Customer Journey vs Customer Experience (CX): Definitions & Differences

Customer journeys and customer experiences are both crucial to get right — but they aren’t the same thing. In this post, we break down why.
Published on: Nov 01, 2023
Last updated: Nov 02, 2023


  • Understanding customer journey and customer experience is essential for business success, as 73% of consumers prioritize experience in their purchasing decisions.
  • Customer journey maps touchpoints, while customer experience delves into emotional and psychological experiences.
  • Commonalities between them include customer focus, a holistic approach, continuous improvement, emotional connection, value creation, and data-driven decision-making.
  • Differences include the focus (functional vs. emotional), scope (linear vs. holistic), measurement (metrics vs. qualitative/quantitative), and outcome (improving conversions vs. enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty).
  • Customer journey examples include the steps customers take in purchasing or engaging with a brand, while customer experience examples illustrate the emotional aspects of those interactions.
  • Both concepts are crucial for shaping customer relationships, and businesses should continuously monitor and enhance them to drive growth.

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In the ever-evolving business landscape, understanding the factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions is crucial to success. This article will focus on two such factors - Customer Journey and Customer Experience (CX). These terms, while sometimes used interchangeably, have distinct meanings and implications for businesses. Our aim is to unpack these concepts, highlighting their differences and how they can be leveraged for effective customer engagement strategies.

Why is this important? Consider this: a recent survey revealed that 73% of consumers consider experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, ranking just behind price and product quality. This statistic underscores the critical role that both Customer Journey and CX play in shaping consumer behavior and driving business success. Join us as we delve deeper into these intriguing concepts, offering insights that could revolutionize your approach to customer engagement.

Before we begin, a little aside: We won't be covering customer experience and its benefits, customer journeys, or customer journey maps in this article, but you can find more information about these topics by reading these posts:

Customer journey vs customer experience: the similarities

While they each represent different aspects of the customer's interaction with a brand, they share several commonalities. The customer journey maps the various touchpoints a customer encounters with a company or brand, while customer experience delves into the emotional and psychological experiences during these interactions. Despite their unique focuses, there is a significant overlap between these two concepts, underscoring their shared objective of enhancing the customer's relationship with a brand.

  • Customer Focus: Both the customer journey and customer experience revolve around the customer. They emphasize understanding the customer's needs, desires, and behaviors to enhance their interaction with a brand or product.
  • Holistic Approach: Both concepts take into account the entire spectrum of a customer's interaction with a company, from the initial point of contact through the process of engagement to long-term relationships. They don't focus on isolated incidents but rather the complete experience. With 1 in 3 customers stating that they will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, the importance of a comprehensive approach to customer engagement cannot be overstated.
  • Continuous Improvement: Your customer journey and customer experience require continuous monitoring and improvement. Companies need to consistently evaluate how customers are interacting with their brand and make necessary changes to improve these interactions.
  • Emotional Connection: Both concepts recognize the importance of emotions in shaping customer behavior. They understand that a positive emotional connection can lead to higher customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Value Creation: Customer journey and customer experience both aim to create value for the customer. Whether it's by solving a problem, providing entertainment, or fulfilling a need, the ultimate goal is to provide something of value that enhances the customer's life.
  • Data-Driven: Both concepts rely heavily on data to understand customer behavior and preferences. This data is then used to make informed decisions to enhance the customer's experience or journey.

Customer journey vs customer experience: the differences

Now that we've covered the key similarities between customer journey and customer experience let's delve into the differences that set these two concepts apart.

  • Focus: Your customer journey refers to the series of steps a customer goes through when interacting with your company, from initial awareness through to purchase and beyond. It focuses on the functional aspects of this process. On the other hand, customer experience is about how a customer feels during these interactions. It delves into the emotional and psychological experiences that can shape a customer's perception of a brand.
  • Scope: A customer journey is typically linear, mapping out a specific path that customers take when engaging with a brand. It might include touchpoints like seeing an ad, visiting a website, or making a purchase. In contrast, customer experience is more holistic and takes into account every interaction a customer has with a brand across all channels and touchpoints over time.
  • Measurement: Customer journey is often evaluated using metrics like conversion rates or click-through rates at different stages of the journey. In contrast, customer experience is usually measured through qualitative feedback and quantitative metrics such as customer satisfaction score or Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Outcome: The goal of analyzing your customer journey is often to identify bottlenecks or pain points that can be addressed to improve conversions or sales. The aim of understanding customer experience, on the other hand, is to enhance overall customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can lead to long-term business growth.

Customer journey vs customer experience: examples

So, what does all of this mean in practice? Let's take a look at some examples illustrating the difference between customer experience and customer journey.

Customer Journey Examples:

  • A customer sees an ad for a product on Instagram, clicks on it, visits the company's website, reads reviews, adds the product to their cart, and completes the purchase. This entire process represents the customer journey.
  • A potential client hears about a consulting firm from a colleague, visits the firm's website, downloads a whitepaper, schedules a consultation, and eventually signs a contract. Each of these steps is part of the customer's journey with the firm.

Customer Experience Examples:

  • A customer walks into a store and is greeted by friendly staff, finds the store layout easy to navigate, gets helpful advice from a salesperson, and leaves feeling satisfied with their purchase. This positive experience can lead to repeat visits and word-of-mouth referrals.
  • A user downloads an app, finds the interface intuitive, enjoys its features, encounters no bugs or crashes, and receives prompt customer support when needed. This overall user experience can influence the user's ongoing engagement with the app and their willingness to recommend it to others.

While the customer journey focuses on the path customers take, the customer experience centers on their feelings at each step of that journey. Both play crucial roles in shaping the customer's relationship with a brand.


Your company’s customer journey and customer experience are two sides of the same coin, with each concept complementing the other. By understanding the key differences between these concepts, companies can take a more comprehensive approach to improving their interactions with customers and creating long-term value for their brands. By continuously monitoring and enhancing both the customer journey and customer experience, businesses can build strong relationships with their customers and drive business growth.

Sources used:

Sources Last Checked: October 27th, 2023


Shifa Rahaman

Content Marketing Manager


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