Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
What is Customer Experience
Customer experience, also known as CX, is your customers' holistic perception of their experience with your business or brand. CX is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from navigating the website to talking to customer service and receiving the product/service they bought from you
What is the difference between Customer Service and Customer Experience?
They're not the same thing, but they are related. The difference between customer service and customer experience is that while customer service is one piece of the puzzle — focused on human interaction and directly supporting customers — customer experience is the sum of the entire customer journey with your business.
Delivering the customer experience in terms of customer service is all about making the service magic, welcoming people into your business like a long-lost friend, a virtual hug offering a warm greeting and a big genuine smile. This part of the service is often called ‘hospitality’.
Hospitality is defined as taking care of your guests and anticipating their needs and it is the relationship between the customer and the host, or the act or practises of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It's about winning hearts and minds.
Many say the missing link in customer service to make the customer experience amazing is the feeling you are left with; Maya Angelou says it best…
What do your customers feel when they experience your brand/business
How can I discover what my customer’s experience?
It is important to look at the whole customer journey for your business/brand to be able to deliver the customer experience. Use the Customer Journey to help you understand your customers' journey, the main touchpoints which give ‘moments of truth as well as any pain points which you could smooth out.
In customer experience management, moments of truth represent the points in a customer’s journey with a brand when a key event occurs and an opinion about that brand is formed.
The whole experience includes service and hospitality
Incorporating the habits of someone who delivers service with hospitality into your daily life will ensure you deliver an amazing customer experience every time.
It will also add value to your business/brand if it is delivered consistently across all areas of your business/brand.
How do I deliver Hospitality?
You only have one chance to make a positive impression, so get it right! It’s like dating, if you show up on a first date wearing a dirty, torn up shirt and stinky breath, chances are, you’re likely not to get a second.
Same goes for your business. If you make an amazing first impression, your customers are sure to come back! Your satisfied customers will often overlook small issues if you know how to properly welcome them.
These are my 4 “must-do’s” for making great impressions
- Friendly Welcome – “Good afternoon, Welcome to the (your business). Is this your first time visiting our city?”
- Sit up straight to stand up (if you are sitting) and be presentable (iron your shirt!)
- Make Eye Contact – Eye contact produces feelings of caring, trustworthiness and likability.
- Smile – Why look sad? When instead, you can smile. They say a smile is contagious and it’s actually true! When we smile, it creates a spark that triggers the brain’s pleasure centre.
“It takes the entire staff to make customers feel welcome and wanted. This goes beyond the front desk/greeting team – but to anyone they may encounter during their stay. Simple smiles and friendly greetings by each staff member they meet can go a long way towards making people feel welcome.”
Words are powerful tools. They are used in our daily lives to make or break any situation. The sentences that come out of our mouths make a huge impact on how others feel about us and our successes. Having a habit of using the right words to properly communicate to our customers is crucial - remember your diction and ensure its appropriate for your brand. “what about ye?” or “good morning” are both acceptable terms if used with the right customer in the right context.
Adopt the ‘hospitality mindset’
If it can be got/done, we can and will do it/get it for you (obviously many requests come with a cost)
Here are some Right versus Wrong hospitality words.
- "NO” vs Find a solution – No is not the answer
- “We can’t do that” vs “Please allow me to figure out a solution”
- “We’re sold out” vs “Tonight our restaurant is fully committed, may I offer to help you find nearby accommodations?”
- “Checking out/in?” vs “Good Morning/Afternoon, How may I assist you?”
- “I don’t know” vs “Please allow me to find out this for you”
- “I don’t work in that department” vs “I’m happy to help you find that right person to better answer your question”
- “It’s our policy” vs “Let me see how I can help you with this”
- “You can’t do that” vs “Here are some alternative suggestions for you to…”
- “No Problem” vs “It’s my pleasure”
- “It’s not my fault” vs “On behalf of ___ and our (brand), I sincerely apologise…"
Incorporating this habit into your daily life can be a game-changer for any business, especially those in hospitality and tourism.
Think of the last time you paid someone for a service. Ask yourself...
Did you get more than you expected?
Did you feel great because you got more than your money’s worth?
- How did you feel leaving that brand/business?
- Would you recommend them?
Go that extra mile…
Here are seven things you can do to offer hospitality that will enhance the customer experience (these can be tailored to your business offering)
- Anticipate their needs with questions.
- Give directions. Actually, print it out (Google maps)
- Offer vouchers and discounts to local attractions
- Make a welcome guide with local favourites, restaurant, banks, ATM, post office, stores and more.
- Free Prosecco, gift basket, anniversary cake, birthday card, more towels or room amenities – Make them feel extra special.
- Sweet Bar with guests’ name on it.
- Complimentary upgrade
Why You Shouldn’t Give Every Customer the Same Experience
- Companies live and die according to their customers’ experience.
- No size fits all.
- Customers take different paths to arrive at your door…
- And they arrive in different frames of mind.
- Customers want different things.
- Time is money – for everyone.
- Play to your team’s strengths.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
Doing the right thing!
We’ve all heard this term being tossed around. What does it actually mean?
In plain English, it means we need to understand, make decisions and take corrective actions for the overall good of your business. It’s the idea of “Doing the Right Thing”!
You know deep inside, what is right and what is wrong. You also know what you can do to make a customer feel better, improve their stay or simply, cheer up their day.
Don’t ask for permission for every little thing – and empower your teams to do the same.
“Be Empowered and Empower Others” – Rupesh Patel
- Successfully resolve a customer issue
- Take on a new initiative
- Ask for additional tasks on your own
- Share ideas on how to improve a process at your business/brand
- Suggest ways to save energy, payroll and other expenses
- Don’t be afraid to sometimes challenge the status quo
- Do something that will make a customer super happy
- Challenge yourself to do greater
- Adopt the ‘asking mindset’ - Toolkit #3: Adopting the asking mindset
To add value to your customers' experience, follow the FOUR golden rules - Toolkit 4: Add value to the customer experience
- Be helpful
- Make the customer feel special
- Listen and understand
- Deal with the uniqueness of the situation and add value
Read: Branded Customer Service by Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart