What’s the difference between customer success and customer experience?

January 15, 2024
8 min read
Customer Success

Customer success and customer experience are two different terms but are too often used interchangeably.

Yes, they're both customer-centric roles, but the customer success and customer experience teams have different goals and responsibilities.

The customer success team focuses on decoding the customers' goals and helping them achieve their results with a product. In contrast, the customer experience team's primary function is to provide impeccable experience at every checkpoint.

It's essential to know the difference between the CS and CX teams because, without clarity, there is a risk of getting in each other's way and creating poor strategies.

Let's discuss them one by one carefully.

What is customer success (CS)?

The essential goal for SaaS and B2B companies is to improve churn rate and remain long in the game while making customers' lives easier.

Customer success comes into the role after we finally seal the deal with the customer and assist them with a smooth onboarding process.

It mainly focuses on helping your customer get on track and set up all the functionalities and assist them beyond the mainstream product—sending user tips, videos, training, on-site or informational articles, and developing a scalable approach to maximising recurring revenue.

Also, it is the responsibility of the CS team to keep a record of the customers' reactions and help them find their way within the product. And this understanding is then further discussed with the product teams to improve any struggling points and increase the good parts.

Overall the job of a customer success manager generally surrounds:

  • Onboarding- CS team acts as a shadow for the customer, and they assist every new customer for a smooth onboarding process.
  • Growth- Removing friction by answering any specific questions above the line of general queries and detecting a context for expansion.
  • Renewals- If your SaaS product works on a renewable membership, the CS team ensures that the customer keeps on repurchasing and doesn't churn.

What is customer experience (CX)?

Meanwhile, the concept of customer experience gets more attention in B2C markets where delivering an absolutely enjoyable customer experience is crucial. However, just creating a good experience won’t help you in gaining more customers.

Customer experience revolves around your customers' perception of how they feel about your product and the emotion they hold for the same.

It relies on creating a perfect offer at the right time to provide an impeccable experience to your customers. This helps to nudge your potential customer into purchase or probably increase the percentage for possibility of sale in the near future.

Also, the involvement of customer experience drives more referrals and word of mouth, which gives higher ROI with less marketing budget.

The interaction with the customer experience team encompasses everything about your company—marketing, sales, ads, service, or help.

Customer Success (CS) vs. Customer Experience (CX)

There has always been a debate and confusion between these two terms, and it's still being developed. However, the major borderline for these two concepts can be their function in the customer journey.

There are many key differences, and all are based on several aspects. Let's dig into them one by one;

  • Scope

If we talk about the scope for both terms— customer experience has a broader concept, and customer success is a part of it. CX stresses on long-term relations with the customer since the beginning of the awareness stage and carries until the end.

Meanwhile, customer success focuses on both parties' higher customer lifetime value and results. With the great customer success strategies, you come across various great opportunities for cross-selling and upselling.

And with a good plan for customer experience, one can ensure a higher rate of referrals and positive reviews.

  • Metrics

Both customer success and customer experience use different sets of metrics to evaluate the efficiency of each other's performance.

Such as CS does it by measuring customer retention rate (CRR), customer lifetime value (LTV), customer churn rate (CRR), customer health score, or repeat purchase rate. And the CX team keeps a tab on customer satisfaction score (CSAT), customer acquisition cost (CAC), and conversion rate.

  • Industry

The concept of a customer success team is often aimed at subscription-based companies like SaaS (Soft as a Service) and B2B (Business to Business).

As their monthly gains depend on repeated renewals and sales, they prioritise helping their customers reach their product's goals. However, customer experience responsibilities are shared among all domains of the business.

How can customer success and customer experience work together?

Customer Success and Customer experience are connected with a common goal—creating a loyal customer base.

Customer success and experience teams ensure that the company achieves its customer acquisition, satisfaction, and retention goals.

With these many advantages, you want them to complement each other to supercharge conversions. Also, according to the Zendesk Trends report, 75% of customers spend more money on purchases from companies that provide them better customer experience than others.

However, to get your goals accomplished, you need to establish harmony within the different teams in your company and season it with your teams' collaborated efforts.

How do CS and CX play a significant role in the customer journey?

Cooperation between CS and CX teams can significantly boost your customer satisfaction score. Lack of proper communication and collaboration between the two can be a huge disadvantage to your business and revenue.

  • Onboarding

When customers are in this onboarding stage, the customer success team assists them with resources to avoid friction. Make sure to provide a personalised onboarding experience with video calls & video tutorials presenting FAQs and product-related inquiries.

The exchange of data between these two teams can help better understand customers' troubles. Make sure to solve customers' issues as soon as possible, and the CX team should keep track of their progress by sending follow-up emails and striving on calls.

  • Adoption

The CS team should urge the customers to join the community with other fellow customers. Such a community provides mutual support regarding the product's usage and helps increase customer engagement.

Customers can easily reach out to each other for their queries, exchange ideas and info, or even have conversations.

  • Retention

Communicating regularly with your customers can effectively reduce your churn rate. To evaluate the customers' progress, you should ask questions and recognize the customer milestone. The customer success team's responsibility is to find any gap and reduce friction as much as possible. You can also create surveys to collect customer feedback and improve the product according to their feedback.

  • Growth

While retaining, it's always time to expand. It means that your CX team should identify the customers who have already achieved their desired goals through your product and services.

The next step is to conduct an open interview to better understand their future goals and explain how you can help them with their goals.

Plan your upselling and cross-selling strategies based on customers data. Get testimonials and make case studies of previous customers' success, to persuade new customers.

Point out your brand advocates through social media, feedback, and positive reviews.

Bridging the gap

As you're aware of the differences between customer success and customer experience teams, you can now leverage both teams' power for better results. You can start the process by clarifying each team's goals. You should urge both teams to brainstorm and collaborate to achieve the company goals.

Successeve can help you break silos between your CS and CX teams and help them collaborate around shared data and KPIs.

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