Service is a process and experience is an experience.

By: Marta Lucia Restrepo Torres -Associate Professor of the CESA.

The debate is opening up in companies: What is the difference between service and experience? The meeting point of both concepts is related to their impact on the customer and the strengthening of the brand. But, from a strategic point of view, they are different because while:

  • Service is associated with product delivery processes, the experience impacts the customer experience.
  • The service is concluded with customer satisfaction linked to commercial agreements, the experience ends in the customer's recommendation.
  • Service is consolidated in the corporate culture, experience in the customer's culture.
  • The service is defined in a model, the experience depends on the customer's point of contact with the company.
  • The service impacts the short term, the experience is memorable for the customer.
  • Service is refined through complaints and grievances, the experience is modeled on the perceptions and emotions of the individual.

Service is part of the business as a matter of principle and is controlled by standards. This is not so in the case of experience. The latter is based on a dynamic of innovation based on knowledge of the tastes, habits and preferences of the different micro-segments of customers, since what is important for some is not for others. The experience is based on the "voice of the customer" that invites to be relevant in the customer's life. It is acquired through the company's actions in scenarios such as points of sale, the website, social networks, personal contacts, distribution channels, product handling, direct marketing, communication and referencing. The experience is linked to the way the customer is accustomed to handling the product in a context. For example, the same place such as a VIP lounge, perfectly defined in its service protocol, may mean a different experience for an executive customer or a woman with small children. In the end, truth is built to the extent that customers experience it in their daily lives, that is, to the extent that they get to know a brand, after experiencing those things that are interesting to the individual. Hence, many times organizations wonder how is it possible that our customers feel dissatisfied after the process has been redesigned and updated? I would ask the question from the other perspective: What are the vital points that make a brand memorable in the customer's mind?