Customer Success vs. Customer Experience: Notable Differences

customer success vs customer experience

Positive customer relationships are the foundation of any SaaS business. Both customer success and customer experience aim to boost customer satisfaction, but they are actually different concepts that address different segments of the customer journey.

Understanding the nuances between customer experience and customer success can help you make better decisions within both teams to ensure they are completely aligned in their mutual goal of creating the best possible customer journey for everyone.

We will explain what both concepts represent in SaaS business, how both teams can work together for the best result, and their crucial differences.

What is CS (Customer Success)?

Customer Success refers to a proactive business strategy that helps your customers achieve their goals using your platform. By providing impeccable customer support and guidance in the post-purchase phase of the customer journey, the CS team works on establishing solid and long-term customer relationships. 

Key elements of CS in SaaS include onboarding, engagement, adoption, retention, and expansion. In the end, the ultimate goal of the CS teams is to maximize customer retention, lifetime value, and loyalty.

What is CX (Customer Experience)?

Customer Experience, or CX, is an overall sentiment a customer has about a company based on their activity and interactions throughout the customer journey. It includes all the touchpoints a customer has with the brand, from the awareness and consideration stages to the purchase, post-purchase stages, and beyond.

CX teams aim to provide a positive customer experience by considering multiple factors. Besides ensuring that the software’s interface is intuitive and user-friendly, the CX team should provide necessary guidance in the onboarding stage, solicit feedback, make sure that customer support is responsive and proactive, and make data-driven decisions to personalise the customer experience.

Customer Success and Customer Experience Teams Working Together

While customer success focuses on an individual customer and his goals in the customer journey, customer experience comes with a more holistic approach that includes the entire customer journey. And, if the collaboration between the customer experience and customer success teams is efficient, that can significantly improve the overall customer journey and drive business success.

After all, customer success directly impacts the customer experience by helping customers achieve their goals and maximize product value. By knowing your customers, you know exactly what they need and when. These personalized experiences make them feel heard and valued, which positively impacts customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty. On the other hand, a positive customer experience is the foundation of customer success. It is not a secret that most of buyers are willing to pay more for an impeccable experience where their needs and preferences have been taken seriously.

Now, let’s see some areas where customer success and customer experience can effectively work together:

  • Interpreting customer feedback
    • Customer success teams can provide insight into customer challenges and preferences based on customer success data and feedback. Then, they can share the information with the CX team so that they can create custom-tailored strategies to meet customer needs. With customer success software like Akita, you can integrate with various third-party tools — CRMs, support ticket systems, marketing automation, etc — to have customer data in one place.
  • Integrated customer journey view
    • When they work together, both teams can create an integrated customer journey view where crucial touchpoints and opportunities for improvement are easily identified.
  • Faster issue resolution
    • When the issue arises, both teams can work together to identify the core of the problem and resolve it much quicker.
  • Joint team training
    • To help both teams understand their and other team members’ roles better, a company can organize joint training for both teams.

Customer Experience vs. Customer Success: Differences

Let’s go over the crucial differences between customer experience and customer success.

  • Definitions
    • Customer success focuses on ensuring customers achieve desired outcomes within your platform, while customer experience refers to an overall impression of your company with customers.
  • Stakeholders
    • In CS, both business and customer collaborate, while in CX; the brand manages the entire experience.
  • Process
    • The customer success process includes assisting customers to help them get the maximum from the given SaaS product, while the customer experience process involves managing the aspects of the customer journey effectively ensuring a positive experience.
  • Focus area
    • CS works toward speeding up value realization and utilization, while CX focuses on ensuring impeccable and memorable interactions.
  • Personalization
    • CS is personalized for every customer, while CX can be personalized if required.
  • Objectives
    • Customer success aims to foster long-term customer relationships through continuous engagement and guidance, while customer experience aims to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. In the end, both CS and CX have the ultimate goal of improving customer retention.
  • Metrics
    • Key metrics for CS include the net promoter score, customer lifetime value, churn rate, customer health score, first contact resolution, etc. For CX, crucial metrics are customer satisfaction score, customer effort score, average resolution time, customer lifetime value, etc.

Customer Success vs. Customer Experience — Conclusion

Customer success and customer experience are essential segments for customer-centric strategies. They differ in their focus, objectives, and key metrics — customer experience is more holistic and encompasses the entire customer journey to create a positive experience at every step, customer success aims to ensure each customer’s needs and preferences are met by guiding them smoothly through every post-purchase step and beyond.

Customer success and customer experience help you develop effective and comprehensive strategies that address immediate customer needs and the overall customer journey. Therefore, by making sure that customer success and customer experience teams work together and have the right CS tools like Akita, you can create a more holistic approach to customer loyalty and satisfaction that drive long-term success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between customer experience & customer success?

Customer success is more proactive and it finds ways to help customers get value from the product or service your company provides. On the other hand, customer experience concentrates on touch points throughout the entire customer journey.

What is the difference between customer success management and customer experience management?

The CS team focuses on understanding customer needs and goals, and helping them achieve them. On the other hand, CX teams work on providing an impeccable experience at every single touchpoint of the customer journey.

Does CX fall under marketing?

While they both contribute to business growth, they operate differently. The marketing team addresses external segments, while the CX team engages in interactions with existing customers.

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