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Customer Experience vs. Customer Success: Similarities and Differences

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In today's competitive business landscape, the terms "Customer Experience" and "Customer Success" are often used interchangeably. However, they represent distinct aspects of a company's relationship with its customers. Understanding the differences between these two concepts is crucial for businesses aiming to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall performance of the business itself. This article will delve into the definitions, key differences, and strategic importance of customer experience and Customer Success, helping you leverage both to enhance your business outcomes.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience (CX) encompasses every interaction a customer has with a company, from the first point of contact through the entire customer journey. It includes all touchpoints, such as visiting a website, speaking with customer service, using the product, and even post-purchase interactions. CX is not limited to direct interactions; it also includes the customer's perception of the brand, influenced by marketing, social media, and word-of-mouth.

Components of Customer Experience


Customer experience is shaped by various touchpoints, including marketing communications, sales interactions, customer service, and product usage. Each touchpoint provides an opportunity to create a positive impression. Identifying and optimizing these touchpoints can help in creating a cohesive and satisfying customer journey.

  • Marketing Communications: Includes advertisements, email campaigns, social media interactions, and other promotional activities.
  • Sales Interactions: The initial engagement with sales representatives can set the tone for the entire customer relationship.
  • Customer Service: Efficient and empathetic customer service can resolve issues quickly and leave a lasting positive impression.
  • Product Usage: The usability and reliability of the product directly impact customer satisfaction.

Emotional Connection

Creating an emotional connection with customers is a vital component of CX. Companies that can evoke positive emotions are more likely to build lasting relationships with their customers. Emotional connections can be fostered through personalized experiences, exceptional customer service, and a strong brand identity. For instance, a brand that consistently exceeds customer expectations can create a sense of loyalty and trust.


Consistency across all customer interactions is key to delivering a seamless experience. Ensuring that every touchpoint reflects the brand's values and quality can enhance the overall CX. Consistency helps in building trust and reliability, making customers feel confident in their choice of the brand. This includes consistent messaging, quality of service, and product performance.

Importance of Customer Experience

A positive customer experience can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. It influences the customer's perception of the brand and can significantly impact their decision to continue using a company's products or services. Companies with excellent CX are likely to see higher customer retention rates, reduced churn, and increased revenue. For example, a customer who has a positive experience with a company's support team is more likely to recommend the brand to others.

What is Customer Success?

Customer Success focuses on ensuring that customers achieve their desired outcomes while using a company's product or service. It involves proactive engagement and support to help customers derive maximum value from their purchase. Customer Success teams work closely with customers to understand their goals and challenges, providing tailored solutions and guidance.

Components of Customer Success


Effective onboarding is the foundation of Customer Success. It ensures that customers are well-equipped to use the product and can quickly start seeing its benefits. Onboarding processes may include product training, guided setups, and resources like tutorials and documentation. A smooth onboarding process sets the stage for a positive customer journey and can significantly reduce the time to value.

Customer Retention

Customer retention involves keeping existing customers engaged and satisfied to prevent them from leaving. It focuses on maintaining a strong relationship with customers through consistent value delivery and support, which is crucial for sustained Customer Success and long-term loyalty.

Customer Expansion

Customer expansion is about increasing the value derived from existing customers by upselling or cross-selling additional products or services. It aims to grow the customer's footprint within the company, enhancing overall revenue, and showcasing the ability to continually meet and exceed customer needs, a key aspect of Customer Success.

Ongoing Support

Providing continuous support and resources to customers helps address their evolving needs and challenges, ensuring they continue to derive value from the product. This support can come in various forms, such as regular check-ins, webinars, knowledge base articles, and personalized assistance. Continuous engagement helps in identifying potential issues early and providing timely solutions.

Customer Health Monitoring

Regularly monitoring customer health through metrics like usage patterns, engagement levels, and feedback can help identify potential issues and opportunities for improvement. Customer health scores can indicate how well customers are adopting the product and their likelihood of renewal. Monitoring these metrics allows Customer Success teams to proactively address any concerns and ensure customers remain satisfied and engaged.

