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Customer Service vs Customer Experience: Important Differences You Should Know

August 21, 2023

Customer Service vs. Customer Experience: Important Differences You Should Know

Though industries once used customer service and customer experience interchangeably, understanding the differences between these terms today could not be more crucial to creating a successful business. In the past, customer experience was seen as the complete responsibility of the customer service department and something to be reviewed or measured only in a post-purchase setting. Now, we understand that customer experience is more than just how an agent interacts with a customer over the phone or via live chat. Plus, we’ve learned that rather than falling only on the shoulders of the customer service department, it’s the brand's responsibility as a whole to help cultivate a positive customer experience.

What Is The Difference Between Customer Service And Customer Experience?

Whereas customer service refers to the help a customer receives when buying or using a product from a brand, customer experience – defined by Harvard Business Review – is “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company. ”The good news about the commonality between the two is that when done well, both customer service and customer experience will have a positive impact on customer satisfaction and revenue. Take it from the 70% of customers who say they’d spend more to get great customer service and the 73% of consumers who further claim that a great customer experience drives their buying decisions. As different as customer service and customer experience are, they both have the power to increase your bottom line and create deeper, more sustainable relationships with your customers.

Comparing Key Components Of Customer Service vs. Customer Experience

Not to state the obvious, but customer service today looks much different than it did ten years ago. In 2013, the instinct when you had an issue with a product or service may have been to pick up the phone or send an email (and cross your fingers for a fast response!). Today, the variety of customer service channels available has made it easy for us to quickly resolve our issues via text message, live chat windows on a brand’s website, or even by posting on social media. Self-service options like FAQ pages and chatbots have also impacted the way we serve customers, with 70% expecting to be able to help themselves on a website. Though these channels certainly haven’t eliminated the need for human interaction in customer service, they’ve instilled a shift that has made customer service more of a slice of the overall customer experience rather than the full pie. And, if anything, seeing the self-help-driven nature of customers has forced us to ask, “Why did the customer reach out to us in the first place?” so that we can improve our approaches to optimizing both customer service and the steps involved in creating the customer experience

What’s Involved In Creating A Cohesive Customer Experience?

To return to our Harvard Business Review definition of customer experience, it is the sum of all interactions between the customer and the brand. Now, here’s the important part – unlike customer service, the customer experience begins as soon as the customer becomes aware of the brand, and it continues as the customer moves from touchpoint to touchpoint throughout the entire customer journey that a brand has created. This realization is exactly why optimizing and refining your customer journey touchpoints is an absolute necessity to creating an experience that impresses from start to finish. To give you a full scope of what goes into a customer experience, we’ve put together a quick list of touchpoints that your customers will encounter along their journey:

  • Social media
  • Paid advertisements and marketing campaigns
  • Website, online store, and app
  • Available customer service channels
  • Products and services
  • Pricing
  • Self-help features like knowledge base articles & FAQ pages
  • Customer support
  • Customer loyalty programs and offers
  • Feedback questionnaires

Phew – quite the list, right? However, it truly shows the breadth and depth of customer experience and everything that goes into making it a positive & memorable one for your customers.

Aligning Customer Service With Customer Experience

An absolutely seamless level of customer satisfaction is possible when your brand is able to align customer service and customer experience. Making support part of the overall experience strategy can give brands the opportunity to identify pain points, anticipate customer needs, and deliver a totally consistent experience across each customer service channel. A huge component of this strategy should involve training and empowering your customer service agents to view themselves and their role as part of the “bigger picture” for your brand’s success. Though agents’ primary duty is to serve and interact with customers to resolve issues, they play a huge role in shaping the customer experience. By offering your agents the knowledge, tools, and skills they need to empathize, actively listen, and communicate effectively with customers, you can help them to create lasting impressions on customers and build meaningful connections that foster loyalty and repeat business.

Nail Your Customer Experience In 2023 By Partnering With TalentPop’s Trained Customer Service Agents

At TalentPop, the dedicated agents we help onboard to your customer service team aren’t just there to resolve inquiries and problem-solve – they’re ready to help elevate your brand’s overall customer experience with friendly, helpful support that your customers can count on. Whether you want to increase your revenue this year or reach your KPIs, our easily-scalable solutions and seamless pricing model will make it easy for you to get started in as little as 3 weeks. To learn more about how our team can help you nail your customer experience in 2023, start by scheduling a call with us today.

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