Myth No. 2: Customer Experience Is Just a New Term for Customer Service


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Make no mistake, customer service is as important as ever; delivering great customer service is one of the most tangible and visible methods for improving customer satisfaction. Customer service, however, represents only a small fraction of the overall customer experience. Companies that talk themselves into a false sense of accomplishment by focusing only on customer service are missing the bigger picture; customer experience encompasses much more that just customer service.

While customer service is important, focusing solely on customer service misses the mark on the bigger picture. Here’s why:

  1. Customer service often represents only a subset of potential touch points: a receptionist, a call center representative, or a restaurant waiter or waitress. Each touch point does provide a significant contribution to how each customer is treated. Even the best customer service, however, won’t rectify an otherwise flawed customer experience. In contrast, the customer experience is broad, encompassing all customer service touch points that can extend from the customer’s first impression to their ultimate defection.
  2. Customer service often refers to human interaction with the customer. While human interaction is critical, consumers are increasingly utilizing self-service alternatives via the internet, telephone response, and kiosk. According to a study by Pew Internet Study, 73% of adult Americans use the internet, a number that continues to grow steadily. Customer experience initiatives must consider all touch points and channels in order to grasp the end-to-end scope of the customer experience process.

While customer service is an important component of the overall customer experience, companies that are looking to establish or improve their customer experience capabilities should define their customer experience more broadly; the customer experience should be defined as an end-to-end process that begins with customer attraction, flows through interaction, and ends with cultivation – where the process starts over.

Robert Howard
Robert G. Howard, Partner at Kurt Salmon, has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing innovative customer experiences across web, retail, customer care, and mobile channels. Mr. Howard is the co-author of the The Customer Experience Fiasco, and 7 Steps to Customer Experience Domination.


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