Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Customer Service and CX Lessons from Three Iconic Brands

I’ve talked and written about the differences between customer service and the customer experience, also known as CX. Customer service is typically what transpires between people throughout the buying process or when there is a problem. That’s part of the customer experience, but there is much more to CX than service. It’s the entire journey, from the moment a customer thinks about doing business to any and every interaction point, whether it’s in person, on a digital channel, or with the product. Here are a few examples from companies you know and have likely done business with, thereby experiencing both their customer service and experience.

  1. Amazon: Undoubtedly one of the easiest companies to do business with, this company delivers a CX that creates confidence at every level. They have transparency in pricing by actually informing you of other retailers that have lower prices. They give you confirmation of your order, tracking information, and much more. When you need support, there are good self-service options. Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, has a relentless focus on creating customer convenience.
  2. Apple: They are masters at engaging their customers at almost every level. Some of their customers are so enthusiastic about the Apple experience that they are referred to as evangelists. People love their Apple products. They have good customer service. Their Genius Bar is… genius. I want to include them in this list not only because of their service. It’s their focus on the entire experience that sets them apart. Just opening the box of an Apple product is an incredible customer experience.
  3. Ace Hardware: I love this company so much I featured them throughout an entire book. This is one of America’s most iconic brands. In recent years they’ve gone head to head with big box stores. They come into town and build a store just down the street, and sometimes directly next door. The big boxes have a greater selection, have lower prices, often spend 30 times plus in advertising dollars, and more. How does Ace Hardware compete? Two ways. First, they deliver amazing service. More than the typical friendly service that’s expected, they provide helpful service. That’s actually their brand promise: “The Helpful Hardware Place.” Then, they add an experience that includes a smaller store that’s easier to navigate inside and rock-star parking with much smaller lots where everyone gets a good space. Plus, there are knowledgeable employees who don’t just answer questions about what the customer is buying, but who can advise about an entire project. Their customer service and experience has helped them survive and thrive in the David versus Goliath competition created by the big-box stores.

So you see, customer service and customer experience are related concepts, but they are not the same. It’s the classic “a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square” scenario; customer service is part of the customer experience, but the latter encompasses so much more. And you need both to succeed. Your product can be the best product in the world, and your customer service may be satisfactory or even good. But without the complete package, sooner or later you will be overshadowed by a company like the ones above whose entire CX is… Amazing.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

 

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