The Good Experience blog has a great post about the difference between customer service and customer experience:
"Customer service is the job of front-line workers, servicing customer requests for help - via an 800 number, e-mail, or a retail desk. It's important to invest in good customer service, but that's just the tiniest sliver of the customer experience.
Customer experience is the job of everyone in the company. My customer experience was bad because the product, and the refund policy, are both broken. Everyone from the CEO and CFO to the product designers and manufacturing facility contributed to this bad customer experience; and as a result, they've lost a customer and generated bad word of mouth. The good customer service I received didn't - and couldn't possibly - fix the overall experience."
This is highly related to my post a couple days ago about advertising versus branding. Just as advertising is a small component of branding, customer service is a small part of experience. I suppose I could say that brand = experience. They are both multifaceted sum-totals of the various touches and connections that a customer has with your company.
"Brand" and "customer experience" are the forest; don't get hung up on any one tree. Branding is not owned by the marketing department, and customer experience is not owned by the customer service department. Think 'ecosystem.' Think grassroots economy, distributed intelligence and empowered employees. More on this in a separate post...