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Customer Service vs Customer Experience

by Sergio Rossini
cs vs cx

Still lot of confusion around the net about Customer Service and Customer Experience, that are often used as if they were synonyms by many CX experts even if they are not.

Let’s start with definitions:
Customer Service is the assistance and advice provided to a customer who buy or use its products or services.

Customer Experience is your customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your brand.

CX includes Customer Service, Price, Product, Employees’ engagement and empowerment and all possible interactions between the customer and the brand.
Customer Service is very important in creating the desired perception of a brand in the customers’ mind, but it’s just a portion of the much broader concept of Customer Experience.
The inconvenient truth is that CX is not the extension of customer service.
Customer Service is Tactics, CX is Strategy!
The Mission of Real CX is to Deliver Brand Promise.
Starting a CX program thinking that Customer Service and Customer Experience are more or less the same thing, can lead to the implementation of a “serve customers better” approach, like if it was a one-size-fits-all solution.
What about all those brands whose brand promise is not based on pure customer service?

For example let’s give a look to IKEA.
IKEA’s brand promise is ‘to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.’
Customer Service is not part of it.
The truth is that whoever enters an IKEA store, knows already that they make you sweat.
The shop layout force you to make a round tour, making difficult to get directly to the desired area.
Availability of staff for on-site support is very poor.
Queuing time at check-out counter is way too long.
By the way, IKEA achieves Customer Success by keeping the Brand Promise that is about Design, Quality and Price, not Customer Service.
This is a clear case in which an holistic approach to CX, keeping focus on the Brand Promise delivery, is much more powerful than focusing on Customer Service only.

Thanks to Sampson Lee for having written the book PIG (Pain Is Good), from where I took the concepts of this post and that I encourage all CX professionals to read.

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