Is There a Difference between Customer Service and Client Experience?

These days we hear a lot about the “client experience” and how important it is to the success of a business.

In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, focusing on the client experience “has become the single most important way for an organization to achieve success—often becoming its key differentiator and competitive advantage.”

Some of you may reasonably be wondering if “client experience” is just another way of saying “customer service.” I don’t want to get too caught up on words—and I’m certainly guilty of using the two terms interchangeably on occasion—but I do think there’s a significant distinction worth thinking about.

To me, the distinction for us, as landscape pros, is: Customer service is what we’re contracted for. Whether we’re taking care of a lawn, or designing and building a landscape installation, or providing lighting systems, it’s our services our customers are paying us for. And we’ve got to get those exceedingly right.

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But the client experience is bigger than that, and crucial to your longterm success.

Why? Because it’s about everything your prospects and clients encounter in their interactions with you, from your marketing to the way you respond to the initial call or e-mail they make to you, to their interactions with you on the job site, the way they’re invoiced, and how you maintain the relationship after.

Delivering an exceptional client experience means anticipating your clients’ needs and wants before they ask, paying acute attention to detail, and always, always going the extra mile. It’s about making your clients feel special and important. And that’s how you differentiate yourself from the competition.

If you want to see firsthand how an exceptional company gets this exceptionally right in concrete ways we can all adopt and adapt for own businesses, join us for our 2018 Elite Retreat: The Client Experience at the Four Seasons in Vail, Colorado, this November.

Last year we held this event for our ACE Peer Group members and the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we’re holding it again this year for any landscape pro who wants to learn how to deliver an outstanding client experience from the best. Not only do you get to experience firsthand just how the hotel treats its guests, but their amazing staff will also give you a rare inside look into their approach by taking part in one of our educational sessions. Honestly, for me, what I learned was a game-changer. You can view the event agenda here.

Spend some time this week thinking about the kind of client experience you’re currently delivering and how you can make it better.