Nobody can argue against the importance of customer service. But what about customer experience? Is it the same or is it different?

Customer service is what we give to customer while customer experience is what the customer receives and shapes his/her perception about us.

Customer service is definite but customer experience relates to perceptions. As such it mingles the present with the past, it is not a once off action of excellence and it is more elusive and more difficult to achieve. We can influence but not control a customer’s experience.

Customer experience is how a customer feels about your company after he/she leaves your premises following a visit to you. Such customer feelings are formed by rational factors as well as impressions that play outside the sphere of rationality. This description however has limitations as in reality customer perceptions about you, are formed in many places and circumstances and are not confined to one place or one case alone.

So a more general description would be, how a customer feels about you and your company without reference to place or time.

This 2nd description comes from the recognition that the customer feelings about you are not only the result of his/her most recent visit but the result of a series of interactions present and past, with your brand including interactions relating to advertisements, news in the press and other media social or otherwise and quite significantly in some cases, rumors.

This definition demonstrates the difficulty. We cannot configure customer experience to win customers by one single act/campaign or by tuning up only our present actions. We have to have a successful past besides our efforts for the present and make sure that our history in congruence tells the same story.

Panikos Sardos