Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

Customer Service vs. Guest Experience: What’s the Difference?

Even though these terms are often used interchangeably, they contain key differences.

The terms “customer service” and “guest experience” are often misinterpreted and frequently used interchangeably. Yet as similar as these terms sound, they differ in meaning in key ways, according to hospitality and business management resource EHL Insights.

“Customer service (CS)” is a key component of the entire customer journey, while “guest experience (GX)” comprises all the interactions between your brand and a customer,” says EHL Insights.

Still not sure exactly how the two terms differ? It helps to start with the basics for a better understanding of the differences between the two.

What is customer service?

EHL describes customer service as “the act of taking care of the customer’s needs by providing and delivering professional, helpful, high-quality service and assistance before, during, and after a purchase of a product or a service and meeting the needs and desires of any customer.

“Customer service embraces the ‘human element’ within the buyer journey. This, in turn, allows such clients to evaluate your company’s overall value,” says EHL. “Simply stated, the quality of service support that a customer gets will fundamentally affect his perception of your brand as a whole.”

To make your customers feel valued and provide seamless service, EHL recommends:

  • Let customers know they’re appreciated
  • Call customers by their first name
  • Thank the customer
  • Listen to customer feedback
  • Make a good impression as a business

What is guest experience?

The guest experience is a combination of all the touchpoints that guests experience in their customer journey with your brand, according to EHL Insights. These touchpoints include:

  • Marketing materials (perceived before the customer becomes a buyer)
  • The sales experience
  • Post-service treatment
  • Product, including features, reliability, and ease of use
  • Overall Service throughout the customer journey

“Put simply, from the moment a person first visits your website or store to their first conversation with a customer service agent, and even how they feel post-purchase [are all] touchpoints which, combined, are intrinsic aspects of an overall guest experience,” says EHL.

“This ultimately means that the CX is not exclusively the direct interaction that a customer has with a brand but rather also how these customers feel throughout the buyer journey.”

How can my organization measure CS vs. CX?

EHL Insights recommends measuring service quality and overall customer satisfaction with the following tools:

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

“NPS is the standard indicator used by companies worldwide. It is used to measure a customer’s propensity to recommend a certain brand,” says EHL. The NPS score is also easily comparable to that of your direct competitors and the market leaders.

“Because NPS follows the journey from start to finish, it’s more adapted to measure the guest experience, being ideal to reflect the customer’s global feelings towards the brand at hand.”

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSS)

This score is a metric that analyzes a customer’s satisfaction with your company or brand. “Because the CSAT is measured after the interaction or product usage, it is more [useful for] measuring the quality of customer service,” says EHL.

Why Knowing the Difference Matters

“Knowing the difference between these two seemingly equal terms will empower you to improve how to serve your current and future customers,” says EHL Insights.

“Customer service and guest experience aren’t whole without the other. Both make up an essential part of your business’s success.”