What is the difference between customer experience and customer satisfaction

How Customer Experience is different from Customer Satisfaction

Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru

Before we start, let’s first understand what the term ‘Customer Experience’ means. While there is no one definition that can suffice, Customer Experience broadly can be defined as the sum total of all the experiences that a customer has with an organization across every touch-point. On the other hand, Customer Satisfaction is a measure of the degree of satisfaction a customer has with a particular product or service. While these two terms are inter-related and need to be measured regularly, they have significant differences. Customer Experience is a lot more than just customer satisfaction. Here are some key differences:

1. Customer Experience starts before the sale

Because CEx measures the experience that a customer has had at every instant with his interaction with the brand, CEx starts even before that customer has bought/used the product or service. It starts with the ease with which a customer can locate your product, the comfort with which he can reach out to an executive who can help him understand the product better, and the quickness with which he can access any information he is looking for about the product. Needless to say, an organization looking to up its CEx quotient has to ensure that it has a high visibility.

For example, the other day, I was looking out for a few gyms close to where I live and word. I took the easiest and the quickest way of finding more information – Google. I googled the gyms located near my home and office, and began browsing through the websites of each to get more information. Most of those that did not have a good website or were not too active on social media were crossed off my list immediately. Amongst the final two, the gym that was prompt in picking up my call, answering my queries, and following-up with me was where I finally enrolled.

I am sure that most of us do the same when in need of any new product or service. Organizations need to realize that the customer experience does not start after the sale, rather, it actually leads to a sale.

Related article: Why NOT to think of Customer Experience ONLY After the SALE!

2. Customer Experience is about the holistic picture

Customer Satisfaction only measures the satisfaction or happiness that a customer has with your product. However, in today’s intensely competitive world, where products, prices, and services are becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate, ‘satisfaction’ of a customer may not be enough. Loyalty is what organizations need to be focussing on. It is one thing to be satisfied with the product, but it is another to be loyal to a brand. And while loyal customers are satisfied, the converse may not be true: a satisfied customer may not be loyal.

With respect to this, Customer Experience is a more holistic indicator of a customer’s loyalty. It helps an organization understand whether a customer’s need is fulfilled, whether he will want to pay money to use the product to solve his requirements, and whether he will recommend this product to his friends and folks. Hence, CEx is a better indicator of the revenues and profits of an organization than is customer satisfaction.Also, by measuring the experience of the customer across all touchpoints – pre-sale, during a sale, and post-sale – CEx tends to provide a consistent experience for the customer each time he connects with an organization.

Although it is clear that customer satisfaction is the first step towards delivering a good customer experience, mere satisfaction shouldn’t be a company’s goal. Organizations need to aspire for great customer experience.

3. Customer Experience is the new branding

Customer Satisfaction measures whether the customer is getting the most out of a particular product. However, customer experience actually measures whether the need of the customer is resolved or not and whether he will return to repurchase the same product. It tells whether the customer will become an ambassador of that product, encouraging others to purchase the same. On the other hand, a customer might be extremely satisfied with a product but had a terrible pre-sales and post sales experience and therefore may not really recommend a friend to go through the same experience. In a way, the customer experience now defines how your target market perceives you as a brand. Hence, it would not be incorrect to say that CEx is the new branding.

Read more: Why is the power of brands declining? And how customer experience has become the new branding.

Would there be any other differences between CEx and CSAT? We’d be more than happy to hear from you.