Customer Experience Management vs Customer Relationship Management

Customer Experience Management vs Customer Relationship Management cover

Customer experience management vs customer relationship management?

Both are important for affecting your customers, but what exactly are they, and how do they differ?

Read on to find out their key differences and how they work together to help grow your product.


  • CEM focuses on the entire user journey with a brand, addressing needs and expectations at all touchpoints.
  • CRM uses specialized software to manage customer relationships, analyze data, and improve outcomes by personalizing services and expecting customer needs.
  • CRM aims to increase sales, retain customers, and enhance satisfaction through managing customer relationships. While CEM focuses on improving customer experience to build loyalty.
  • CEM covers the entire customer journey from awareness to post-purchase, ensuring a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints, while CRM optimizes company-customer interactions.
  • CRM focuses on immediate, transactional aspects using current data and sales interactions, while CEM adopts a long-term perspective, encompassing the entire user journey from pre-purchase to post-purchase.
  • CEM extends to feedback and sentiment analysis for a comprehensive understanding of customer experiences, while CRM uses customer data for personalized interactions and targeted marketing.
  • CRM is business-oriented, focusing on organizational goals, while CEM is customer-centric, starting from the customer’s perspective.
  • CEM employs a wider range of tools like feedback, analytics, and journey mapping to enhance the customer experience, while CRM systems use software platforms for managing user data and automating marketing and sales.
  • CRM data with CEM insights enables a more comprehensive understanding of each customer, facilitating personalization.
  • CEM uses journey maps to understand the customer experience, with CRM data aiding in identifying key touchpoints.
  • CRM systems use data to personalize interactions, which CEM leverages to align every touchpoint with individual preferences.
  • Integrating CEM feedback data into CRM systems offers a comprehensive view of customer sentiment, enabling proactive customer relationship management.
  • CRM data tracking customer behavior and preferences over time is used by CEM for iterative improvements in customer retention strategies.
  • If you want a CEM that can help tailor your customer experience, collect user feedback, and provide personalized experiences, book a demo with Userpilot now.

What is customer experience management (CEM)?

Customer Experience Management is an approach that focuses on creating and managing a customer’s journey with a brand.

It involves understanding and addressing the customer’s needs, preferences, and expectations at every touchpoint across various channels.


CEM aims to enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, customer management, and advocacy by delivering consistently positive experiences through collecting customer feedback, analyzing user interactions, and implementing improvements based on these insights.

What is customer relationship management (CRM)?

Customer Relationship Management focuses on understanding, managing, and enhancing company interactions and customer relationships.

It involves using specialized software that collects, stores and analyzes customer information — from personal details to purchase history and interaction data.


The core aim of CRM software is to improve business relationships, ensure user retention, and drive sales growth. CRM provides a clear view of each customer. It enables businesses to personalize their services and communications, anticipate customer needs, and respond more effectively to customer inquiries, direct feedback, and issues.

Key differences between CRM and CEM

While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience Management (CEM) are crucial in shaping a business’s interaction with its customers, they differ significantly in their approach and focus.

This section delves into the distinct characteristics of both CRM and CEM, highlighting how each contributes uniquely to the user journey.

Different objectives

CRM and CEM have distinct goals crucial for business growth and customer satisfaction.

CRM focuses on increasing sales, retaining customers, and enhancing satisfaction through personalized customer relationship management. It uses customer data to customize interactions, marketing, and services to boost loyalty and revenue.

Conversely, CEM seeks to improve the customer experience beyond satisfaction, creating memorable brand interactions. This approach builds brand loyalty, fosters great customer relationships and advocacy, and fuels long-term business growth.

Focus and scope

CRM and CEM offer different approaches to customer interactions.

The CRM software manages and optimizes company-customer interactions, tracking customer information and history to improve future dealings. It focuses on direct interactions like sales, customer service, and marketing to boost relationships, satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.

On the other hand, CEM has a broader scope, covering the entire customer journey across all touchpoints, from initial awareness to post-purchase. It aims to create a seamless customer experience, anticipating and fulfilling customer expectations and needs at every stage for a cohesive journey.


CRM and CEM differ in their operational timeframes, reflecting their customer interaction strategies.

CRM is more transactional and immediate, focusing on the present. It deals with current user data, interactions, and sales opportunities, aiming to respond efficiently to customer needs and capitalize on current transactions for immediate sales.

This approach is essential for rapid daily decision-making in customer service, deal closures, and marketing.

Conversely, CEM takes a long-term perspective, considering the customer journey, including pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase stages. Its goal is to provide a satisfying experience throughout the customer’s entire lifecycle with the brand.

Customer data

CRM and CEM both use customer data but in different ways.

CRM relies on demographics, purchase history, and preferences to personalize interactions. This approach helps businesses tailor communications and offerings to individual needs, increasing sales and repeat business.

CEM also uses customer data but goes beyond transactional information. It includes feedback and sentiment analysis to understand customers’ feelings about their overall experience with a brand. This broader data range covers opinions on service quality, product satisfaction, and website usability.

CEM focuses on the emotional and subjective aspects of the customer journey, aiming to enhance the overall experience.

Different perspectives

CRM and CEM differ in their perspectives on customer interactions and business strategies.

