Guest blog post written by Shep Hyken

I often receive the question, “What’s the difference between customer service and customer experience?”

The simple answer to that question used to be that customer service formed the basis of the customer experience. A customer’s main interaction with a business was a person-to-person exchange, either by visiting a store or business, or by speaking to an employee of the company on the phone to place an order, voice a complaint, ask a question, etc. The company representative had the opportunity to deliver great customer service, thus providing a great customer experience.

But, like most everything in today’s marketplace, customer experience has changed – it is much more than person-to-person service. Thanks to technology, companies can now connect with their customers in exciting new ways.

It means you can do things like:

  • Provide personalized messages to help customers through the onboarding process
  • Offer customized prompts when people complete certain actions
  • Display personalized thank you messages

Companies can also use technology to make customer service fun through “gamification,” or creating fun game-like experiences for customers.

Games for Engagement

One of the interactive games on the Home Shopping Network’s website is a daily jigsaw puzzle. When customers solve the puzzle, it reveals to them a special deal or promotion.

This type of game works because it focuses the customer on the HSN’s primary goal – driving shoppers to purchase. The gamification of typically mundane tasks will help focus your customers and give them a reason to keep playing.

Another great example is GrubHub’s Yummy Rummy game. Once you place three unique orders (no matter the size) you get to play Yummy Rummy to win free stuff.

Give For More Excitement

An amazing app by Coca-Cola allows you to buy a Coke for someone on the other side of the world. And, the Coke machine dispensing the free gift has a video camera, so the giver can see the expression of the lucky recipient when he or she finds out the drink is free. How fun is that? Amazing!

Most people can’t help but feel great after giving a Coke to someone else because that’s how our brains are wired. Scientists believe that altruistic behavior, like giving something to someone else, triggers a release of endorphins which causes something known as the “helper’s high.”

Interaction for Increased Participation

TV shows are connecting with viewers as well. Many allow viewers the opportunity to interact during the show via smartphone, computer, iPad, etc. Some shows include a “feed” along the bottom or side of the screen featuring comments from Twitter and Facebook.

Some of these innovations would seem to move part of the responsibility for the customer experience from the customer service department to the marketing department. Where does that leave customer service?

None of this takes away from the need to continue providing excellent customer service.

True, some of the focus of the customer experience has shifted, and technology has expanded the avenues for building customer relationships. However, despite its cool factor and the fun that technology offers, when there is a question or problem, it cannot replace outstanding personal service.

Customer service remains a vital part of any company’s success, and that personal touch will always be needed.

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business go to

Read more:

Creating Your Best Customer Experience with Evergage [Demo]

3 Simple Steps for Reducing Customer Churn

Intro to the 5 Main Personalized Messages and Experiences