Imagine this: you’re heading to the beach to spend a day with your friends. You’ll be spending time swimming, throwing a ball, and enjoying a few drinks. Before you get to do that, though, you need to scour the area nearby to find somewhere to park your car and feed the parking meter. But you’re not going to the beach to park your car and feed the meter, are you? Believe it or not, this example highlights the difference between digital service and digital experience

Many organisations mistakenly bundle together all online customer interactions under the “experience” banner, when in reality, there should be a clear split. Digital service refers to all aspects of your digital process that are forgettable and expected. They should be simple, fast, and functional (like parking your car and feeding the meter). Digital experience refers to the memorable parts of your digital process that exist to build customer loyalty and should be enjoyable for your users (like the fun beach activities). Both digital service and digital experience work in harmony to create what is known as Customer Experience, or CX

The importance of CX

CX is the term for all contact a customer has with your brand, from the first touch and browsing your offerings, to making their first purchase, to post-purchase communications. It’s a long journey, and when you put it all together, managing this journey is no small feat.

As organisations start to see CX as a high priority, the term ‘experience’ has become a blanket term to describe every function of the business, no matter how miniscule. Organisations often use the term ‘experience’ to measure how a user feels when they interact with their brand. The problem with this is that not every step of a user’s journey is supposed to make them feel something. Some parts of the journey (the services) are purely functional, and exist to take them from point A to point B. 

Examples of digital service

It’s often tricky to make necessary processes fun or exciting, but in recent years, many organisations have tried to transform how they deliver their digital service. While part of this transformation comes from understanding the difference between digital service and digital experience, a larger transformation depends on splitting digital services into informational and transactional. 

  • Informational: What is the point of your digital service? Is it to provide an end user with information about your product or offering, such as a landing page on your website? How about a service that directs them to the correct page or connects them with immediate help, such as a chat bot? If so, this service is probably informational.
  • Transactional: Does the service you offer help a user complete a payment or transfer, like a secure payment portal? What about a streamlined service that lets a client book directly into a team member’s diary by clicking ‘Make an Appointment’? In that case, the service is transactional. 

Regardless of how your digital service is categorised, it can often compliment your organisation’s overall CX. People don’t often remember when a digital service works well, but they do remember when it works badly. Making your digital service function as quickly, easily and seamlessly as possible creates a better customer experience overall. And customers who enjoy using your mobile or web app are inclined to use it more often. 

Ultimately, adopting a holistic approach to CX is a smart move to drive business objectives. It creates a positive brand impression and increases the chance of repeat business when you audit your web or mobile app’s digital experience and digital service with the overall CX in mind. Seamless, enjoyable digital experiences keep customers coming back for more.