Customer Service vs. Customer Experience

Customer service vs. customer experience; do you know the difference?

One of the best exercises for you to do is make a list of companies or businesses that you go back to over and over and over again, and ask yourself why.

First of all, on the left, list five companies you return to again and again.  Next, on the right write the reason for doing so.

For instance, on the left write, “I go to this restaurant at least once a week” and on the right write, “I go there because _____________.”

The thing that goes into the blank is generally one of these six reasons. They will give you a lot of clues for customer service in your own business.


#1: Fast

First, you may go back somewhere because it's fast. Fast food is an example. You may say, "I don't want to sit down. I just want to get my food and leave. That's all I want. I don't want anything. I just want a fast service." So you go back to a place because it's fast.

#2: Quality

Next, quality. Quality is better material, fabric, whatever. You may say, "The quality is better, and I'm willing to spend more money, but I go back for quality."

#3: Cheap

Third, a  reason you go back again and again could be because it's cheap. You may say, "Hey, I go to Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart has everyday low prices. It's the cheapest place, that's where I want to go to." No problem. That's their play.

#4: Luxury

Next, you may go back somewhere again and again because of luxury. You may say, "I've been buying Mercedes all my life because it's a luxury. Or, I like to go to this restaurant because it's luxury."

#5: User-Friendly

Fifth, because something is user-friendly. "I go back to this place, it's so easy. This website is one I go back to because it's so easy to use. I like to use this app because it's so easy to use."

#6: Customer Service

Lastly, customer service. Now most of the time businesses say, "we have the cheapest, we have the fastest, we have the best, we have the most luxury, we have the most incredible quality, our _________ is user friendly, it's so easy." Or they may say they have the best customer service.

Now, customer service is generally boring. And entrepreneurs don't necessarily pay much attention to customer service because it's boring.

I predict that this episode isn't going to get that many views. You'll see it. Because this is not an exciting topic. But this is a very, very important topic.

Why People Buy BMW

People buy BMW. Do you know why? Because of their service. You simply drop off a BMW, take another one, and you go back. So BMW has a reputation of having incredible service. Range Rover may be known for luxury, but it doesn't have the best service.

Why People Buy a Ford Focus

Some people buy a car because it's cheap. They say, "Hey, I'm going to buy a Ford Focus, because it's cheap."

Why People Buy Tesla

Tesla is user friendly. It's easy. Right?

Why People Shop at Nordstrom, Amazon, and Zappos

People go to Nordstrom because of their great customer service.

There's a popular story online about an old lady that went to Nordstrom and said, "I bought this tire from here." The cashier said, "We don't sell tires." The lady said, "No, I bought it here, and I want to return it." When asked for a receipt, she didn't have one.

Do you know what Nordstrom did? They took the tire! They asked the lady what it cost, and gave her the money, because customer service is very important to them.

Amazon and Apple are also examples companies with great customer service.

Another company known for customer service is Zappos. We got a private tour of Zappos headquarters. They'll stay on the phone with you and talk to you. They literally will talk to you, ask how things are, and maybe even order a pizza for you. Their attitude is "Hey, let me do this for you." People always talk about Zappos customer service.

Southwest Airlines

When you fly Southwest Airlines, their attendants tell jokes. Instead of the boring safety instructions, they will say something like, "Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and if you have kids, choose which one you like more." It's funny, but that's customer service because people connect with it.

Now there are some places you buy something from that have a no return policy. They don't care if they end up with one-star reviews because their policy is a no return policy. Mattress companies sometimes do that, because you've already laid on the mattress.

Giving good customer service is a very, very, very valuable way for you to build your business.

The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience

So now the question becomes, the difference between customer service and customer experience. Aren't they the same thing?

Absolutely not.

Why? Let me explain. And I'll simplify it for you and it will stay in your mind.

Reactive vs. Proactive

Think about customer service as reactive. And think about customer experience as proactive.

Here's an example of customer service. "Thank you for calling AT&T. How may I help you? Yes, great. Are there any other issues that you have? Have I fulfilled the service request you had today? Okay, great. Please take this survey we have going on." It's reactive.