The CRM system is more business-oriented, starting with the organization’s needs and goals, like boosting sales, enhancing efficiency, and refining marketing strategies. It analyzes user data and interactions, focusing on how they can advance the business’s objectives.

Conversely, CEM is customer-centric, beginning with the customer’s perspective. It involves empathizing with customers, recognizing their expectations and customizing experiences to their needs. The goal is to create a memorable journey that improves customer loyalty.

Tools and technology

CRM and CEM use different technologies to meet their goals, expressing their distinct focuses.

CRM systems, primarily software platforms, manage user data, track and analyze customer interactions, and automate marketing and sales processes, organizing data and streamlining communications to aid sales.

In contrast, CEM employs a broader range of tools like user feedback platforms, analytics tools, and journey mapping software. These technologies understand and improve the customer experience.

For example, feedback platforms analyze customer opinions, analytics tools track behaviors and trends, and journey mapping software visualizes the customer journey. Userpilot, a CEM tool, personalizes user experiences based on behavior, collecting feedback to enhance satisfaction.

How CRM and CEM work together

Understanding how Customer Relationship Management and Customer Experience Management complement and strengthen each other is crucial.

This section delves into the relationship between CRM and CEM, exploring how their integration can create a more complete and practical approach to managing customer interactions and experiences.

Customer data integration

Integrating Customer Relationship Management and Customer Experience Management strategies through user data is key to enhancing customer experiences. CRM systems excel in collecting and storing user data, optimizing interactions, and enhancing marketing and sales efforts.

By incorporating CRM data into CEM analysis, businesses gain a more comprehensive view of the customer journey. This integration provides insights into customers’ histories and preferences, allowing CEM to contextualize experiences and exceed customer expectations based on past brand interactions.

Combining CRM data with CEM insights results in more personalized and contextually relevant customer experiences. Understanding the ‘what’ and ‘when’ from CRM and the ‘why’ and ‘how’ through CEM enables businesses to create deeper, more resonant customer engagements.

Customer journey mapping

Creating customer journey maps is a key part of Customer Experience Management, enabling a better understanding of the end-to-end customer experience. Integrating Customer Relationship Management data into this process enhances effectiveness.

With insights into customer interactions, preferences, and behaviors, CRM data helps to identify specific touchpoints where customers engage with the company. This integration allows businesses to highlight successful interactions and areas needing improvement in the customer journey.

A digram of a customer journey mapping that plays a role in Customer Experience Management vs Customer Relationship Management
Customer journey mapping.

Personalization of customer interactions

The synergy between Customer Relationship Management and Customer Experience Management enhances customer interaction personalization.

CRM systems use customer data to personalize interactions, segmenting customers by behavior, preferences, and purchase history for relevant, personalized messaging. This data helps understand customer values and interaction preferences.

CEM then extends this personalization to every customer touchpoint, aligning them with individual needs and preferences.

This approach covers the entire customer journey, from browsing to purchasing to post-purchase support, ensuring a response to individual customer profiles. Such personalized experiences increase customer engagement and satisfaction, making them feel understood by the brand.

Maximizing customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

Aligning CRM and CEM strategies with broader business goals is essential for maximizing customer satisfaction and loyalty. CRM focuses on customer relationships and retention, and CEM aims to create positive experiences.

They work together to retain customers through efficient service and foster deep satisfaction and loyal customers through memorable brand interactions.

Customer feedback and sentiment analysis

Integrating CEM feedback into CRM systems improves understanding of customer sentiments and relationship management.

CEM collects feedback through surveys, reviews, and direct responses for insight into customer perceptions.

CRM systems automate processes and then manage and track this feedback for analysis and action, enabling timely responses to customer concerns and showing their opinions are valued.

Adding CEM feedback to CRM data provides a full view of customer sentiment, merging transactional and feedback data. This allows for anticipating customer needs, customizing communication, and deciding to enhance overall customer satisfaction.

An example of gathering customer feedback and sentiment analysis as part of Customer Experience Management vs Customer Relationship Management
Collect customer feedback and sentiment analysis with Userpilot. Coming to Userpilot in Q1 2024.

Improving customer retention

The collaboration between CRM and CEM enhances customer engagement and loyalty.

CRM systems effectively monitor customer behavior and preferences changes, including purchase patterns and marketing responses. This data provides insights into customer values, needs, and potential dissatisfaction.

CEM uses CRM data to improve customer retention strategies and identify areas to enhance experiences. Integrating CRM’s detailed data with CEM’s customer journey focus enables more targeted and effective retention strategies. These include personalized offers, better customer service, or product and service adjustments based on user feedback and behavior trends.

An example of a customer retention report as part of Customer Experience Management vs Customer Relationship Management
Analyze customer retention with Userpilot.


Your first thought could be customer experience management vs. customer relationship management. But both are pivotal concepts for your SaaS.

Separately, they bring power advantages; CEM focuses on enhancing a customer’s overall journey with a brand. CRM is more about managing and optimizing direct customer interactions, using detailed data to personalize engagements and drive sales.

Together, they enhance individual customer interactions and contribute significantly to long-term business growth and customer loyalty.

Want to get started with a CEM? Book a demo with Userpilot now and see how to collect customer feedback, monitor customer behavior, and personalize the user experience.

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