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What’s the Difference Between Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Service?

Customer service professionals

Terms like Customer Experience (CX) and customer service are often used interchangeably. However, there are key differences. Here we’ll explore what sets CX apart from customer service.

Defining Customer Experience (CX)

Customer Experience (CX) is a broad term that encompasses every interaction a customer has with a brand throughout their entire customer lifecycle. CX is the sum of all contact points, from browsing the website to purchasing a product and beyond. It’s a holistic approach that involves understanding a customer’s complete journey with a brand and encompasses the strategy to make that entire experience as positive as possible.

Understanding Customer Service

Customer service, by contrast, is more transactional and reactive. It’s the support a company offers when a customer reaches out with a problem or question. Customer service is a critical component of the broader CX but is limited to specific touchpoints where assistance is rendered. It can include the support offered through chat, email, or over the phone—the traditional spheres in which customer support professionals operate.

Key Differences Between CX and Customer Service


  • CX is the cumulative impact of every touchpoint with a customer over time.
  • Customer Service is the assistance and advice provided to customers for immediate issues.


  • CX is proactive, with organizations taking steps to create and enhance the customer’s experience overall.
  • Customer Service is typically reactive, where support is provided in response to customer inquiries.


  • CX metrics could include Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) over time.
  • Customer Service effectiveness is often measured by how quickly and efficiently a particular issue is resolved and short-term customer satisfaction.


  • CX aims to build long-term relationships and foster loyalty by ensuring seamless, enjoyable interactions at every point.
  • Customer Service focuses on resolving specific problems to ensure customer satisfaction at particular moments.

Why Both Matter

Both CX and customer service are integral to a company’s success. Poor customer service can spoil an otherwise positive customer experience. Meanwhile, exceptional customer service can significantly enhance the overall CX. Brands seeking lasting success invest in both to ensure that they not only solve problems efficiently but also create a consistent, engaging, and memorable experience that fosters loyalty.

What has been your experience with balancing customer service and the broader CX? Share your insights below. I would love to hear from those on the front lines about strategies that work, common challenges, and how you’re making a difference in the customer’s entire brand experience.