Customer Journey and Experience are often used as synonyms, but this misunderstanding can lead to gross errors.
The Customer Journey: the path the company sets for everyone.
The Customer Journey is made up of successive stages involving specific touchpoints and tools. The general company-wide view of the path customers can take to reach their goals. The company defines the journey. It is the same for all service users and it is the base on which many personal experiences happen.
The Customer Journey is the succession of stages and touchpoints that customers encounter during their relationship with a service, a product, or a brand, from the first meeting until the end.
It is mapped with a Customer Journey Map that lists the stages of the process, the actions planned for each step, the channels and touchpoints available from time to time, and the generic needs that people can satisfy.
The experience: a personal journey to satisfy a need.
In the contemporary economy, the actual product is the experience that consumers buy through the products and services they choose.
Experience qualifies as an internal process: an individual combination of perceptions, emotions, memories, responses, and knowledge related to the satisfaction of a need.
Experience is what a person feels when interacting with a product, system, service, or brand before (the expectation), during (the relationship), and after (the memory) the purchase or use.
In this article, we will focus on the lived experience, which happens when a person performs an action situated in time and related to accomplishing a functional task to satisfy a need.
The experience is typically mapped in the Experience Map or similar design deliverables that track the tasks, actions, and processes individuals perform to solve their needs.
The Customer Journey is a sequence of solutions to a person’s specific needs, while the experience is the individual and particular way the person achieves their goal.
The Customer Journey is designed, and the experience is not.
A Customer Journey is a process of physical or digital touchpoints arranged in succession. Each of these can be designed, and so can the whole sequence. The experience, on the contrary, happens and therefore cannot be created. Instead, it can be influenced by the context and the points at which it is generated. In other words, it can be influenced by the Customer Journey.