When you are in the business of evaluating customer services levels for your clients, you tend to notice the details. Walk into an ice cream store with your kids or grandkids and you are automatically in tune with the “vibe” of the store. Is there music playing? How easy/hard is it to figure out the menu options? Were you greeted when you walked in the door? How clean was the store? Were you thanked for business? All of these things play either a subconscious or conscious role in your experience.
I remember when an ice cream store chain stopped their mystery shopping service in lieu of social media reviews. Big mistake for a variety of reasons, but the lure of getting “free” customer reviews was enough for them to give it a try. They are not alone. There is actually a term for this. The “Review Economy”has created a dent in customer research. In fact many companies use it in lieu of customer satisfaction surveys.
A year later, I went in to one of the locations as a customer with my family. I witnessed a noticeable difference right away. I was never greeted. I placed my order after waiting in line and there was no upsell or cross sell at the register. Not a huge issue for an ice cream shop, right? When we found a place to sit however, I noticed how the floor beneath the table was very dirty and dusty. The table itself needed to be cleaned better from the previous guest. All things that as a major ice cream brand, it is hard to recover from. I will never go back to the store again after that visit. I will not share my findings in social media. I am the silent, unhappy customer.
Customer Service & Customer Experience: What’s the difference?
Customer service and customer experience are related but distinct concepts. Customer service refers to the support and assistance provided by a company to its customers before, during, and after a purchase. It includes the various ways in which a company interacts with its customers, such as answering questions, providing technical support, handling complaints, and resolving issues.
Customer experience, on the other hand, encompasses the entire customer journey, including all of the interactions and touchpoints a customer has with a company, from initial awareness and consideration, to purchase and post-purchase. It’s about creating a positive and seamless experience for customers across all channels and touchpoints, and ensuring that they feel valued, understood, and appreciated.
Customer Service is Part of the Customer Experience
While customer service is a critical component of the overall customer experience, it’s just one part of it. A company that provides excellent customer service can still fall short in terms of creating a positive and memorable customer experience. To truly excel in customer experience, companies need to focus on creating a customer-centric culture, understanding and anticipating customer needs, and delivering consistent and personalized experiences across all channels and touchpoints.
Forbes recently published a great article titled, “No Help is Better than Bad Help: Focusing on the Customer Experience.” They offered some great practical tips on how to provide a better customer experience. The one tip that stood out to me was to understand your customers.
Understand Your Customers
“Having a thorough understanding of the type of customers who walk through your door also aids in creating a positive customer experience. Know them, and figure out how to tailor their experiences to their needs. Being in tune with the customer goes a long way in creating an experience worth remembering.”
This for me sums up in part why a business still needs mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys. You can’t get this type of understanding from a social media review unless you can unmask the author behind the post. I am in favor of online reviews, but you need all of it to really understand how to develop, train and execute a good customer experience process.