Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Customer Experience is More Than Just Customer Service

I was recently engaged in a job search in the VOC and CX space. Among other tools, I used Google Alerts and Simply Hired saved searches (which emailed me new postings every morning) with keywords to target my search results. One of the observations I made throughout this search was the very misleading job titles that are being used to describe certain positions. I saw postings for jobs with titles such as Director of Customer Experience or Vice President of Customer Experience, which to me would have been golden. Except... these titles were being used to describe positions that oversaw customer service or technical support departments. When did "Vice President of Customer Service" go out of style? Because one of my search keywords/phrases was "Customer Experience," I also happened to spot other Customer Experience titles, like Customer Experience Associate. Companies were using that title to refer to their store associates or sales clerks. That's not really appropriate, either.

I read something yesterday that reminded me of this phenomenon, and it compelled me to tweet about it (see below) and to write about why companies are using these titles now... and incorrectly, at that.


I didn't get any takers on my tweet, but I do believe that using titles like these, in the manner they are being used (as described above), really devalues or discounts the larger, more-encompassing role of a true Vice President of Customer Experience or other roles that are truly about the customer experience (and all that those roles entail). It leads to confusion and lack of clarity.

Do companies/people not understand the difference between "customer service" and "customer experience?" Customer service is only one part of the entire customer experience. It needs to be executed well, yes, but it is just one piece of the pie.

Take a look at the Customer Experience Lifecycle to the left (click the image to enlarge), and if you get a moment, read my blog post on this topic. You can see that the experience starts long before the service event. Keep in mind, too, that not every customer experience even includes a service event.

There was a great post on the 1to1 Blog about two weeks ago that nicely summed up the differences, to which I remarked:  "Amen! Needed to be said!" And here I am, saying it again.

When I tweeted the article, Mark Gunn responded to it by saying:


Have you had to make this distinction to your co-workers, executives, or clients? How do we get organizations to think about these two concepts in a different way? What are your thoughts?

8 comments:

  1. Hey Anette, another great article! As you said, you can never talk about this distinction enough!

    Also... thanks for the mention. Blushing!

    M

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  2. Ooohh. This is the most frustrating thing ever for those of us in CX! This was part of the impetus for my most recent blog post. I'll echo Mark in that this distinction cannot be made often enough.

    As far as the job search reference, I've found the same thing. "Customer Experience" job titles are trendy, and so many companies just want to jump on the title bandwagon without actually knowing (or even caring) what it really means.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment, Brian! It is super-frustrating! Good way to put it... the CX titles are trendy but those who use them don't even know what CX means. :-(

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  3. I like the term "Customer Experience Center" people use as a call center description. To me it is a contradiction of terms as most of the times you have to connect with a call center, your customer experience already poor. People also seem to confuse high customer satisfaction scores with customer experience metrics, and than are surprised that csat does not correlate to loyalty at all.

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    1. Another great distinction, Gregory. Just because a customer is satisfied doesn't mean that he is/will be loyal.

      Annette :-)

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  4. Yes its really frustrating to see people confuse "customer service" (which in most cases plays it part when customer has had a bad experience) as being same as "customer experience".

    I feel "customer service" should be seen as an exception handling module of the overall customer experience.

    Cust Service = Process to handle a bad Customer Experience with an aim to reverse it.

    CX is SO much more! (Can't be emphasized enough)

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    1. Thanks for adding an "exclamation point" to a topic and a distinction that I continue to push every chance I get!

      Annette :-)

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