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Customer Journey vs Customer Experience: A Comparison

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

30 May 2024

7 min read

Studies show that average customer forms an impression about your brand within seven seconds of their first encounter! Isn’t that intriguing? It means that those seven seconds can make or break your business. So, how do we ensure that right decisions are made in such a short span of time? Well, this is where the fascinating interplay of customer journey vs customer experience comes into play.

Hey, we have also prepared a table of comparison for your convenience. Check it out if you’re in a hurry!

Let’s dive right in now and find out how customer journey and customer experience can be the key to your business’s success.

What is Customer Journey?

In the simplest terms, a customer journey is the path a customer takes when interacting with your business. Think of it as the steps they follow from the first moment they hear about your brand to the point where they become a loyal customer.

For instance, imagine that your customers are authors, and they’re creating their unique stories. These stories unfold as they go from learning about your products or services to thinking about what they want, making a purchase, and maybe even staying connected with your brand after buying something.

Every part of this journey is important because it’s a chance to make your customers happy. Plus, you get to build a strong connection with them. From the very first time they meet your brand to the support you offer after they’ve made a purchase, understanding and making each step better is really important if you want your customers to be happy and keep coming back.

Stages of Customer Journey

Imagine you’re planning a road trip. You have a starting point, various stops along the way, and a destination in mind. The same concept applies to the customer journey, which consists of distinct stages:

Awareness: This is the very beginning, where customers first learn about your brand’s existence. It could be through an online ad, a social media post, or word-of-mouth.

Consideration: Once aware, customers begin evaluating your products or services. They might compare them with alternatives, read reviews, or seek recommendations.

Purchase: When a customer decides to buy from you, they’ve reached the purchase stage. This is the ultimate goal of many businesses.

Post-purchase: The journey doesn’t end with a purchase. What happens after is equally important. Customers may need support, have questions, or provide feedback.

From the initial touchpoint to post-purchase engagement, each step provides an opportunity to create positive experiences and build lasting relationships. If you’re looking for a seamless way to collect customer feedback and further enhance these stages, consider SurveySparrow. The platform offers powerful survey solutions to gather valuable insights at every customer touchpoint, helping you refine your strategies and foster customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What is a Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map is like a visual storytelling tool that businesses use to understand and improve the entire customer experience. It’s a detailed, step-by-step illustration of the customer’s interactions with a brand, from the initial contact to post-purchase engagement.

A customer journey map visually outlines each step of this adventure, allowing businesses to identify where customers might face challenges, where they have positive experiences, and where improvements can be made. It’s a valuable tool for aligning your business with your customers’ needs and expectations.

A customer journey map is important because it:

  • Reveals Pain Points: Pinpoints areas where customers may face challenges.
  • Optimizes Touchpoints: Ensures consistent, efficient, and enjoyable interactions.
  • Enhances Communication: Fosters collaboration among teams.
  • Drives Loyalty: Converts one-time buyers into loyal customers and advocates.
  • Promotes Continuous Improvement: Guides ongoing enhancement efforts.
  • Informs Data-Driven Decisions: Provides a data-backed foundation for decision-making.
  • Delivers Competitive Advantage: Sets your brand apart by meeting customer expectations.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience isn’t just about a single event. It’s about how all the interactions you have with a brand add up. These experiences together shape what customers think about the brand and whether they’ll keep coming back.

Each time you talk to your friends, it’s a little piece of your friendship. Over time, all those pieces come together to create a bigger picture of your relationship. In the same way, every time a customer deals with a brand, it’s like a puzzle piece that forms their view of that brand. It tells us whether they’ll stick with the brand or not.

What is a CX Map?

A customer experience map, also known as a CX map, is like a visual representation that outlines the entire journey a customer takes when interacting with a brand. It’s a detailed illustration that charts the customer’s experiences, emotions, and touchpoints from the first encounter with the brand to post-purchase engagement.

For this, you can think of the map as a storyboard that captures the highs and lows of the customer’s interactions. What does it do? It helps businesses understand how customers perceive their brand and where improvements can be made to enhance the overall experience.

Customer Experience Map vs. Customer Journey Map

CX Map:

A CX map primarily focuses on the emotional and qualitative aspects of the customer’s interactions with a brand. It delves deep into how customers feel at various touchpoints and stages of their journey. Key elements of a CX map include:

  • Emotions: It highlights the emotional highs and lows experienced by customers, providing insights into their feelings during each interaction.
  • Moments of Delight: CX maps identify moments where customers are exceptionally pleased or impressed by a brand’s actions.
  • Pain Points: They pinpoint areas where customers may become frustrated, dissatisfied, or encounter challenges in their journey.
  • Personas: CX maps often incorporate customer personas to tailor experiences based on different customer segments.
  • Subjective Data: CX maps rely on subjective data, such as customer feedback, surveys, and interviews, to gauge emotional responses.

Customer Journey Map:

A customer journey map, on the other hand, provides a more comprehensive overview of the entire customer experience, including both qualitative and quantitative aspects. It covers the entire journey, from initial awareness to post-purchase engagement. Key elements of a customer journey map include:

  • Touchpoints: It outlines all the touch points or interactions customers have with a brand, encompassing both digital and physical channels.
  • Stages: Customer journey maps typically break down the customer journey into distinct stages, such as awareness, consideration, conversion, and post-purchase.
  • Objectivity: They rely on objective data and analytics to track customer behavior, including metrics like website visits, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
  • Process Efficiency: Customer journey maps emphasize the efficiency of processes and how well customers can navigate from one stage to another.
  • Holistic View: They offer a holistic view of the customer’s entire experience, including their interactions with products, services, and support.

