The Difference Between Customer Experience and Customer Service

At first, it’s easy to think that Customer Experience and Customer Service are one and the same. 

Many people use these terms interchangeably without thinking twice. 

Are they heavily related to one another? You bet!
Do they refer to the exact same thing? Nope! 

Customer Experience is the entire journey someone takes with you and your business. From the moment they learn about your company through a referral or social media post to the very last day they interact with your company, they are in an experience with you. 

It includes every way and every time a person engages with your brand: from start to finish. 

This journey happens over time and includes all of the interactions a person will have with your business from the first day they hear your name. Those interactions are vast and are a combination of indirect interactions (ie. following you on social, listening to your podcast, reading your emails, etc.) and direct interactions (ie. consultation calls, making a purchase, reaching out for support, etc.). Direct interactions play more heavily into the overall customer experience but that definitely does not mean the indirect interactions should be discounted or overlooked. 

The customer experience that you offer people with your business should be viewed as a lifelong journey — not something that simply starts and ends with a purchase.

So if that’s Customer Experience (CX) in a nutshell, then what is Customer Service?

Customer Service is how you support and take care of your people. It’s a vital part of the overall customer experience offered by a business and those who do it well are certain to stand out from their competition. 

Customer Service is at the forefront during those crucial direct interactions. It’s how you choose to show up for people and how you approach your connection with them. 

When you receive a not-so-pleasant email, do you shove it aside only to respond a week later with a short dismissive response? Or do you see it as a great opportunity and respond promptly with gratitude and grace? 

Do you go the extra mile to show your appreciation after someone makes a purchase with you or do you simply send a receipt and then never reach out again? 

If you tell a prospect that you’ll follow up with them in a few days after their discovery call, do you actually do what you said? And if so, do you reach out in service of them or in service of you and your business? (Trust me, there’s a very big difference.)

It is all about showing your customers that they are valued and appreciated.

It’s not something that’s just reserved for brick-and-mortar stores or hotels and restaurants. Every business, including online, needs strong customer service if they want to be successful and have longevity in their marketplace.

If you want to create raving, loyal fans and a strong legacy for your business, start by acting from a place of service. Also, remember that this customer service is just one important piece of the whole customer experience (CX) puzzle.

*Although we reference the term ‘customer’ throughout this blog post, we are speaking about anyone engaging with your business regardless of if they’ve made a purchase or not.