Customer Service is the traditional view. It focuses on how people serve people, and mainly entails customer facing functions like customer care, retail outlets and call centres. To make this point clearer, let us home in on for example a supermarket. In a supermarket, Customer Service is made up mainly of customer care, counter, and cashier staff. The make or break of a great service is the approach, helpfulness and technical knowledge of the human being who is there to assist customers.
Customer Experience is a different ball game. It is all about ensuring that customers do not need help in the first place, and when they do, they can easily get it. It focuses on the experiences which customers have, both those visible and those invisible to them. Often the more invisible (or seamless) an experience is, the better.
Building on the example of the supermarket, Customer Experience includes Customer Service but also has a much wider scope and reach which includes:
A company’s focus on customer experience is not at the fringes of what it does. It is what it does. The rest are supporting functions, yet many companies relegate Customer Experience to a nice-to-have feature.
Whereas we have traditionally confined Customer Service to the customer facing departments, who need to be the go-between the customer and the internal policies and procedures of the business, Customer Experience puts the responsibility on all the departments. The input of each and everyone in the organisation leads to the customers’ experience.
Therefore, Customer Experience leads to a paradigm shift and a culture change towards customer focus by all the organisation. Look around you, who are the organisations who truly get it right for us customers? Is it those who create the product and want to hard sell it to us, or the ones who create products based on our needs in a way that it feels natural for us to be loyal to their brand? And guess who are ultimately the most viable organisations in the long run?
Customer Experience is not simply a nice to have accessory, but really and truly the route to successful business. Companies tend to invest in something when it makes financial sense and whilst Customer Experience has its own intrinsic value, here are a few stats published by Forbes Magazine which drive home the Return On Investment (ROI) of Customer Experience:
So, taken seriously Customer Experience can provide seamless experiences to customers, whilst increasing loyalty, revenues, employee engagement and operational efficiency.
Customer Experience is truly a differentiating factor between businesses simply surviving and those thriving, because by understanding who the customers are and their needs, we can really provide the products and services which fulfil those needs remarkably well, whilst contributing to the well-being of the business.
Written by Corinne Fenech.
Corinne Fenech is a Strategic Partner at StreetHR specialising in Customer Experience, Innovation and Operational Efficiency. No matter the size of your company, at StreetHR we have the expertise to help you shine. Talk to us to see how we can work on improving your Customer’s Experience.