Now you have a clear idea, right? Let’s sum it up and see the key differences.

Customer Journey vs. Customer Experience

Let’s look at the key differences:

AspectCustomer JourneyCustomer Experience
DefinitionSequential stepsEmotional aspect
FocusStages, touchpointsEmotions, perceptions
ElementsStages, dataEmotions, feedback
Objective DataQuantitative metricsLimited quantitative
Subjective DataLimitedQualitative insights
Progress TrackingCustomer movementEmotion at touchpoints
Visual RepresentationVisual diagramsEmotions, personas
PurposeAnalyzing processEnhancing satisfaction
Key MetricsConversion rates,
website traffic, funnel analytics
Improvement FocusEfficiencyEmotional engagement

Customer Journey:

1. Definition

CJ: The customer journey is the detailed roadmap that outlines every step a customer takes when interacting with a brand. It’s like a storybook of their interactions, from initial awareness to post-purchase engagement.

CX: The customer experience is about how customers feel during their interactions with a brand. It’s the emotional and qualitative aspect of the customer’s journey.

2. Focus

CJ: The primary focus of the customer journey is on the sequential stages and touchpoints that customers go through as they interact with a brand. It’s about understanding the process and how customers move from one stage to the next.

CX:  It emphasizes the emotional highs and lows of the customer’s journey. They aim to understand the customer’s feelings, whether they are delighted, frustrated, or satisfied.

3. Elements

CJ: It includes elements like awareness, consideration, conversion, and post-purchase engagement. It tracks the customer’s progress and actions as they move through these stages.

CX:  It highlights emotional responses, moments of delight, and pain points. They focus on subjective data, including customer feedback and interviews, to gauge emotions.

4. Objective Data

CJ: It relies on objective data and metrics to analyze customer behavior. It uses quantitative data like website visits, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

CX: It relies on subjective data and qualitative insights to assess customer emotions and perceptions.

5. Visual Representation

CJ: The map often takes the form of a visual diagram or flowchart, making it easy to understand the customer’s path.

CX: Maps can also be visually represented but are more inclined to incorporate customer personas, emotional states, and qualitative feedback.

How to Track Them?

Now, let’s see how to track customer journey and customer experience:

Tracking the Customer Journey:

  1. Pinpoint Key Moments: First, figure out the important times when customers connect with your brand, like when they discover it, think about buying, or make a purchase.
  2. Numbers Matter: Use tools to collect data that shows what’s happening. Things like how many people visit your website, how many click on stuff, and how many actually buy. These numbers help you understand customer behavior.
  3. Ask for Feedback: Don’t forget to talk to your customers! Surveys and questions at different times can tell you what they like, don’t like, and how happy they are.
  4. Draw It Out: Create a picture (like a map) that shows the journey. It helps you see where things are going smoothly and where there might be problems.
  5. Keep Watching: Don’t stop! Keep an eye on how customers are moving through the journey. When you notice they’re getting stuck or having issues, you can fix them.
  6. Use Special Software: If you want to get fancy, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help track each customer’s journey. It’s like having a super memory of all your customer interactions.

Tracking Customer Experience:

  1. Ask for Feelings: Regularly check in with customers and ask how they’re feeling. You can use surveys, forms, and even social media to see if they’re happy or not.
  2. Loyalty Meter (NPS): Use something called the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It tells you if customers really like you or not so much. Are they fans, just okay, or not fans at all?
  3. Happy or Not (CSAT): After they talk to you or use your stuff, ask them if they’re happy with the experience. It’s like a quick report card.
  4. Support Check: Keep an eye on things like how quickly you respond to customer questions, how fast you solve their problems, and how many issues you’re dealing with. It shows how well you’re helping customers after they buy.
  5. Social Media Ears: Listen to what people say about you on social media. Good or bad, it’s feedback. If someone’s not happy, you can try to make it right.
  6. Link Journeys and Feelings: Put together the customer journey map with how people feel at each step. See if the emotions match what you want them to feel.
  7. Ask Your Team: Your team members who talk to customers every day have great insights. Ask them what customers are saying and feeling.
  8. Compare with Others: Look at what other companies are doing. See if your customer experience is better or worse. It’s a good way to know where you can improve.
  9. Blend All the Data: Put all the info together from surveys, feedback, social media, and everywhere else. It gives you a complete view of how customers feel and what they’re experiencing.
  10. Never Stop Improving: Use all this info to make things better. Fix issues, create better products, and offer top-notch service. Keep going back to your journey map to keep it updated.

Wrap up!

Now that we have come to the end of the battle- Customer Journey vs. Customer Experience- it is very clear that there can’t be an ultimate winner. Both are crucial.
The customer journey isn’t just about steps. It’s the roadmap guiding customers to their destination. Meanwhile, customer experience is all about emotions and the lasting impact of each interaction.

Now, let’s take action! Identify touchpoints, gather data, listen to your customers, and never stop improving. Your brand’s journey and experience are in your hands.

Need guidance? SurveySparrow’s here to help you ace these game-changers. Try it out for free!

Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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