These four concepts can be hard to define and hard to distinguish them from one another, and are often used without being clearly understood. While Customer Satisfaction, Customer Experience, Customer Service and Customer Journey are undeniably different, they are all part of an overall strategy. In this article, we shed some light on each of these concepts and explain how they need to be intertwined for optimal results.
Customer Satisfaction can be defined as “the degree of satisfaction provided by the goods or services of a company as measured by the number of repeat customers” (Business Dictionary).
But let’s be honest, the fact that customers are happy is not what will make your business grow. What really matters is that customers either recommend your services/products to others or come back. The first step to achieving this is to know how satisfied your customers are about your products and services. The second is to identify which of these happy customers will recommend your services/products and will come back for more.
To achieve the first objective, you can simply build a NPS (net promoter score) survey which will tell you who your brand ambassadors are.
To achieve the second objective, you need to combine this data with your sales revenues. How? Well, this is where a CRM solution comes in very handy. Not only does it help collect NPS data about each customer, it also cross references Customer Satisfaction data with sales data. In that way you can assess the extent to which your brand ambassadors (or promoters) contribute to your business growth and, as a consequence, what needs to be done to turn your detractors and passive customers into promoters of your brand.
Customer Service refers to “the advice and assistance given by the company to customers before, during and after buying or using its products / services” (Customer Experience (CX) vs Customer Service: What They Are and Why They Matter).
Too often, Customer Service is viewed as a necessary evil when, in fact, it is quite the opposite! Customer Service is a means of increasing Customer Satisfaction and creating new sales opportunities. We don’t need to explain how solving your customers’ complaints can positively impact their satisfaction. How, then, can we turn these complaints into further sales?
To achieve this, first you need to facilitate communication between your support/customer service and sales teams (here too, your CRM solution will be very handy). Whenever a customer complains, make sure your sales representatives are notified and kept up to date, then let the magic happen. Still not sure? Here is a concrete example.
One of our own clients operating in the retail industry wanted to sell an extra insurance policy along with goods that were purchased. The first reaction of the sales department was to say that customers had no desire or need for this extra cost. In response to this, the client configured its Efficy CRM system so that it would notify the sales department each time a customer contacted the customer service department regarding a defect. Of course, this was the perfect moment for the Sales Department to contact these customers and offer the insurance policy. As a result, insured customers were more satisfied as they never encountered any additional hidden issues, and the company’s sales of insurance policies grew rapidly.
Customer experience is the sum of emotions felt by customers generated both at a specific point in time and cumulatively through their interactions with the employees, channels, services or products of a provider (Customer Experience Isn’t Customer Service)
What this definition does not mention, and should be added as a key ingredient to Customer Experience, is the impact the sense of belonging to a community exerts on customers’ feeling about your brand. Yes, customer experience, or feeling, is influenced by what other customers or users think about your brand. The world of fashion, for example, is expert at exploiting this sense of belonging. Fashion trends are what persuaded people to wear cloche hats in the 1920s or flared trousers in the 1970s. You can easily understand, then, why it is crucial to increase your brand credibility so as to develop a sense of trust among your customers.
There is no point, however, bragging about your products or services if you are not able to follow through on your promises. Customer Experience can be delivered only if your products and services meet your customers’ expectations. As you can now appreciate, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Service are all part and parcel of an entire journey that needs to be flawless, from beginning to end, from the moment your prospect is detected until he/she becomes a loyal customer.
Customers do not base their experience and satisfaction on individual interactions but rather on the sum of all those individual interactions. The Customer Journey encompasses all customer interactions with the company and its products. The Customer Journey is, therefore, the connecting thread running through Customer experience, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Service.
You might think this is very theoretical, but take horror movies as an example. If you pay attention to the minutes leading up to the horror scene, you will easily notice the change in the background music, the livid faces of the actors, the suddenly darkening room and worrying noises behind the doors. All of these elements contribute to the whole journey and cannot be taken individually. As Alfred Hitchcock said “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it”.
In conclusion, the Customer Journey needs top-management to get all departments on board and build a multi-touch customer journey strategy through consistent Customer Satisfaction, Customer Services and Customer Experience actions.