Customer Experience vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?

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Flori Needle
Flori Needle


Customer service and customer experience are critical aspects of your business as they significantly impact your ability to satisfy and retain customers.

customers having a happy customer experience

The two terms are not interchangeable, though, as each means something entirely different to your business. Read on to learn the difference between the two and how your business practices relate to each concept.

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What’s the difference between customer service and customer experience?

The main difference between customer experience and service is that experience is delighting customers at every touchpoint with your brand, and customer service is one single touchpoint. Customer experience doesn’t require interaction with a representative, but customer service usually does.

Experience is also proactive, while service is reactive. With the former, you aim to delight your customers without them having to reach out to you. The other usually begins when a customer initiates a conversation when they need help.

The two concepts are also measured by different metrics. Customer service metrics show how quickly you help customers resolve their issues, and experience metrics assess sentiment. So, for example, a customer experience team would measure Net Promoter Score, and service teams would look at Average Response Time.

Although different, customer service is part of the customer experience umbrella. The way you help customers when issues arise contributes to their level of satisfaction, and the faster you can help bring customers a resolution, the faster you can help them succeed and have a positive experience.

Customer Service and Customer Experience Examples

Let’s discuss the difference between customer experience and customer service with the example scenario of a customer visiting a storefront. Say a customer walks in, makes a return with a representative, and continues with their day — this is a singular customer experience. That single interaction, though, makes up a small portion of their entire experience with your business that day.

For example, the directions they found on your Google My Business page helped them get there, the setup of your storefront made it easy for them to find your customer service desk, and your customer service rep helped them seamlessly make a return and process a refund.

Everything they did that day related to your business made up their entire experience, and customer service was one of those touchpoints.

Here are some additional examples of customer service and customer experience:

customer experience vs customer service examples

Customer experience and customer service are different, but both are important.

Many aspects of customer service contribute to the overall customer experience, and it’s essential to be aware of this. Instead of focusing on one practice over the other, create an all-encompassing strategy that ensures you provide satisfactory customer service and, in the process, create an experience that leaves customers satisfied.


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