The difference between customer engagement and customer experience, and how they go hand-in-hand

Difference between customer service and customer engagement

The terms “customer engagement” and “customer experience” are often used synonymously. Though they are interrelated, and both are critical elements of business growth that encourage customer loyalty, they are not the same. Customer engagement is what the brand does to build and maintain a healthy relationship with customers, while customer experience is what the customer goes through in their journey with the brand.

In this blog, we’ll demystify these often misunderstood buzzwords and break down the differences between customer experience and customer engagement.

Difference between customer service and customer engagement

What is customer engagement?

Customer engagement is the process of building and maintaining a healthy relationship with customers through proactive, continuous, valuable, and timely communication. This communication can take place on multiple channels, like websites, mobile apps, community forums, help desks, email, social media, and instant messaging apps.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience is your customers’ impression of their journey with your brand at all digital and physical touchpoints. These touchpoints include interactions with your product or service, as well as your people.

Customer experience management (CXM) is the process of monitoring every customer touchpoint and implementing strategies to ensure consistently positive customer experiences. Read our in-depth learn article on customer experience to know more.

Customer engagement vs customer experience: The main distinction

Though they’re essentially two sides of the same coin, there are key differences between customer experience and customer engagement. Clearly understanding these differences will help you build positive and lasting customer relationships.

Customer experience
Customer engagement
What the customer goes through What the brand does
Involves meeting, or ideally, exceeding customer expectations. Involves providing something of value beyond your products and services.
Subjective, since each customer’s perception and expectations vary. Objective (but personalized), since it’s based on the company’s interactions.
A result of customers’ past interactions with you. A process that gets customers involved and encourages them to interact with you in the future

The importance of customer experience

No matter how affordable your pricing is, how well you market your products, or how much you try to engage your customers, only a good customer experience will make customers want to continue to do business and engage with you.

Simply put, a great customer experience leads to great customer engagement, brand loyalty, and advocacy.

How to measure customer experience

    • Conduct customer satisfaction surveys.

    • Determine your churn rate and identify reasons for churn.

    • Analyze customer support tickets.

The importance of customer engagement

Today’s customers have a lot of options at their fingertips. They can easily educate themselves, and often make purchases based on their own research. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re on their mind consistently. It needs to be clear that you value your relationship with your buyers—not just the money they spend. Here’s what great customer engagement can do for you:

    • Provide valuable customer feedback and insights on customer expectations

    • Improve customer experience

    • Strengthen brand loyalty and advocacy, especially in conjunction with a great customer experience

Check out our detailed blog on building an effective customer engagement plan and measuring its results.

Customer engagement and customer experience: Better together

As we’ve discussed, customer experience and customer engagement are different but symbiotic.

Customer experience and customer engagement

Improving customer engagement and providing a great product or service will lead to a positive customer experience. And when they have a great experience, customers are more likely to engage with your brand.

Let’s understand this symbiotic relationship better with an example.

Say you’ve been facing frequent issues with your internet connection. Despite a lot of back and forth, and multiple technician visits, the issue remains unsolved. Though you’re considering changing service providers, they target you with emails and messages containing helpful offers, internet safety tips, and more. Would you care about these engagement attempts? 

It’s more likely that you’ll be talking to your friends about the bad experience you had— not the helpful content you received from the provider.

 At the same time, a product that satisfies all your requirements with seamless support and reasonable pricing still might not keep you hooked. Unless you’re invested in the brand, you’re likely to try another brand that offers the same benefits at a better price.

Customers make choices that decide the fate of a business. So businesses can’t afford not to take customer engagement and customer experience seriously.

Customer engagement trends

The right tool to enhance your customer relationships

Now that we’ve covered the differences between customer experience and customer engagement and the unique advantages of each, let’s look at how Zoho SalesIQ, comprehensive customer engagement software, can help you get ahead. Here are some highlights of what you can do with SalesIQ:

    • Assist customers with live chat, audio calling, and screen sharing on your website. Extend these services with mobile SDK and IM channels, like Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

    • Connect customers with the right agents using chat routing, and collect feedback on their interactions with you.

    • Automate most of your customer engagement processes with AI and codeless chatbot builders. SalesIQ also features guided chatbot builders with an option to add AI bot capabilities to create hybrid chatbots.

    • Analyze and improve customer experience with a 360-degree view of your customers, with details like support information, purchase and interaction history, feedback, and stage in the customer lifecycle.

    • Gain all the insights needed to measure and improve customer engagement.

What are you waiting for? Take Zoho SalesIQ for a spin now. Your first 15 days are on us!

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