Importance of Customer Success

Customer Success is critical for customer retention and growth. By helping customers succeed, companies can reduce churn, increase renewals, and encourage upsells and cross-sells. A dedicated Customer Success team ensures that customers are continuously supported and can fully leverage the product's features to achieve their objectives. For example, a software company with a strong team of Customer Success professionals can help users implement and optimize the software, leading to higher user satisfaction and loyalty.

Key Differences Between Customer Experience and Customer Success


Customer experience (CX) encompasses the entire journey a customer takes with a company, from the initial awareness stage to the post-purchase interactions and everything in between. This journey includes marketing, sales, onboarding, product usage, customer support, and any other touchpoints the customer encounters. The goal of CX is to create a cohesive and positive experience across all these interactions, ensuring that customers feel valued and satisfied at every stage.

In contrast, Customer Success is specifically focused on the post-purchase phase, where the primary objective is to ensure that customers achieve their desired outcomes with the product or service. Customer Success teams work closely with customers to understand their goals, provide necessary resources, and offer guidance to help them get the most value from their purchase. While customer experience is broad and encompasses the entire customer lifecycle, Customer Success is more narrow and targeted, dealing specifically with the customer's success in using the product.

For example, a customer may have a positive overall experience with a company's marketing and sales processes (customer experience), but if they struggle to achieve their goals after purchasing the product, the Customer Success team steps in to provide support and ensure the customer can realize the full benefits of their purchase (Customer Success).

Proactivity vs. Reactivity

Customer Success is inherently proactive. Customer Success teams engage with customers regularly through scheduled check-ins, training sessions, and personalized support to anticipate and address potential issues before they become significant problems. The proactive approach involves understanding customer goals, monitoring their progress, and offering assistance to help them stay on track. By being proactive, Customer Success professionals can prevent customer dissatisfaction and reduce churn rates.

On the other hand, customer experience can be both proactive and reactive. Proactive CX measures include designing intuitive user interfaces, creating helpful content, and implementing feedback mechanisms to continually improve the customer journey. Reactive CX efforts involve responding to customer complaints, resolving issues, and addressing negative feedback promptly. While proactive CX aims to prevent issues and enhance the overall experience, reactive CX focuses on solving problems as they arise.

For instance, a Customer Success team might proactively reach out to a customer who hasn't used a key feature of the product to offer a training session, ensuring they get the most out of the product. Meanwhile, a CX team might react to a customer complaint about a website navigation issue by investigating and resolving the problem to improve future experiences.

Metrics and Goals

The metrics used to measure customer experience often revolve around customer sentiment and satisfaction. Common CX metrics include:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures the likelihood of customers recommending the company to others. A high NPS indicates strong customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Assesses how satisfied customers are with specific interactions or overall experiences. CSAT surveys typically ask customers to rate their satisfaction on a scale.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Evaluates how easy it is for customers to accomplish their goals with the company. A low effort score indicates a smooth and hassle-free experience.

These metrics provide insights into the general feelings and perceptions customers have about the brand and help identify areas for improvement in the customer journey.

Customer Success metrics, on the other hand, focus on the effectiveness of the product in helping customers achieve their goals and the ongoing health of the customer relationship. Key Customer Success metrics include:

  • Customer Health Score: Combines various indicators such as product usage, customer feedback, and support interactions to provide a comprehensive view of the customer's overall health and engagement with the product.
  • Renewal Rates: Measures the percentage of customers who renew their subscriptions or contracts. High renewal rates indicate that customers are finding value in the product and are willing to continue using it.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Estimates the total revenue a company can expect from a customer over the entire duration of their relationship. Increasing CLV indicates successful customer retention and growth.

For example, a company might use NPS to gauge overall customer loyalty and satisfaction with their brand (CX), while simultaneously tracking customer health scores to ensure individual customers are successfully using the product and deriving value from it (CS).

Key Similarities Between Customer Experience and Customer Success

Customer-Centric Focus

Both customer experience (CX) and Customer Success are fundamentally customer-centric. They prioritize understanding and addressing the needs, expectations, and goals of customers. The primary aim of both disciplines is to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, ensuring that customers feel valued and supported throughout their journey with the company.

