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Beginners Guide: Customer Experience vs. Customer Service
If 2020 had a buzzword (besides the new normal), it would be Customer Experience. In fact, we spend a lot of time discussing ways that we at Bravo can help pawnbrokers impress their customers.
The notion of impressing and delighting customers goes beyond providing customer service or customer care.
- Customer experience focuses on the holistic customer journey across every touchpoint, rather than a single interaction.
- Customer experience is the new battleground for companies, beating out price and product for how companies can differentiate in 2021.
- Mobile experience is critically important to improving customer experience.
Defining Customer Experience and Customer Service
Customer Experience (CX) is the total journey of a customer’s interaction with your brand. It includes every interaction that takes place pre-purchase, all the way through to post-purchase.
When you focus on CX you measure how a consumer feels about your brand/company, rather than simply assessing a one-off interaction or transaction. You take inventory of every touchpoint that a consumer has with your product or service to understand the full lifecycle.
Customer Service is generally defined as helping a customer or giving the customer assistance—usually by answering questions. While this can happen prior to purchase (like helping a consumer choose the right product), it usually happens after purchase and focuses on troubleshooting issues to ensure the customer had a great buying experience.
The primary difference between these two concepts is that customer service is reactive, helping a single customer after an issue is brought to your attention. By contrast, CX is proactive and seeks to reach every customer. Generally, CX initiatives are put in place to help mitigate problems that lead to poor customer satisfaction.
Measuring Customer Experience and Customer Service
Customer experience is measured by net promoter score (NPS) which measures how likely a customer is to recommend a product/service to a friend.
Customer service is measured by customer satisfaction score (CSAT) which measures how satisfied a customer is with a single/particular interaction.
The way both concepts are measured helps further illustrate the important differences between the two. The NPS measurement is broader and aims to assess how someone feels, thinks, and views a brand (e.g. would they recommend it to someone else). CSAT, while critically important for companies to measure, aims to identify a customer’s level of satisfaction with a single touchpoint.
Understanding the Impact of Customer Experience
The idea of focusing on CX might sound more like a “nice-to-do,” but it is a “must-do.”
Consider these facts:
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
- A Walker study found that at the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
- 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.
- In their future of CX report, PwC surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.
With consumers having more choice on where to do business—and with increased commoditization of goods and services, it’s no wonder that 88% of companies now prioritize customer experience and are making investments to improve CX.
Knowing Where to Start
Beginning a new customer experience initiative might seem daunting but you don’t have to tackle everything at once. The most important thing is that you make CX a focus in each quarter of the year.
Here are a few places to start:
Collect and Analyze Customer Feedback.
According to Gartner’s research, companies that successfully implement customer experience projects begin by focusing on how they collect and analyze customer feedback. You can use surveys, reviews or web forms to collect customer feedback.
Read through comments and suggestions so you know what customers like and dislike, and what their expectations are. This will help provide direction for where you need to invest your resources, and which efforts will yield a return.
You are likely interacting with customers across multiple channels like email, social, chat, in-person, and through web forms. Customers want to interact with you through multiple channels, however, they demand an omnichannel experience.
Is your communication consistent across all these channels? Will a customer have a drastically different experience from one store to the next? Identify where the inconsistencies occur across touchpoints in a single store, or between stores and start modifying internal processes to correct the problem areas.
Focus on Mobile.
A bad mobile experience puts your brand in jeopardy. Mobile continues to lead the way with how customers discover, evaluate, and interact with your brand.
Consider These Figures
- 57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
- If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of customers will stop visiting it, even if they like the business.
With so much riding on the mobile experience, it’s a great place to start when trying to improve CX.
Are you using technology that allows customers to interact with your brand on their mobile device? Is the experience up to current consumer standards? If the answer to these questions isn’t “yes,” mobile might just be the best place for you to start as you work toward improving CX.
Customer service is an important aspect of customer experience, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.
A shift from reactive troubleshooting to proactive personalized interactions is a necessary step for any business that’s looking to compete for customer attention and loyalty.
Customer experience is not a new concept, but it has become the new battleground. As you look at your goals for the year, do your marketing and sales strategies incorporate a customer-centric approach to growth?
If they don’t, the door is open for your competition to lure your customers away and win business that would have otherwise been yours.