For years, businesses have touted the importance of customer service, service with a smile, and even the old adage "Service is King". Customer service ratings have been plastered on advertisements and seen as the ultimate differentiation between competitors. And while excellent customer service is definitely important, and quite frankly, expected by others, the future of customer service is about to go through a major facelift and the new look has a new name..."Customer Experience".
So, what is the difference between Customer Service and Customer Experience? Simply put, it is the difference between being reactive and being proactive. Customer Service is about responding with the right answers, compassion, and tools that a customer needs each time you come into contact, whereas Customer Experience is about anticipating everything a customer might need well before they have even thought of it themselves. This requires a whole new mindset and the willingness to put yourself into someone else's shoes.
Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, it can be much more difficult than one might think. For the past few decades, companies have been so focused on the products they deliver, the efficiencies they have created, and the processes to follow that they have often forgotten to find out how the customer feels. Don't get me wrong, these are all important business goals, but without the voice of the customer, it may have little to no impact on customer loyalty.
In a 2005 issue of the Harvard Management Update, James Allen, Barney Hamilton, and Frederick F. Reichheld published a staggering statistic:
"Eighty percent of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, while only eight percent of their customers agree."
So who is doing it right? Think through some real experiences you have had, not just great customer service, and you will begin to see the magic.
Are you ready to start creating an experience in your business?