Feb 9, 2018

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Customer Experience vs. Customer Success: Are They the Same?

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It’s not uncommon to find it difficult to grasp the concept of Customer Experience vs. Customer Success. The two are seemingly cut from the same cloth. For some, the Customer Experience definition is not that different from the one for Customer Success.

So, are Customer Experience and Customer Success really the same? If not, what are the differences that set them apart? Perhaps, more importantly, how can businesses leverage both of these practices to improve customer retention and reduce churn?

Let’s first understand the differences between Customer Experience and Customer Success. 

What is Customer Experience?

Customer Experience (CX) is a measure of the customers’ perception of your business after they interact with it. Therefore, it’s focused on the interactions they have with your business. The idea behind customer experience is to provide positive interactions that help improve the relationship between your customers and your company.

It requires forming an understanding of what your customers are thinking and feeling about the interactions they have with your team. That knowledge is used to create processes that capitalize on opportunities when customers have a positive experience. All of this enables rapid problem solving to maintain and restore relationships when something goes wrong.

What is Customer Success?

At its core, Customer Success (CS) is all about enabling customers to extract the best value from your product. All products are developed to ultimately solve a problem for the customer. The essence of CS is helping those who pay for your product get the most out of it.

Several factors drive CS, including onboarding and training, customer fit, product usage, and return on investment. Customer Success teams use the data gained from customers’ interactions with the product, both positive and negative, to suggest product changes that can further improve outcomes.

Customer Experience vs. Customer Success: The Similarities

Much of the confusion around this topic stems from the fact that both CX and CS have to do with the viewpoint of the customer. CX is best defined as the overall impression that customers have about a business. CS is more about the end results of those interactions.

That’s not to say that there are no similarities between CX and CS. They’ve been inextricably tied to one another. Businesses that do better in both aspects have a higher chance of increasing their customer retention.

CX and CS share the same goal of forming a better understanding of the customer. This helps to positively impact the customer’s journey with the company and build that relationship of loyalty.

The two concepts both also urge customer loyalty to be tracked and measured. This can be achieved through a Net Promoter Score (NPS)®, Customer Effort Score, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score, or a customer health score.

Customer Experience vs. Customer Success: The Differences

Something that you probably picked up when understanding the Customer Success definition is that CS roles are more B2B, while CX roles are typically B2C. Regardless of these patterns, the principles and skills that drive each role can easily be transferred between individual consumers and business consumers.

The difference primarily lies in the justification of the purchase. Individual customers are usually looking to fulfill a need or a want when they purchase a product or service. The ultimate goal might be to have an enjoyable experience with that product.

That’s not entirely true for B2B customers. More than an enjoyable experience, they require the product to solve a problem and provide them with an expected return on investment.

This purchase validation distinction is one of the biggest differences between CX and CS. CX aims to create a positive experience for customers with a product, while CS focuses on achieving continued success and satisfaction.

Why a Solid Customer Experience and Customer Success Partnership Is Valuable

CX and CS are powerful concepts that share the same goal of delivering value to your customers.

More than ever before, businesses now need to commit to Customer Success. They need to continue learning from the experiences customers have with their products and use that knowledge to make any necessary changes to the product.

CX and CS share similar goals, but it’s only their method of reaching these goals that differ. CX takes an interactive approach when servicing customers while CS focuses on being proactive. The overlap between their goals makes their partnership so valuable to businesses.

Build Your Customer Experience & Customer Success Partnership

The knowledge obtained from both customer experience initiatives and Customer Success teams can be used to improve customer retention and reduce churn rates. They go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction and amplifying customer loyalty. 

Find out how you can best leverage the knowledge from the CX and CS partnership with our Modern Customer Success Playbook for Creating Data-Driven Experiences Ebook.

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