CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE vs CUSTOMER SERVICE
Customer service has been a term used to stress the importance of meeting a customer’s expectations. I believe that almost every business has that goal in mind. When two businesses offer the same products/services and price is the same, then what differentiates one company from another? I found the following definition for customer service: Customer service is a series of activities to enhance customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectations.
As an example, if I buy a new air conditioning unit, I expect it to be delivered and installed in a timely manner and that it works as promised. I could buy that unit from a dozen different companies and probably receive the same standard of customer service. If they all do exactly the same thing, where is the differentiation?
I don’t always like to use definitions, but I will share a definition of customer experience from Wikipedia: “Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier.”
Another look at the definition: A strategy that focuses the operations and processes of a business around the needs of the individual customer. The key word in that definition is individual. Let’s go back to our air conditioning. We established that the cost was the same and perhaps the installation process was the same. How could this process be individualized?
One way that I heard about was the air conditioning service person. While he was on the roof, he notices that the rain gutters were filled with leaves. After he finished the installation, he cleaned the gutters. By doing that, he individualized the service and was able to provide a “customer experience”.
As you can see, customer experience is more than doing the same job in a consistent manner for all.
Initiating a customer experience process in your company means that you are always on the lookout for what else needs to be done. It also means that everyone associated with a firm has to buy into the process.
According to James Allen of Harvard Business School, 80% of businesses state that they offer a great customer experience. This is in stark contrast to the 8% of customers who feel the same way. The customer experience has emerged as the single most important aspect in achieving success for companies across all industries. The implementation for such a process takes time and planning, and it certainly will set you apart from the ordinary.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon
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