Customer Service vs. Customer Experience: What’s the Difference?

In business, we hear several terms such as “customer service” and “customer experience” being bandied about without knowing what they truly mean. Often, there is confusion between these two terms and sometimes, they’re erroneously interchanged. So what’s the difference between them?

Customer service is provided in person or via technology before, during and after a purchase. Retail stores have employees that are available to assist customers when they come in. Customer service through technology can occur on your website via live chat or by phone. Whether in person or through technology, customer service is seen as a part of the overall customer experience.

Customer experience is the perception a customer has about a company. It is the sum of direct or indirect experiences, such as their first impression of the brand, meeting employees, reading news about the company or hearing stories through friends. Customer experience refers to every single interaction a customer has with the brand and includes customer service. Because of this, customer experience is more subjective and pertains to how a customer feels about the company over a long period of time.

Customer service and the entire customer experience can affect the customer’s loyalty. It’s possible that if one falls short, the customer may start looking elsewhere in the future.

While both customer service and the customer experience have differences, both are linked together and affect each other. Paying attention to both is good way to have your company stand out from the competition.

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