There are a lot of common phrases that appear throughout the business world. Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep track of all the terminology and the various nuances that differentiate each term. Two examples of terms like these are customer success and customer experience.
The difference between customer success vs. customer experience is subtle but very important. Customer success teams and customer experience teams do not serve the exact same purposes, even though the names are very similar — however, they both work in tandem to improve the customer journey in various ways. It’s essential to understand the different roles of customer success teams and customer experience teams throughout the whole customer journey to ensure the two teams are working together, not overlapping and getting in each others’ way.
With the rest of this article, we’ll take a detailed look at the definitions and roles of customer success and customer experience, as well as break down the differences between them.
What's Customer Success?
Your customer success team is responsible for working with customers to help them achieve their goals with your products. Customer success is all about helping the customer get the maximum value out of their relationship with your business. Customer success examples include helping customers troubleshoot problems with your products and providing customer education materials to help them become more proficient with your products.
Effective customer success strategies are usually set up to anticipate customers’ needs and obstacles so solutions can be offered proactively. Waiting until the customer becomes frustrated enough with the problem to reach out to your customer success team means the damage has already been done.
Your business’s customer success strategy is integral to the business’s overall success. However, designing the perfect customer success strategy is not easy. Here are a few tips you can use to put together an effective plan for customer success:
Ensure your customer success team is well-trained. You need a team of highly-skilled customer success professionals to support your customers and drive their relationships with your business forward.
Learn about your customers’ objectives. The ultimate purpose of all your customer success efforts should be to enable customers to reach their goals faster and with less effort. Before you can help them do that, you need to understand what their goals are and how they define success with your product.
Create a template that outlines the ideal successful customer journey and what steps customer success team members should take to make that journey a reality for customers. This template can be turned into a tailored roadmap to success for each different customer.
Keep your whole team on the same page. Make sure every member of your customer success team is familiar with your overarching customer success strategy and what their role is within it. If you have established guidelines like a customer success roadmap, make sure all team members can access them easily.
Track and analyze your customer success strategy’s outcomes. If your customers are succeeding, what are you doing right? If they’re struggling, what are the most common issues, and what can you do to solve them more efficiently? Use these insights to improve your customer success program over time.
Your business’s customer success strategy is important because it is one of the primary drivers of customer satisfaction — which leads directly to a more successful company. Customers who are getting the most out of their products with minimal effort are likely to remain loyal customers for a long time, and they may even advocate for your business and attract more customers.
What's Customer Experience?
Customer success (also known as customer excellence) focuses on enabling customers to easily accomplish their goals with your product. This is one aspect of the customer experience, but customer experience extends beyond product proficiency alone.
Customer experience (CX) encompasses all of a customer’s interactions with your brand throughout their entire customer journey. This includes everything from onboarding, to product usage, to social media interactions and every other touchpoint between your business and the customer.
In general, the goal of your customer experience team is to keep customers happy. The way this is accomplished will likely look different depending on what aspect of the customer journey is currently causing the customer to be dissatisfied.
Here are a few CX examples to help illustrate some of the responsibilities of the customer experience team:
Analyzing your business’s onboarding process and identifying ways it can be improved.
Providing excellent customer service at every single touchpoint.
Collaborating with the customer success team to design customer education content.
An outstanding customer experience is important for many different reasons. Your customers are the lifeblood of your business — without them, your business would have no source of revenue and, ultimately, no purpose. Prioritizing customer experience is the best way to retain customers and generate repeat business.
Not only does a stellar customer experience contribute to retention, but it also powers sustainable growth. Customers care a lot about the experiences they receive from businesses; if your business becomes known for its above-average customer experience, you will likely have an easier time attracting new customers.
Furthermore, the customers you gain and retain via your business’s fantastic customer experience can become some of your most valuable brand champions. The more positive experiences customers have with your company, the more likely they are to advocate for your business and attract even more prospects.
Customer Experience vs. Customer Success: A Perfect Match
Even though there are important differences between customer success and customer experience, they do work very well together; in fact, they are almost inseparable. Combining an effective customer success strategy with a successful customer experience strategy is one of the best ways to develop a healthier, more satisfied customer base.
The most important distinction between customer success and customer experience is that customer experience comprises every interaction customers have with your brand — whereas customer success is a single aspect of customer experience that pertains specifically to helping customers use your products or services more effectively. This distinction is important to understand so that you can plan your customer experience efforts and customer success efforts to work together, not make one another redundant.
Ideally, the customer experience team’s efforts should make life easier for the customer success team. This is because customer experience involves improving any and all interactions customers have with your business, and these improvements influence customer success levels. However, it’s the customer success team who is specifically responsible for identifying customers who are struggling to use your products effectively and stepping in with timely assistance.
Customer success vs. customer experience is not a question of which is better or worse but a question of how you can position the two disciplines to work effectively together.