  • Customer Experience: Focuses on creating positive interactions at every touchpoint, from initial awareness to post-purchase support, to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience.
  • Customer Success: Concentrates on helping customers achieve their desired outcomes with the product, providing ongoing support and guidance to ensure they derive maximum value from their purchase.

Goal of Building Long-Term Relationships

Both customer experience and Customer Success aim to build long-term relationships with customers. By fostering trust, loyalty, and satisfaction, they work to convert customers into repeat buyers and brand advocates.

  • Customer Experience: By delivering consistently positive experiences, companies can build emotional connections with customers, leading to increased loyalty and advocacy.
  • Customer Success: By ensuring customers achieve success with the product, companies can enhance retention rates and encourage customers to renew subscriptions, upgrade services, or make additional purchases.

Data-Driven Approaches

Both customer experience and Customer Service rely on data to inform their strategies and measure their effectiveness. They use various metrics and analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and satisfaction levels, allowing for continuous improvement.

  • Customer Experience: Utilizes metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) to gauge overall customer sentiment and identify areas for improvement in the customer journey.
  • Customer Success: Uses metrics like Customer Health Score, renewal rates, and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to monitor customer engagement, identify potential issues, and measure the success of customer support efforts.

Enhancing Customer Loyalty and Retention

Both play crucial roles in enhancing customer loyalty and retention. They focus on delivering value to customers, ensuring their needs are met, and providing exceptional service that encourages customers to remain with the company long-term.

  • Customer Experience: Strives to create positive and memorable experiences that encourage customers to stay loyal to the brand and recommend it to others.
  • Customer Success: Works proactively to ensure customers achieve their goals with the product, reducing the likelihood of churn and increasing the chances of renewal and upsell opportunities.

Collaboration Across Departments

Both require collaboration across various departments within the organization. Effective communication and cooperation between teams such as marketing, sales, product development, and customer support are essential for delivering a cohesive and positive customer journey.

  • Customer Experience: Involves coordination between marketing, sales, and customer service teams to ensure consistent messaging and quality interactions at every touchpoint.
  • Customer Success: Requires collaboration with product development, support, and sales teams to understand customer needs, provide effective solutions, and ensure customers are fully supported in achieving their goals.

Continuous Improvement

Both are dynamic and require continuous improvement based on customer feedback and performance metrics. They involve regularly assessing and refining strategies to better meet customer needs and enhance overall satisfaction.

  • Customer Experience: Continuously seeks to improve the customer journey by addressing pain points, optimizing touchpoints, and incorporating customer feedback into service and product enhancements.
  • Customer Success: Regularly evaluates the effectiveness of onboarding, support, and engagement strategies, using customer feedback and success metrics to make necessary adjustments and improvements.

Integrating Customer Experience and Customer Success

Aligning Teams

To maximize the benefits of both customer experience and Customer Success, it's essential to align these teams within the organization. Collaboration between these teams can lead to a more holistic approach to customer engagement. By sharing insights and data, both teams can work towards common goals, ensuring a seamless customer journey from initial contact to ongoing support.

Leveraging Data

Utilizing data from both customer experience and Customer Success initiatives can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, helping to tailor strategies that meet their needs. Data-driven approaches enable companies to identify trends, predict customer needs, and personalize interactions, enhancing both teams’ efforts.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly assessing and refining customer experience and Customer Success strategies based on customer feedback and performance metrics ensures continuous improvement and long-term success. Implementing feedback loops and staying agile in response to changing customer needs helps in maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and achieving business objectives.


Understanding the distinct yet complementary roles of customer experience and Customer Success is vital for any business aiming to thrive in a customer-centric world. By prioritizing both, companies can create a seamless and satisfying journey for their customers, leading to increased loyalty, retention, and growth. Velaris, with its advanced analytics and customer engagement tools, can help businesses effectively manage both customer experience and Customer Success, driving better outcomes and fostering long-term relationships.

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