Customer Journey vs Customer Experience: The Difference

So, why does your company need both the customer experience vs customer journey? Aren’t they the same? Not exactly.

The confusion you might experience when coming across customer experience and customer journey is understandable: Both terms describe your customers; however, the very essence and purposes of Customer Experience and Customer Journey are different.

Stick with us if you’d like to learn more about what makes Customer Journey a concept different from Customer Experience and how you can differentiate one from another. Let’s start first by understanding very briefly what is the definition of each term. 

What is a Customer Journey?

Customer Journey is the set of all customer actions and interactions with your product or service and with your company. These actions can be real or possible and go beyond the purchase process, including the pre-sale and post-sale stages.

The journey is built up of five stages, and it is important always to keep it in mind because if we know it well, we will be able to get closer to our target audience by responding to their needs at the right time, thus saving journey time, which translates into a longer life cycle.

It should be noted that, as the name indicates, the focus is on the customer. That’s why we need to question ourselves about Customer Journey vs Customer Experience: 

  • Do we know who they are?
  • Do we know how they behave?
  • Do we know their wants and needs?
  • Do you know how your brand makes them feel? 

The sales process that the client goes through ranges from when a need arises to research and different alternatives. Taking into account the customer journey in the business strategy will allow defining what topics to cover as well as the formats and distribution channels.

One of the first steps in building the customer journey is to define the buyer persona. Identifying the client will allow you to understand them, put yourself in their place, and thus be able to know their characteristics, experiences, and needs.

Once you have your buyer persona defined, you build a customer journey map – a visual representation of the customer journey – to illustrate the customer’s experiences with a company.

Are you interested in creating your own Customer Journey Map? Then you might be interested in reading: How to Create a Customer Journey Map?

What is Customer Experience?

Customer Experience (CX) is the consequence of a customer’s perceptions after interacting rationally, physically, emotionally, and/or psychologically with any part of a business. This perception affects Customer behaviors and creates memories that drive Customer Loyalty affecting the economic value a business generates.

Customer Experience spans all interactions from engagement to marketing, discovery, purchase, usage, and customer service – regardless of the channel. Its scope is inclusive, uniting the business around the customer’s vision.

Businesses cannot completely control the customer experience because it implies dominating their customers’ perceptions, emotions, and behaviors, something impossible, in fact. 

However, if they can prepare to offer ideal experiences and correct what harms their customers, and actually close the loop… Then must likely the company might be using a Customer Experience Management Platform.

The main differences

If the difference between both terms still feels confusing, here’s a hint: Customer journey is a strategy used in the management of the customer experience. In other words, customer experience relies on mapping their customer’s journey to learn how their interactions with a brand make them feel. 

If you’re working to provide the best customer experience to your client, you always need to keep their journey and their emotions in mind. 

The Hacker’s Guide to Customer Experience. CX complexity depends on the needs each business or project has. We hope this free eBook helps you better understand how to make a successful customer experience program to gather insightful data and turn your customers into advocates of your brand.

The eBook also describes how to framework your customer journey for your CX program to be successful.


Vivan los Tacos: Example of  Customer Journey vs Customer Experience

Having a clear image of your customer journey is critical to improving customer experience. Check out the following example: 

Let’s say you’re a loyal customer of the “Vivan los Tacos” restaurant. If someone asks you why you always like to go there, you might say is because they have the greatest tacos in the entire city. However, you don’t like their customer service, perhaps because the waiters are rude or because they take too long preparing the food.

This means your customer experience is bad in a precise moment of your journey as a customer. What will happen when you get fed up with such a bad customer experience every single time you go? You might consider reviewing other alternatives (their competition) and end the lifecycle of your customer journey for good with “Vivan los Tacos” Restaurant. 

What’s the moral of this example? Is it that you should never assume that just because you have the best tacos in the area means your customers will be loyal forever? Might be. But also this: building a Customer Journey strategy around your Customer Experience will allow you to realize at which touchpoint your customer is struggling. And the best way to know the pains or joys of your customers is simply by asking them.

Learn how to create your own customer journey canvas and download our template.

Key differences between Customer Experience and Customer Journey

Let’s round this up:

  • Customer Journey is a strategy that describes all customer actions and interactions in their relationship with a brand.
  • Customer Experience (CX) is how a business relates with its clients in all the steps they go through (from consideration all the way to being a promoter of your brand).
  • Customer Experience and Customer Journey are critical elements that any business needs to keep in mind if they want their customers to become advocates of their brand.
  • To provide a great customer experience, you need to put your customer at the heart of your business. To do that, you need to be aware of their customer journey fully.
  • If you want to create a clear vision of what your customers feel from each transaction with your brand, you’ll need to collect their feedback. 

We hope that the differences between Customer Journey vs Customer Experience are clear with this simple explanation, and you can take advantage of both to improve your CX results. At QuestionPro, we have all the tools you need to level up each stage of your customer journey and boost your customer experience.

With QuestionPro CX you will be able to evaluate the level of satisfaction of your consumers at each key point of their journey, trigger alerts to avoid detractors, and encourage promoters, among other functions. We invite you to discover how a powerful 360º CX management platform can make a difference, bringing to the table actionable data for your CX program. 

Are you interested in knowing a little more about QuestionPro CX? We will be happy to chat with you and get to know your project in depth. Let’s connect!