Customer engagement vs customer experience: The differences and how they go hand-in-hand

The terms customer engagement and customer experience are often used synonymously. Though they are interrelated, and both customer experience and engagement are critical elements of business growth that encourage customer loyalty, they are not the same. 

In this blog, we’ll demystify these often misunderstood buzzwords and break down the differences between customer experience and engagement. To start, let's understand what each one means.

Customer engagement vs customer experience

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.

Customer engagement is achieved 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.

Customer experience, on the other hand, 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 engagement vs customer experience: The main differences

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

Customer experience
Customer engagement
What the customer goes throughWhat 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


Customer engagement and customer experience: Better together

So far we've discussed the difference between customer engagement and customer experience. Now let's understand the relationship between the two.

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 between customer engagement and customer experience better with an example.

The relationship between customer experience and engagement

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 both customer experience and engagement seriously.

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 blog to learn how to build an effective customer engagement plan and measure its results.

On the other hand, 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 experience with your brand will make customers want to continue to do business with you. Simply put, a great customer experience leads to further engagement, brand loyalty, and advocacy.

Customer engagement trends

The right tool to enhance your customer engagement and experience 

Now that we’ve given you a lowdown on customer engagement vs customer experience and the unique advantages of each, let’s look at how Zoho SalesIQ, a comprehensive customer engagement software, can help you perfect both. 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! That's not all. SalesIQ also provides a free live chat software with all the basic features you need to start with.


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