Customer Experience vs Customer Service
March 11, 2022 • 4 minute read

Customer experience versus customer service: what’s the difference?

There’s a lot of jargon thrown around in the contact center space. From customer experience and customer journey, to customer service and customer care, are they all talking about the same thing? Does it even matter what it’s called

Let’s take a step back. Looking at the big picture, we know that all these terms have something to do with the relationship between a business and their customers. This concept in itself, a customer relationship, is what strong brand loyalty is built upon.

And when it comes to specifics, understanding the differences between the terms can actually help make sure that the customer relationship remains strong. Let’s explore the terms. 

Customer service/customer support

These terms specifically refer to when a customer is reaching out to a brand for assistance. This could happen at any stage of the customer journey, but in particular refers to when there is a problem that needs to be solved. 

For example, if a customer is having trouble purchasing a product on your website or if they need to process a return, they may reach out to a customer service team to help them.,. Now, you may be rolling your eyes thinking of course I know what customer service is! But hold on, we’ll build on this.

Customer journey

A customer journey on the other hand refers to all the steps and touchpoints that a customer experiences along their relationship with a brand. It can be anything from researching a product or service to purchasing that product or service. Or, it could be post-sale when they are actually using the product or service to even repurchasing. The customer journey is not always linear and there can be many different paths that make up the customer journey.

Customer experience

Customer experience is similar to the customer journey in that it refers to the totality of the experiences that a customer has with a brand. However, the customer experience has a larger focus on emotions and perception that a customer has throughout the journey.

So whereas a customer journey may be the steps that a customer takes with a brand, the customer experience is both the steps and how the customer feels while taking those steps.

Why does it matter?

Customer service is sometimes used as a catch-all term to describe customer communication with a brand. However, customer service actually leaves out many important pieces of the process. As you can see based on the definitions, if a brand is only focused on improving the customer service but not the entire customer journey and experience, then they may be unintentionally ignoring a huge part of what is needed to build a strong customer relationship. 

How does technology fit in?

When a brand is looking to implement technology to improve the customer experience, like we mentioned before, many brands mistakenly only focus on customer service. If you only put in automation technology that supports the customer service function, there is a lot of the experience left behind. 

So while the customer service may operate efficiently, without a holistic approach, the entire customer experience may feel disjointed and unreliable. Not to mention, without integrated backend systems, the customer may have completely different experiences with different functions of the company. That creates an overall negative experience, despite the effort to improve customer service.

However, when a brand is able to focus across the entire customer experience, they will have the most beneficial technology implementation. 


To learn more about how technology can support the entire customer experience, see our eBook about implementing technology with a solutions-oriented approach..

Want to learn more? Let’s talk.