christa Heibel
- 14 July 2021
Historically, customer service has been a focal point for businesses striving to attract new customers and retain existing clients. More recently, companies have started to recognize the importance of customer experience. This article will compare customer service and customer experience and explore what call and contact centers can do to optimize their user experience and improve customer service.
What is customer service?
Customer service is help, assistance, or advice given to clients or buyers. The primary aim is to answer questions, provide useful information and ensure that customers have the knowledge or tools needed to make the best out of the service or product they’re considering buying or have already bought. Customer service describes the relationship between companies or organizations and their clients before and after purchasing or inquiry. While many customers who ask for advice or information do so via helplines or customer service contact centers, verbal communication is not the only component of excellent customer service. Call centers can provide customer service through online resources, video calls, and virtual hangouts, and live chat. Research conducted by Microsoft found that 54% of consumers had higher customer service expectations in 2020 than in 2019 (source).
Customer service is an integral part of customer experience. If a client feels let down by the service provided by an organization, this will impact their overall experience.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is a buzzword that triggers spirited discussion among business owners and executives. Customer experience and customer service are often used within the same sentence, but it’s crucial to understand the difference. While customer service relates to the help and advice provided by companies, customer experience describes the journey consumers take when they work with or buy from a brand or organization. The customer experience begins when a consumer first starts researching a product, browsing a website, or making a call. It covers every single point of contact and interaction with the brand or the product or service after purchasing, subscribing, joining a mailing list, or making a call to a contact center.
An effective customer experience strategy aims to ensure that clients enjoy the best possible experience. User experience should trigger emotional reactions and connections and influence the way consumers view companies.
Customer experience is the sum of all parts, and it should take the customer on a journey that leaves them with a positive perception of the brand.
What makes a good customer experience?
Customer experience is a term that covers all bases, and it reflects the far-reaching facets involved in delivering a practical, enjoyable, convenient, memorable experience for clients and prospective customers. A good customer experience should create and maintain positive impressions throughout the customer journey.
To understand the customer experience, it’s beneficial to consider the customer journey elements and ensure that you incorporate all aspects. There are eight key stages of the customer journey, including:
- Awareness and discovery
- Building a partnership
- Sharing and advocacy
Often, businesses will go all-out to impress by focusing on two or three of the elements listed above. To achieve the best results, it’s beneficial to invest time and effort into every step.
Why are customer service and customer experience important?
There are several reasons why customer service and customer experience are essential, particularly in 2021, when consumers share their experiences and provide feedback. Over 90% of consumers now read reviews before visiting a website or buying a product (source). Reviews are increasingly influential, but customers are also more interested in customer experience than ever before. Research suggests that 96% of people would consider leaving a company due to bad customer service (source), and 86% of consumers would pay more to enjoy a better customer experience (source). Prospective buyers want to find out more about brands and businesses and form deeper connections.
Improving and enhancing customer experience can provide multiple benefits for companies with contact and call centers. Understanding what makes a good customer experience can:
- Boost satisfaction ratings and review scores
- Increase customer retention rates
- Encourage referrals and recommendations
- Increase lead conversion rates
- Set your brand or organization apart from others
- Improve efficiency
- Build solid and long-lasting relationships between businesses and customers
Improving Customer Experience
The best way to improve customer experience is to implement a tailored customer experience strategy. Working with a customer experience consultant can help you provide a better service and experience for your clients.
Key aspects include:
- Evaluating existing processes and identifying ways to streamline the customer journey and eliminate time-consuming, inefficient processes.
- Using analytics to leverage customer data to make well-informed decisions about the experience you provide for your customers.
- Utilizing data and feedback to gauge customer reactions, impressions, and perceptions.
- Using a strategy to identify and achieve primary objectives, for example, increasing sales or improving brand awareness.
- Facilitating growth and development.
- Developing your business model in line with consumer trends, demands, and efficiency targets.
- Providing staff with the training and tools they need to do their jobs as effectively as possible.
- Investing in continuous training and promoting career progression.
- Personalizing the customer journey based on market research and a clear definition of the ideal buyer or target audience.
Customer service is an integral part of customer experience. Customer experience has become a subject of debate and discussion in recent years. Many business owners seek to enhance client experience to gain a competitive advantage and create positive impressions and perceptions. A good customer experience can foster loyalty, boost retention rates and encourage customers to recommend a company to others. Working with CH Consulting Group can help you to improve customer service and optimize customer experience to deliver results. No matter how large or small your contact center, experienced consultants can work with you to improve efficiency, provide a positive customer journey, and set your business apart.
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