Customer service could be when a client is upset, you handle it, you react, you solve. With customer service you say things like:

  • Thank you
  • Please
  • May I please put you on hold?
  • Thank you for understanding.
  • I totally understand where you're coming from. I totally feel your pain. I'm sorry.

It's apologetic.

It's customer service, because it's reactive to something, right?

And by the way, customer service is very important.

Customer Experience

Now few are very good at customer experience. Let me explain what I mean by customer experience. Whatever business you run, if you have more than 100 customers, you'll generally have some VIP customers. This is not about discrimination.

American Express Black Card, American Airlines Executive Platinum or Executive Gold Member, Sephora's Beauty Insider, and Amazon Prime are all examples of VIP customer members.

Sephora is a great example of customer experience. Ladies who are part of their Beauty Insider get samples sent to them before everybody else.

A goal is to move as many people as possible from customer service to VIP, which happens through customer experience.

Customer Experience is Proactive

Customer experience is proactive. It's all about details. So when I call American Express Black Card, or if I call Visa Black Card and they'll tell me, "Hey, we just want to remind you, your anniversary is coming up. Your wife's birthday is coming up. Any plans? We see that last time you went to Bacara Hotel. Do you want to do the same thing? Do you want me to look for something? How about you give me this afternoon and let me look for something and get back to you?" Then they send me an email to find a good time to get on the phone, to they tell me what they found.

When you go into the Apple store, they talk to you like you're a regular human being. They have a script they have to follow, but it's just talking to you. Zappos is the same way. They listen to you, and may even ask about your day.

"Regular" Customer Service People Don't Say This

You don't hear too many "regular" customer service people saying, "So tell me about your day." Think about when you call a company like Chase for customer service. They will say things like:

  • Okay, great, let me place you on hold.
  • Let me see what I can do.
  • Do you have a case number for this? Okay, thank you.
  • Okay, have a great day. Bye bye.


With customer experience, I'm asked how my day is going, or they may say something like, "By the way, thank you for your loyalty. I can see you've been with us for ten years. We appreciate your loyalty."

Hey! Somebody appreciates my loyalty. I'm a loyal human being. We're proud to put, "I've been an American Express cardholder since 1998" because we like it when people recognize our loyalty.

The more you can take people from customer service to customer experience, the better off you'll be with your business.

The Dating Game

So when it comes down to the dating game, think about it like this. There are a lot of people that just want to go out and be promiscuous.

In business if you treat your customers like that your reputation spreads. And it's not always the best reputation to not treat people properly. So then there is just a one-night stand philosophy. Then there's  dating philosophy. And there's marriage philosophy.

Your VIPs are marriage. Your VIPs are people that go from dating to marriage. They try your product, they like it, and they think, "Wow, they treat me so well, I want to marry these guys. I want to go there regularly. And then I want to tell other people."

They become your best recruiters. They recruit for you, for free. You don't have to spend a million dollars on a T.V. ad when your VIP customers spread the word for free.

There's nothing different that Zappos does except that they create incredible customer service. They don't even make shoes. It's purely service for them. They make it easy to return products if you bought them and don't like them. And you don't even have to pay for the return shipping. They're not playing the cheap game. They're playing the service game with you.

The more you treat people properly, the more they will tell everybody, and your business gets stronger. If you have a wam bam type of mentality, your business won't grow, because you're not paying attention to customers.

My Challenge To You

Let's go back, again to the initial exercise I mentioned at the beginning.

Make a list of the five businesses that you go to regularly and ask yourself why you go back. You'll be amazed by how all of them are generally for one of the six reasons listed above. Now you may word it different. You may say, "I go for convenience. It's very close." That's part of fast.

Then, for your own business, ask yourself, "What can I do to take my customer service to a whole different level, to add customer experience to my business and to give birth to more VIP customers?" That in itself is going to make you a ton of money, depending on how big you want to build it. It will do you very well growth wise. People will want to do business with you over and over again, and your business will grow via word of mouth.

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