Customer service vs customer experience- explained

customer service vs customer experience
customer service metrics
Customer Support
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Divya Kandwal
March 31, 2023
mins read

Customer service vs customer experience- why both are important

Think about the last time you had a terrible service experience after making a purchase. How did you feel? Chances are, you formed a massively negative opinion of the brand, decided to never buy from them again, and maybe even told about it to your friends and family. The quality of customer service influences the experience a customer has with a brand. Although customer service and customer experience are not the same, they both drive the most important CX currency- customer loyalty. 

What is customer service?

Customer service is the assistance you provide your customers before, during, and after they purchase your product or service.  

In other words, it is the support you offer your customers right from the moment they contact you. This includes answering their questions, showing them how to use your product, and resolving their issues.

The goal of customer service is to develop a strong relationship with customers by helping them make informed purchase decisions. Good customer service builds trust and reliability in the brand. 

Brands provide customer service through

  • Human agents
  • Self-serve channels like chatbots, FAQs, etc

Most brands that offer exceptional customer service use a combination of human agents and chatbots. 

Customer service vs customer experience

Customer experience is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company during the life cycle of his relationship with the company. Blake Morgan defines it as, 

“Customer experience (CX) considers everything the customer goes through—it’s everything the customer touches, tastes, smells, hears, sees throughout the experience with the brand. It’s being almost obsessive about the experience the customer has with the brand.”

So, your customer service is a subset of customer experience. Excellent customer service often leads to a good customer experience. In recurring repair and servicing-centered industries like automotive, customer service can make or break a brand’s relationship with its customers. 

In today’s competitive landscape, customer service is often what differentiates one brand from another. 56% of customers are willing to pay a premium price for a product to get outstanding customer support. So consistent and good customer service is non-negotiable for growth. What defines “good” customer service differs from industry to industry. But generally speaking, good customer service has these characteristics.

1. Quick response and resolution

As per this Zendesk Report, 60% of customers report that speed is the most important element of good customer service. With the rise of AI bots and social media, customers have come to expect instant replies from brands. 

2. Meeting customers on the platform of their choosing

The customer journey has become increasingly omnichannel. For instance, they might view a product on social media, ask questions via WhatsApp, go to the store to try the product, and finally place an order through the website. This cross-channel shopping behavior is normal and has also bled into customer support expectations. They expect to contact support agents over their preferred channels, be it Whatsapp, social media messengers, or a phone call. 

3. Empathetic support

A friendly and kind service interaction goes a long way in making customers feel important. Forrester Research found that how a brand makes people feel is 5 times more important than any other factor for buying decision.  

So good customer service is empathetic, fast, and omnichannel. But how can you measure it in a way that allows you to track and improve it month-on-month? The answer is- by using customer service metrics.

What are the important customer service metrics?

As always, there is no one-sit-fits-all. What customer service you should be tracking depend on your industry, customers, and overall goals. But there are some universal metrics that everyone should be measuring to improve their customer service. These metrics are divided into two categories-

  1. Experience service metrics
  2. Operational service Metrics

Experience Metrics help understand the overall business picture. They help you understand and predict customer behavior. You should use these metrics to know where to focus resources for maximum ROI. 

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)

CSAT or Customer Satisfaction is a common key performance indicator (KPI) used to track how satisfied customers are with your service. 

The question is phrased as-

“How would you rate your satisfaction with [name of your company]?”

Respondents choose their rating from a 5-point scale where, 

1= Very unsatisfied

2= Unsatisfied

3= Neutral

4= Satisfied

5= Very satisfied

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score measures how likely a customer is to recommend your service to others. It is an indicator of customer loyalty. 

Transactional NPS measures satisfaction after service interactions like -support calls, purchase, subscription renewals, etc. 

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score or CES measures how easy it was for a customer to transact with you. These transactions can be anything- from service interactions, looking up information, making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, after-sale service, or more. 

‍Churn Rate

Churn Rate is the rate at which your customers stop doing business with you over a given period.  It is a good indicator of the health of your company. For steady business growth, aim to keep this number low.  

On the other hand, operational service metrics help you identify what is going well and what is not going well with overall service interactions. Some of the common operational metrics are-

Average Response Time

This is the average time that your customer support team takes to resolve a customer issue. 

Average ticket handling time

This is the time that your customer service agent spends on resolving customer issues. A short ticket handling time means that your agents are effective. But it’s important to not focus on this number obsessively. The goal of customer service is to provide a satisfying resolution, not a quick resolution. 

Rate of Resolution

The goal of customer service is to resolve customer issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. But in reality, not all issues can be or are resolved. The rate of resolution measures how many issues are resolved by your service team. 

It is calculated by dividing the number of tickets resolved by the total number of tickets. 

There are many more operational metrics that you can use to track the efficiency of your customer service team. But these are good enough to get you started. 

To provide a good customer service experience, it’s important to combine both experience and operational data. Only by doing this, will you be able to get an accurate insight into your customer experience. As the say goes, what gets measured gets managed. Measuring customer service and customer experience gives you the power to curate interactions that will inspire customer trust and loyalty. A strong relationship with your customers will take you far in your growth journey.  

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