Everyone thinks they know what great customer service is, but not everyone knows how to do it, says marketing expert Vic Dadson on the Business2Community blog. And, when most people think about customer service, they think about handling customer complaints on the phone or in the dealership.

“The thing is, even if we get that right (and most businesses are a long way from perfect), by focusing on customer service, we’re still stopping short of the ultimate customer experience,” Dadson says.

She describes customer service as all the interactions a customer has with a member of your team, whether face-to-face, over the phone or email. It’s typically initiated by the customer to solve a problem or complete a transaction.

Customer experience, on the other hand, is the sum total of every interaction, touchpoint or individual experience a customer has throughout their “relationship” with a business. From first hearing of the business to their last interaction, every time a customer has absolutely anything to do with a company it comes under the category of customer experience.

The challenge for dealerships is that great customer service doesn’t necessarily mean a great customer experience. For instance, maybe the employee who is top notch at handling customer complaints is making up for other employees who let the customer down earlier in the interaction.

So, a problem was solved, but the customer may not return for a second purchase because of the entire experience.

Read more about how to deliver an outstanding customer experience.