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Many people are confused about the difference between customer service and a customer experience. Are you one of them? If so, we’re here to help. Let’s dive into it and dissect the difference between the two. First, let me back up and tell you why I’m writing about the difference; it’s because I’ve heard agents use both terms interchangeably at several insurance industry events. I personally feel the two are very different and I think it’s critical to understand the differences.

Customer Service – A client/customer’s interaction with your office.

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Customer Experience – The reason they are calling your office how they felt about the service they received.

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Customer Service – How quickly your client’s issue was resolved.

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Customer Experience – Why and how the issue came to be, and how frequently have they had these issues?

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Customer Service – Your client has the option of paying their insurance bill online or off your agency app.

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Customer Experience – How easy was it to pay your insurance bill?

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So with all this being said, you really have to look at and understand the customer experience in your industry, because it does differ per industry. So let’s look at a few examples:

First, let’s look at a family restaurant:

The Customer Service – How friendly was the waitress and how fast did she bring out your meal?

The Customer Experience – How clean was the restaurant? How did your meal taste, and was the quality up to your standards? Did the restaurant give you the options you were expecting? Was the atmosphere pleasant?

As you can see there is major difference between the two.

Lets look at another example, for instance shopping at a pharmacy:

Customer Service – How well did the staff answer your questions.

Customer Experience – How easy was it to move in and around the store? How easy was it to find what you were looking for? Was there options and choices? How clean was the store? Was the staff friendly and quick to help you get through the check-out line?

I have one more example for you; let’s review an independent insurance agency selling home, auto, or business insurance:

Customer Service – The insured had an issue, so how fast was that issued fixed for them?

Customer Experience – Why did the insured have the issue in the first place? Have they had other issues, and if so how many and how long ago? How can you make the situation right for the customer? You want to show them that your agency truly cares about your customers.

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Clearly you can see, customer service is just one aspect of the overall customer experience. Customer care managers are popping up in many industries striving to go above and beyond customer service. These customer care managers can help your business benefit immensely from understanding the entire customer journey from the very start. This deeper understanding of customer needs, wants, and feelings can produce quantifiable business results. Every business needs to see their shop through the eyes of the customer, and I personally feel my businesses have benefited a great deal from understanding the process and implementing an onboarding process for every new client, along with a different, but very beneficial, ongoing process for clients who renew with our agency.