“One customer well taken care of could be worth more than $10,000 worth of advertising.” ~ Jim Rohn

The term “customer service” has been around a long time, but in the past 3-5 years, the terms customer success and customer experience (or journey) have crept into the business vernacular. Are they the same or is there a difference between the three terms?

Customer Success

Customer Success is a proactive approach that addresses the continuing use of a product, service or business, so that the customer is a lifetime client.  Customer success has no end date; it is 24/7/365. There is frequent contact between parties. For instance, a customer buys a software program for their computer. As a company, every time there is a new update, you want that customer to purchase the newest version. Customer success means knowing the needs of the customer, and that they are so satisfied with the product, they are lifetime buyers who would automatically make that purchase. It is about building long-term relationships with your customers, so they see the value of your product and service.

Customer Service

Customer Service is what happens when a customer has a question or problem with that product or service. It is more reactive than proactive. How rapidly does the company respond to make it right? It seeks to solve individual service or product issues and well as product guidance. It is important to remember that customer service is not a department, it is a company-wide attitude. Every employee needs to be involved in customer service, from the C-suite on down. This might be a billable service for more high-end support.

Customer Experience

Customer Experience is the entire journey a consumer follows when they first start thinking about doing business with you. How easy is your website to navigate? How long does it take to find the information they are looking for? If there are questions, how easy is it to get answers? What are the reviews of your company online? What is your delivery time? Do your customers feel valued and appreciated for their business?

There will always be some cross over between the three areas, but forward thinking companies are separating the roles to concentrate on individual aspects and needs of the customer. If the customer service department gets repeated calls that there is a problem with a product, they may discuss the situation with the customer success team to update or fix the problem for future customers.  The customer success team may then communicate the update with existing customers so they are aware of the fix.

Consumers have more choices than ever before at the click of a mouse. To ensure repeat business and customer loyalty, business need to make sure they meet and exceed the expectations of the customer. The three areas listed above are a great place to start.

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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