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Customer service vs Customer Experience

In business, the terms customer service and Customer Experience are often used interchangeably, but they are slightly different. To help you understand the distinction, this article will take you through everything you need to know so that you can effectively engage your valued customers.  

What is customer service?

Put simply, customer service is all about the direct interactions you have with customers to support their needs. Most commonly, this includes when they have an issue to resolve or a question about your products and services. 

Good Customer service includes: 

  • Quickly and efficiently resolving customers’ problems. 
  • Giving clear and helpful information about the products and services as customers need it.
  • Dealing with customers patiently and calmly, even when under pressure. 
  • Proactively meeting customers’ needs. 
  • Responding to customer complaints and questions as soon as possible. 

Customer service is exclusively provided by customer-facing teams like salespeople, customer service representatives and in-store staff. This can extend to online channels or over-the-phone interactions, as long as a brand team member is actively involved. For this reason, chatbots and automated recordings are not included.    

What is Customer Experience?

While customer service is a crucial part of Customer Experience, it’s only one part of it.  Customer Experience (CX) is holistic and covers the full journey a customer has with a brand. Unlike customer service, this isn’t limited to certain departments or interactions because it is about the entire relationship from beginning to end. 

As soon as a customer discovers a brand, whether through word of mouth, marketing or otherwise, the Customer Experience can be tracked. From that point on, everything they think, feel and know about the brand is part of the Customer Experience and determines how likely they are to continue the relationship. 

Good Customer Experience includes: 

  • Receiving high-quality customer service, including everything mentioned above. 
  • Getting the answers they need from the various channels that suit them, including brand-created content, face-to-face or chatbots. 
  • Being happy with the quality of products and services they buy. 
  • Communicating via their preferred methods, such as social media, phone, or in person. 
  • Effortless navigation around the brand website. 
  • Finding every part of the customer journey to be connected and cohesive. 

To create a good Customer Experience, all customer interaction points need to be linked together. Your customers should be able to seamlessly move between touchpoints, for example, social media, your website, and live chat. By providing more than one touchpoint for customers to engage with, this omnichannel approach is more likely to convert them to repeat customers. 

Customer Experience is more proactive

Customer service is reactive, while Customer Experience is proactive. Customer service is almost always initiated by the customer when they reach out to you with a need and you respond. In contrast, Customer Experience is about anticipating the desires and behaviours of the customer. To provide a great Customer Experience, you must understand what your customers need and want as well as how they operate. 

Customer Experience is ongoing

Customer service is usually focused on a single event, whereas Customer Experience is the sum of all interactions with a brand. Because of that, customer service is an important element of delivering a quality Customer Experience, but not the entire picture. Customers have increasingly high expectations of brands, so it’s important to deliver the best experience across the board and not only in terms of customer service. 

Managing Customer Experience

Delivering a high standard of Customer Experience is crucial because it influences how likely customers are to repurchase and refer the brand to others. The best way to offer exceptional Customer Experience is by knowing exactly what your customers want from you. And, if you want to do that quickly and efficiently, you need to ask for their input. That’s where customer feedback comes in, so let’s see the main three steps you’ll need to take: 

1. Gathering meaningful customer feedback

It’s important to remember that customers aren’t required to give feedback, so to improve response rates, surveys should be simple, appealing and specific. To get helpful responses, you need to ask open-ended questions, keep surveys straightforward, target customers at the right times and use automation tools. 


2. Measuring Customer Experience 

To track and measure customer feedback effectively, you need to use the right metrics. We recommend using Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys and Customer Effort Scores (CES) which help to highlight what’s going well and what isn’t. These types of surveys can be sent out at any relevant time as they aren’t limited to a specific part of the customer journey. 


3. Extracting insights and making improvements

To make the most relevant improvements to your Customer Experience, you need to know how to uncover the most useful insights from your customer feedback. That involves tracking the trends to recognise what your customer's needs are. This is far easier to do with specialised software that can collate, organise and analyse all the feedback data so that all you need to do is act on the findings. 

Review Tui feedback management

Review Tui is a great example of software that gives you the tools you need to capture customer insights and improve your Customer Experience. It has everything you need to get started, including easy reporting, an intuitive survey builder, CRM integration, and support for multiple communication channels.

Some of the key benefits of Review Tui include: 

  • Convenient real-time reporting for incoming feedback.
  • Personalisation with the Hubspot integration. 
  • Surveys are conducted via multiple channels like QR codes, social media and more. 
  • Easy-to-build surveys that are intuitive and proven to work. 
  • Feedback analytics and campaign links to generate insights.  

Businesses are becoming increasingly attentive to their customers in today's world so if you choose not to listen to yours, you risk losing their business. The good news is that customer feedback tools can help you make sense of it all and inform your next steps. 

Get started with our guide to implementing customer feedback strategies for more suggestions and tips.

Download our free customer feedback strategy guide