Customer service is reactive and Customer Experience puts the customer at the centre of all decisions.

To celebrate, Customer Service Week - Abella Tarimo gives us an insight on the difference between Customer Service and Customer Experience, how the two work in an organization and how customer service has evolved throughout the years.

Q. What is customer experience and why does it matter?

Customer experience is the perception the customer has of the company or organization. Everything an organization does contributes to how the customer perceives it. Technology changes have made customers to become more connected, informed, and empowered. Essentially, customers have more choices. Transforming a business from a customers’ point of view, changes the game. Customer experience is a holistic approach that goes beyond customer service department and is the responsibility of everyone in an organization.

Q. Isn’t customer experience just another name for customer service?

Great question. Customer service is the reactive actions that an organization takes to address a customer’s requests or complaints whereas customer experience is about shaping the organisation to put the customer at the center of all decisions. It’s about building the capacity and discipline to think, listen and act based on the “voice of the customer”, shaping customer interactions across all touch points, and driving adoption of organisation values and culture to change internal operations.

Q. What aspects of the experience that NMB delivers matter most to your customers?

We continuously strive to be closer to our customers by being more accessible (customers can contact us through our FREE Contact Center line 0800 002 002, all social media channels, live chat, email and several self-service options).  We open some of our branches during weekends but also for convenient banking we have NMB KLiK a mobile application which allows for quick and convenient banking 24hrs a day. 

Q. How do you measure the success of your customer experience improvement efforts (e.g, higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, lower costs)? And have you seen progress over time? 

We measure our efforts through customer’s feedback. Through our voice of the customer, we have made headway in customer satisfaction. We are now adapting global benchmarks by introduction Customer Net Promoter Score or simple known as NPS. Research shows that when a customer is satisfied with a company, they are also lower in the cost to serve, but also have a higher potential to be more loyal customers for the said company. And maybe they’ll even promote this company among their friends.

Q. Where do you think your industry will be with regard to customer experience quality in five years?

It’s an interesting place to be. The Banking and Financial Services industry is changing rapidly globally and Tanzania is at the forefront. A few years ago, there were no Contact Centers; banking was something you had to do; at predetermined time and place. Today, customer’s options and expectations have meant all industries are redefining their business models and cultures.  Winners and survivors would be those who put the customer who is “connected, informed, empowered and an instant gratification seeker” at the center of everything they do.