Both customer service and customer experience are essential, but customer service references more specific touchpoints whereas the customer experience incorporates the entire customer journey.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience, also known as CX, is the experience your customers and prospects have with your brand from the very first touchpoint to the very last. It encompasses every interaction your brand has with customers with the understanding that positive and consistent experiences touchpoint matters to securing and maintaining customers.
Creating a positive customer experience throughout the entire journey includes seamless touchpoints with your brand through marketing, sales and customer service. These touchpoints might be in person — their experience when they walk into your store — or on the phone. Or they might include text messaging or online experiences — the way they interact with your online ads, website or how they make online purchases.
What is customer service?
Though customer service is one part of the entire customer experience, it’s more specific to supporting the customer as needed as they interact with your brand, products or services. Customer service touchpoints are necessary in order to maintain smooth transactions and frictionless purchases, and when there is friction, customer service provides assistance that will still enable a positive brand experience.
The pressure is on for customer service teams who represent the face of the company. Often, customer service will be the only person-to-person interaction a customer will have with a brand, which makes that part of the customer experience one of the most crucial.
Customer service encompasses customer support, which is available to customers when they need assistance with your products. It also encompasses customer success, which helps guide customers as they use your products so there’s less friction and frustration and more seamless interactions with your brand. Customer service also includes the FAQ page on your website or self-guided help sections where they can find answers to their questions. Additionally, in-person interactions that help customers in any way fall under the purview of customer service, and there are more nuanced facets of customer service that blend departments but still strive for frictionless interactions with customers.
Customer service will also typically be equipped with tools to aid customers as needed and have conversations with them in ways that make life easier for the customer. Text messaging is a great example of a tool for customer service teams that allows them to get in touch with and be available to customers where they are.
So what is the difference between customer experience and customer service?
Today, when customer success is so essential, and so measurable, the lines that distinguish customer service from the rest of the organization are blurred. Every role at a company plays a part in creating a great customer experience, and yet customer service has the important power to keep customers happy with your brand and products throughout their lifecycle.