The Real Cost of Customer Experience

“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”  Wise words from Walt Disney, the genius behind the happiest place on Earth.

Those wise words are more important now because it’s not enough for businesses to offer good value or just high-quality goods; they must do more than that.

Customers in this digital age; want to see, experience, and obtain more. Today, customers are more active, more involved, and more demanding. To be on top of the competition, businesses need to consistently provide exceptional Customer Experience to their customers and not just good Customer Service.

So now the question becomes, what is the difference between Customer Service and Customer Experience? Is there really? Isn’t it the same thing? Let me explain. 

Customer Service and Customer Experience 
are two of the most important things in business. Companies are spending more money and time than ever to be customer-focused. While the two terms are often used together, they are not the same and can’t be used interchangeably. 

Customer Service
 or “CS” is the help and guidance that a company provides to customers who have purchased or are thinking about purchasing its goods or services. Customer service representatives help customers use products, repair them, troubleshoot problems, and process requests.

Customers can contact customer service via self-service, mobile messaging, live chat, email, social media, and voice. 

When I was with a network provider company, this was what I did everyday. 

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

What does this mean? 

For customer service: 

Thank you for calling XYZ, how may I help you? 

Yes. Great. Are there any other concerns I can help you with today? 

Have I fulfilled the service request that you asked for here today? 

Okay, please take this short survey after this call. I’d appreciate your feedback or suggestions.

Or when a customer is upset, an irate customer screams at you sometimes spits expletives because they are utterly frustrated and dissatisfied with the product or service: 

I understand where you’re coming from. 

I feel your pain. 

I am very sorry for the inconvenience. 

Customer Experience
 or “CX” involves the full customer journey, from d iscovering and researching a product to purchasing and using the product, as well as following up with the brand after the purchase. Customer experience assesses how customers feel about a brand as a whole, including the emotional and psychological connection they have with it. Experience is what a business gives to a customer that makes them want to come back for more business and build loyalty.

When my daughter was still in middle school, we ate at this casual dining restaurant almost every day. For more than five years, we ate there at least five times a week, not because it was cheap or because the food was exceptional. Not at all. But it was because we were made to feel important every time we walked in.

Everyone, from the restaurant owner to the dishwasher, would take a moment to greet us. The dining supervisor would approach us, help me with my bags, inquire where we had been, direct us to our favorite spot near the air conditioner, and then one of the waiters would arrive to serve us ice-cold water. One time, on my birthday, all the dining and kitchen staff sang me a ‘happy birthday’ song even if it was not part of their service. All of that “VIP treatment” was given to me without my having to ask for it. 

Those little details are not just proactive but added personal touch. I never asked for any of those, it was given to me freely. Customer Experience is about those seemingly small but extra attention details.

Below are some of the top differences between Customer Service and Customer Experience:


I stayed because I liked the customer experience. And because I had a good time, I became a loyal customer.  I started referring them to my friends for functions, which means more revenue for the restaurant.

After being a loyal customer for a decade, I had a bad experience with one of the front desk staff; it was so bad that I felt uncomfortable and began to visit less frequently until I came to a complete halt.

Does the fact that I had a bad customer experience imply that they also have bad customer service? Of course not! They are always on time, friendly, and ready to serve. But is good customer service enough to keep a customer? No.

So, what exactly am I trying to say here? Good customer service is not enough to retain a customer. It is the customer experience that is salient. It was the whole experience that drew me back again and again. As Walt Disney said, that restaurant did it so well that I came back to see them do it again, and I brought others to show how well they do what they do. But it was also a bad customer experience that made me stop being a loyal customer and decide to spend my money somewhere else. I guess I am part of that 32% of customers who would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. 

Consider your own experience. You are more likely to return to a store, buy a product, or do business with a supplier if you had a positive customer experience. You’re also more inclined to recommend that company or brand to your friends. So that company makes more money. The opposite is true if the experience is bad, 89% of customers said they have changed to a different brand because of a poor customer experience.

For the record, I am a very loyal person. Loyal to my friends, loyal to my relationships, loyal to my principles, and loyal to my brands. However, when it comes to spending, I, like most customers, am a “walker”, if I have a bad experience, I walk away never to return, and most of the time without saying anything.

As a conclusion, I will leave you with this quote from Valeria Maltoni

“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” 

Contributing Author:

Ynna Floresta, is a Social Media Manager, First Line Copywriter, and Canva Creative Designer at Socially YnnaVAtive, a virtual assistance firm that assists with “time-consuming and technical stuff” like web research, social media management, lead generation, copywriting, and content creation. Her primary focus is on assisting life and faith-based coaches, SMEs, and solopreneurs with tasks that they do not have enough time to complete.

She considers herself an accidental writer.

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