Customer Service Versus Customer Experience: What’s The Difference?

Last week, Mark had to battle downtown traffic at rush hour for a tux fitting. He had gotten a fitting with this company before, at a different store location, so he knew what to expect.

Would’ve been nice for the two stores to have had a central database so that this other store had his measurements which would have prevented the need for another visit. Then he wouldn’t have had to tack on another errand at the end of his workday.

The tux shop was pleasant enough. Efficient even. They had him sized, tux ordered, and sent on his way before too long.

Being the good humored guy that he is, Mark joked to the sales associate, “Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the store had a sort of central file for these measurements? That way, I’d only have to get re-measured when my belly starts jiggling like jelly!”

“I know,” the sales associate replied. “I don’t know why we don’t have a centralized system for all this!”

Mark received good customer service at the tux shop. No glaring errors, nothing that ruffled his feathers. He needed to get a tux ordered, and he was able to accomplish it.

But, his overall customer experience with this company was one of disappointment. It would have been far better had he been able to forego this second fitting. He had expected this company to know his information since he had just been fitted at another store location before.

He had a specific expectation in mind, and his experience at this touch point did not meet that expectation.

Customer experience: What the customer thinks about a company

Ensuring that a business has consistent customer service practices in place is a start, especially when service is the core product that a business offers.

But, the Customer Experience is the sum total of direct and indirect contact--touch points–that a customer has with a company. These experiences build on each other and comprise the overall perception the customer has of a particular brand.

Apple is a leader in delivering superior in-store customer service, but the customer’s experience starts well before he steps foot into a store. Even though competitors offer devices with similar features that lend to positive experiences, customers appreciate the design simplicity in Apple products.

It’s become a universally accepted fact that Apple designs intuitive devices that make people’s lives easier.

Apple’s iconic ad campaigns, packaging accouterments, and intuitive user design has created a deep emotional connection with its customers. Through both the in-store experience and the interaction with the brand in everyday tasks, Apple has firmly entrenched itself in consumer’s minds as being customer experience experts.

Though there are many factors that drive the customer experience, the elusive quality that companies need to strive for is triggering that emotional connection for their specific customer.

Create consistent customer experiences to create loyal customers

So, the customer experience takes into account a customer’s expectation at each touch point, and ensures those expectations are met every time.

It is not enough to be better than your competitor. You also need to deliver consistent experiences for your customer at every touch point because your customer is setting a new expectation every time she interacts with your company.

The moment a customer wonders, “It would’ve been nice if…” is the moment when the business has failed to anticipate her expectations. It made a potentially memorable experience into a less ideal one.

As a business, your challenge is to know your customer so well, that you create an online presence that is easy for her to navigate and click through. You need to offer products and services that are easy for her to use. You need to train your store teams to engage and delight her.

Above all, these interactions need to be consistent. You need to monitor where there will be potential gaps between the customer’s expectations and experience.

These customer experiences are what drive customers to be loyal to you, and will account for the majority of your business.

Not every business is equipped to deliver this level of emotional connection with their customers at every touch point.

The question you need to ask yourself is can you afford not to be?

With our Mystery Shopping and CSAT services, we can help you create those experiences today.