The Differences Between Customer Service, Customer Care and Customer Experience

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

differences between customer service, customer care and customer experience

There’s a saying in Latin: omne trium perfectum, which translates to “everything that comes in threes is perfect.” The rule of three states that words, people or things grouped this way are more satisfying and effective than other numbers.

Interestingly enough, this association makes your brain process and remember things easier. Examples of this can be found in various fields, from the Holy Trinity to the Three Musketeers, and from Destiny’s Child to the world of support.

Customer service, customer experience and customer care: You’ve probably seen these concepts on your favorite customer service blog and elsewhere on the World Wide Web. Although they sound similar and serve the same goal (pleasing your customer), they’re pretty different. It may just seem like semantics, but what makes each one different yet still related to one another?

The definitions vary in the way they approach customer care and the entire journey a consumer embarks on with your brand. Below, we’ve elaborated on each term along with powerful tools you can use for your business.

Customer service

Definition: Customer service is the act of providing support to your customers - before and after they buy and use your product or service.

The purpose of customer service (also called customer support) is to respond to any incoming client questions. This includes any need for clarifying or troubleshooting an issue, cool tips as well as additional advice to use your product or service to the fullest. It requires your trained support team to understand and grasp interpersonal skills, product knowledge and, most of all, patience. With the right help desk software, you’ll be able to track all interactions you receive in an organized way.

What is often less obvious is that this has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. This element is imperative for business growth. For instance, if you have frustrated clients, it means you’ll have less existing and potential ones coming back.

While making your customers happy is a difficult hurdle on its own, there are various tools to monitor and optimize for improvement. With the popularity of messenger apps, live chat software is a must in order to engage with customers in real-time. Other tools include monitoring your customer service key performance indicators (KPIs). In fact, metrics such as first contact resolution (FCR) are directly linked to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The reactive and proactive approach

Even today, businesses wait for customers to contact them about an issue before they decide to resolve it. It’s like using duct tape to hold your car door mirror until the point it falls off and you can no longer drive. To avoid reaching this point, customer service uses a simple flow to follow through.

Let’s call this flow the reactive and proactive approach. It’s important to point out that the order of both terms cannot be changed - like a Q&A session.

When a client has an issue with your product and reaches out to your support team, this is the reactive phase. To illustrate, a customer submits a ticket and is told: “One of our representatives will look into the problem and will contact you ASAP.” While this indicates the message was received, it may take a support team days to solve an issue and as a consequence, decrease a main key performance indicator of first-contact resolution.

This is where the proactive approach segues in. This involves directly assisting and guiding customers to resolve the issue. The more additional knowledge you provide your client, the better. For example, if you’re in the flower business, you may tell the customer some key plant-caring tips, such as: “Make sure to water your orchids once a week to avoid the soil from drying out.” Selling a product is one thing, but anticipating customer needs is a powerful tool to harness.

Customer care

Definition: Customer care is the process of looking after clients through interactions to ensure their overall satisfaction with your product or service.