By Shep Hyken
As I talk to people about their experiences with the companies and brands they do business with, they often use the terms customer service and customer experience interchangeably. Are they confused? Do they not know the difference? Maybe, maybe not. And in the end, it doesn’t matter. They don’t care, and neither should you.
All you should worry about is giving them the experience they want, expect and deserve – regardless of what your customers call it.
Here are some of the different definitions the public gives to customer service:
- Customer service is a group of people who help me when I have a problem or a complaint.
- Customer service is the way people treat me.
- Customer service is a friendly experience.
- Customer service is easy and convenient.
And every once in a while, someone will use the words customer experience to describe the same. I’ve heard many other definitions of customer service and customer experience. The idea here is that customers have their definitions, and yours doesn’t matter. However, and this is important, regardless of how they define customer service or customer experience, the outcome needs to be the same: the customer always wants to be happy.
Now the word happy is my word. Customers will say they want to be happy, delighted, satisfied, pleased, and more. What drives all of that is an experience that might include friendly, knowledgeable employees, excellent customer support when there’s a problem, a simple, convenient experience, not having to wait, fast response times, employees who have empathy when it’s needed, and more. The list can get quite long, and it’s different for different types of businesses. Depending on your business, you may include something that other businesses might not.
In the end, does it really matter what customers call their experience? And does it really matter what we call it? The answer, as I’ve already mentioned, is no. What is important is that the company has every employee in alignment with what they want the customer to experience. It’s about the outcome. Whatever words we use internally, be it customer service, customer experience, or any other term that describes the outcome and process we want to create for the customer, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we create the experience that meets our customers’ expectations, makes them happy, and gets them to say, “I’ll be back.”