Commentary

Is Customer Service The Same As Customer Experience? I Debate Myself

Like many others, I’m sure, I talk to myself quite frequently. And these conversations very often occur out loud versus internally — which apparently means I’m quite intelligent, as research has found that speaking out loud to yourself was found to be a trait of higher cognitive function.

So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. 

Ask Questions/Get Answers 

A few weeks ago, I posed the following query on LinkedIn: Do you think customer experience is the same as customer service?

The results were all in the no column, with responses ranging from just plain No to “No. Customer service is an element of the overall customer experience but it is definitely not the same thing.”

I also got some replies that attempted to make the point that one is part of the other: 

  • “Part of, yes. The same as, no. Instead, customer service is a component of customer experience because it is often a repetitive touch point throughout the customer journey that influences overall satisfaction.”
  • “Ingredient of, not the same as...customer service is to customer experience as flour is cake! 

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Customer Service IS the Same as Customer Experience

Remember the scene in the film “A Few Good Men” where Kevin Bacon’s character is giving his opening monologue to the jury? Of course you do. One of the things he does is plant a seed in the mind of the jury about what they’re going to hear from the other attorney, AKA Tom Cruise. 

“Their attorney, Lieutenant Kaffee, is going to pull off a little ‘magic act.’ He's going to try a little misdirection. He's going to astonish you with stories and rituals, and dazzle you with official sounding terms.”

I bring this up because my learned opponent, AKA me, will surely attempt to “dazzle” you as well with statistics and quotes and who knows what else to attempt to persuade you to believe that customer service is in fact NOT the same as customer experience. 

Well I'm here to tell you it is. 

And I’m going to make this really simple and easy. Here are the three different definitions of the word service when used a noun, adjective and verb: 

  • (n) an act of helpful activity; help; aid.
  • (adj) of service; useful.
  • (v) to supply with aid, information, or other incidental services.

Now, you tell me. Don’t ALL of these definitions tie directly into customer experience? Isn’t CX the act of being helpful, providing aid and information? Of course they are! I think this proves conclusively that customer service is in fact the SAME as customer experience. 

The defense rests. 

Customer Service is NOT the Same as Customer Experience

My knowledgeable opponent is right. No, not that these are the same. He’s right that I will reference stats about CX for the simple reason that the numbers don’t lie. 

But before I “dazzle” you with numbers, allow me to share some exceptional quotes that encapsulate my thinking: 

  • “The difference between customer service and customer experience is that while customer service is one piece of the puzzle — focused on human interaction and directly supporting customers — customer experience is the sum of the entire customer journey with your business.”
  • “Customer service is not the totality of customer experience.”
  • “Think about customer service as reactive. And think about customer experience as proactive.”

Rest assured I could go on — but you get the point. 

Now as for statistics, here are just three of what could surely be 100 that speak, no, SCREAM, to the vital importance of providing the best customer experience each time, every time. 

  • 86% of consumers will pay more for a better brand experience.
  • 67% of consumers say their standard for good experiences is higher than it’s ever been before.
  • 64% of consumers find the customer experience to be more important than price.

I will stop here out of respect for my defeated opponent. I think you will agree my case is overwhelmingly compelling and undeniable and irrefutable. But don’t worry about my opponent. I’ll buy him a cup of coffee and he’ll be fine. 

 
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