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What Sets Customer Success Apart from Customer Experience

Organisations that prioritise the needs and expectations of their customers tend to thrive and grow. Two crucial terms frequently discussed in this context are Customer Success (CS) and Customer Experience (CX). While they both play essential roles in enhancing customer relations, they are not interchangeable concepts. In this article, we’ll explore the distinct characteristics that set Customer Success apart from Customer Experience, with the support of data, figures, and real-world examples from leading companies

Understanding Customer Experience (CX)

Customer Experience (CX) encompasses the overall perception a customer has of a company based on every interaction and touchpoint throughout their journey. This includes interactions with a company’s website, products, customer service, and more. CX focuses on the customer’s feelings, emotions, and overall satisfaction during these interactions. According to a PwC report, 73% of customers point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

Real-World Example: Apple is renowned for its exceptional customer experience. From the sleek design of its products to the user-friendly interface and the in-store Genius Bar support, Apple creates a seamless and enjoyable customer journey. This dedication to CX has contributed significantly to Apple’s brand loyalty and growth.

Understanding Customer Success (CS)

Customer Success (CS), on the other hand, is a more specific strategy aimed at ensuring customers achieve their desired outcomes while using a company’s product or service. It’s proactive and focuses on helping customers overcome challenges, achieve goals, and maximize the value they receive. CS is often associated with subscription-based services and software as a service (SaaS) companies, where ongoing engagement and retention are critical.

Real-World Example: Salesforce, a leading CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software provider, is a prime example of a company excelling in Customer Success. They offer extensive training, personalized support, and a robust community for their users. Salesforce’s commitment to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes has resulted in high retention rates and satisfied customers.

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The Key Differences

1. Focus and Scope

  • CX: The focus of CX is broad, covering the entire customer journey and touchpoints. It assesses the overall customer sentiment and satisfaction.
  • CS: CS has a narrower focus on ensuring customers achieve specific goals or outcomes while using a product or service. It involves proactive guidance and support.

2. Timing

  • CX: CX is an ongoing concern, as it assesses the customer’s feelings at any point during their journey.
  • CS: CS is proactive and often starts immediately after a customer onboards, with a goal-oriented approach.
3. Metrics and KPIs
By understanding these key differences, businesses can develop targeted strategies for both CX and CS to optimise customer satisfaction and retention. It’s crucial to recognise that these two disciplines are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they complement each other when integrated effectively. While CX aims to create positive overall impressions, CS ensures that individual customers receive the value they sought when choosing a product or service.

Successful companies recognize that balancing both CX and CS leads to enhanced customer loyalty, higher retention rates, increased customer lifetime value, and a stronger competitive advantage in the market.

Data and Figures

Let’s delve into some data to highlight the significance of both Customer Experience and Customer Success:

  1. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can boost profits by 25% to 95%.
  2. A research report by Totango found that companies with mature Customer Success programs achieve 80% lower churn and 30% higher expansion revenue.
  3. Forbes reports that companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than those who don’t prioritize CX.

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Real-World Case Study: Amazon

Amazon is a prime example of a company that successfully integrates both Customer Experience and Customer Success into its operations.

Customer Experience (CX): Amazon’s user-friendly website, fast and reliable shipping, and an extensive selection of products contribute to an exceptional CX. The “one-click” purchase option and personalised product recommendations make the shopping experience seamless and enjoyable.

Customer Success (CS): Amazon Prime, the company’s subscription service, is a testament to its focus on Customer Success. Prime offers benefits such as free two-day shipping, exclusive access to movies and TV shows, and more. By providing value beyond just shopping, Amazon ensures customer loyalty and engagement.


In the world of customer-centric business strategies, both Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Success (CS) hold vital roles. While CX focuses on creating a positive overall impression, CS is about ensuring customers achieve their specific goals and desired outcomes. These two concepts, though related, have distinct scopes, objectives, and metrics.

Companies that excel in both CX and CS, like Amazon and Salesforce, have not only retained their customers but have also witnessed substantial growth. Therefore, it’s essential for organisations to recognise the differences between CX and CS and implement strategies that leverage the strengths of both approaches to maximise customer satisfaction and loyalty. In a competitive marketplace, understanding these distinctions can be the key to sustainable success.

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