The terms customer service and customer experience (CX) are often confused and used interchangeably. Although they’re two different concepts, they’re related. Customer service is the support provided to customers by brands and customer experience is the sum of a customer’s total interaction with your brand. How do we bridge the two effectively? Customer relationship management systems (CRM systems) help brands to support customers and provide the experiences that keep them loyal.
Let’s take a deeper look into what exceptional CX looks like today, how it impacts customer service, and how you can leverage CRM and CX software to streamline and optimize your customer interactions.
More companies are paying attention to the customer experience than ever before. In fact, Gartner finds in their 2019 Creating a High-Impact Customer Experience Strategy Report, “95% of business leaders believe CX teams must deliver a superior or world-class customer experience.” How can you frame customer service vs. the customer experience for conversations within your organization? Customer service is a critical function within organizations—resolving customer issues, answering questions, and shaping brand perceptions. However, customer service is just one part of the larger CX. The customer experience is the sum of all touchpoints that a customer has with your company, including sales, marketing, training, customer service, and more.
Analyst Jordan Bryan writes, “The quality of support a customer receives fundamentally affects customers’ perceptions of brands. Customers evaluate the overall value proposition of service providers on an ongoing basis, especially as they are presented with competing offers. Given these realities, customer service leaders must focus on and demonstrably improve their part in customer experience.”
If your brand’s CX is the total result of every brand interaction, that throws customer service into a new spotlight. In many ways, customer service works on the front lines to build your CX.
According to McKinsey, many companies have looked at customer service as a cost center, rather than a source of competitive advantage. “Until recently, the majority of the discussions around customer care focused on reducing labor costs by optimizing service levels, implementing lean practices, and achieving the optimal mix of offshoring.” CX has become a more vital lens through which to view the business, putting customer service within the context of the larger CX journey.
For businesses that turn an eye toward improving their CX, focusing on quality customer service is an important part of the equation. In fact, organizations that are designing their CX can benefit from paying close attention to customer service, says McKinsey. “As the natural owner of a large part of the customer journey, customer care can provide invaluable insight by helping to define journeys, identify pain points, and spur collaboration across functions. Such actions can produce additional benefits: an end-to-end redesign of the customer journey can not only transform the customer experience but also reduce operating costs in customer care.”
Providing your customers with the best CX means optimizing every customer interaction. Most organizations achieve this by adopting CX tools such as CRM software to collect customer data and use these insights to deepen the relationships. It allows customer-facing employees to streamline engagement and deliver the experiences that keep customers coming back.
To learn more about how to leverage technology to manage your customer relationships, click here.