By Trevor Shorte
It’s the start of Small Business Month (officially it’s supposed to be for one week but unofficially, it lasts the entire month!) so we wanted to tackle a topic that is of great importance, especially to small businesses. I’ve mentioned this before but if you can’t find people to give you money for what you’re offering, you won’t have much of a business to speak of. Finding customers is hard work, (regardless of the size of your business and wallet) and keeping them is paramount to the success of your business.
For many people, customer service and customer experience mean the same thing. This isn’t entirely correct. While they are not the same, they are related to each other. Customer Service typically is defined by the interactions the customer has when looking for assistance regarding your products or services. It is actually just one part of the entire Customer Experience. Customer Experience involves all the interactions that a customer has with your brand as they go through the process of purchasing something from you and what happens after the sale.
What does Customer Service look like?
Customer service is a term that most people are familiar with because it’s tied to what happens when someone interacts with your business. If you were in a store and the salesperson was friendly and able to help you find what you were looking for, that’s pretty good customer service. Or say you bought something from a store and needed to return it and the person working the return counter accepted your return with ease and made it a pleasant experience. That’s also great Customer Service. To provide great customer service you need to make sure that your team is knowledgeable about your products and policies and can provide the assistance that your customers need when they require it.
What is Customer Experience then?
Customer Experience refers to the broader process the customer typically goes through when they interact with your business. To provide a great customer experience you want to focus on ensuring that these interactions are easy, enjoyable, and seamless. For example, if a customer is looking for a product that you sell, the first thing that they are going to do is look online. When they find your business online, they begin to see what you’re all about and want to learn more. Then they go to your store and find someone who can help them find what they’re looking for. Then they get home and realize that something’s not quite right and contact your customer service to get assistance. They get the assistance that they are looking for and end up being a satisfied customer. Each step of the way makes up their entire Customer Experience. Which of course encompasses how you made them feel about your brand. The Customer Experience is very wrapped up in how you make a customer feel about your brand.
When you look at them both together, customer service becomes something that happens in the process of you delivering a great customer experience. So, it’s not a matter of one being better than the other or having to choose between them. Think of it more like how you can combine the two to create a positive experience with your business and make them more likely to become a repeat and loyal customer. And a happy customer can turn into one of your biggest fans and advocates that would gladly refer others to you!
Are you looking to build a better Customer Experience? Not sure where to start? Set up a free 20-minute consultation with us and we’ll help you get on the right track!