Customer Experience vs. Customer Satisfaction: WTF Is The Difference?

By Adrian Brady-Cesana

Both terms and processes are widely used by most industries and business owners to see how well they are fairing among their many and various customers, because they are both powerful tools for any and all types of businesses.

These two terms  are sometimes used interchangeably, which is not right because they each fundamentally differ from each other, based on critical defined components, which play a major role in determining the value of each.

What is Customer Satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is the happiness index of your customers once they are done with a given transaction with your business.

Customer satisfaction is a metric that helps businesses determine how well they are servicing their customers through their customer journey, transaction, interaction with your staff, servicing, or any other key touch points. This metric is typically calculated using customer satisfaction survey software, with which businesses can conduct surveys for their customers to gain their feedback and evaluate how satisfied they were after they were done doing business with you.

Customer Satisfaction Core Components:

1. Quality of Products: Is the product meeting all the requirements that the customer is looking for? How well-built and designed is it? Is it long-lasting and comes with a warranty? 

2. Customer Service: How well was the customer serviced in terms of guidance from the employees, options presented, interactions, and the experience at the transaction counter?

3. Feedback: Is your business asking for customer feedback? This is an important component of customer satisfaction as it helps in getting raw reaction from the customers and their perception of your brand, which helps in calculating this metric.


What is Customer Experience?

While Customer Experience sounds the same as customer satisfaction, this is a very different concept and practice. Customer Experience is more focused on the impression that is left by your business as a brand on the customer, and it comprises their entire journey with your business.

There are many elements that come under the umbrella of customer experience.     They include the interaction of the customer with your business, their finding of your business, how easily they were able to access your services, their customer journey while engaging with your business, how well they were taken care of by the employees, how were they treated after their transaction was done and, most importantly, how encouraged they are to return to your business.

Customer experience is a much more comprehensive metric to evaluate.                Since there are so many different elements involved in customer experience, it is helpful for businesses to use customer experience software with advanced analytics and profound features to evaluate it.

Customer Experience Core Components

1. Product: How well-targeted and suited the features of your product are for the customer.

2. Branding: How your business’s brand image has been formulated in the mind of the customer via advertising, branding, marketing, and ongoing interactions.

3. Channels of Communication: How easily accessible your business is with various forms of communication channels, such as platforms, websites, phone, face-to-face, etc.

4. Processes: How conveniently a customer can navigate their journey with your business, with easy-to-follow processes and seamless servicing execution from your staff.

5. Pricing: Is your customer servicing and perceived product value justifying the price paid by the customer for the products.

Relevance of Customer Experience and Customer Satisfaction

While both metrics are considered equally important for businesses, customer experience edges over customer satisfaction as a more holistic metric to determine customer perceptions.

Customer Experience offers businesses not only the oversight of how well customers were treated when they were involved in a specific transaction, but also provides rich and critical insights into their overall perceived and lasting experience of the brand over time. Customer Experience becomes vital, therefore, in any effort aimed at addressing issues of customer churn as well as products and service continuous improvement.

Having insights directly from the customers about all the various segments of your business can help you in developing newer and more effective strategies to elevate your customer products and servicing, thus offering a better customer experience.

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