Customer Experience Is Not User Experience (And Why This Distinction Matters)

by | Mar 23, 2017 | Customer Experience

User experience (UX) is not customer experience (CX). CX spans everything from the perceptions customers build using a company’s web store to customer service, product trials and more. How are the two interlinked and how can good UX improve overall CX?

Defining User Experience

UX is the customer or user’s interaction with a product (such as desktop software). The combined experiences of using software (e.g. navigation and information organisation) create the user’s experience.

UX designers need to take each element into account when building a product or service so as to solve their customers’ needs. The UX designer ideally helps customers achieve their goals with minimum friction.

Defining Customer Experience

CX consists of all the customer’s experiences with a brand, not only its products. CX includes customer support, brand advertising, brand trust, the sales funnel, pricing and more. While a UX designer works to make the UX meet customers’ needs, CX designers help businesses adjust strategies in the above areas to form a better overall experience.

How UX and CX Differ

UX can be great and CX appalling, and vice versa. Take two examples: 

1.Frustrating UX and satisfying CX

Frustrating or ‘bad’ UX thwarts the user’s aims. Picture a budgeting app. If UX is bad, the user might have no idea where to input figures. Yet when they phone support, they’re guided through their task and receive ‘pro’ level features in apology for the frustration. This is a satisfying customer experience that helps to turn frustrating UX around. 

2.Satisfying UX but appalling CX

Things happen the other way, too. Say you download an app to find flat accommodation by preferred price range. The app’s navigation is easy to use and everything just works. This is good UX. When you get to your apartment, though, there’s nobody to give you the key. When you finally do get in, it’s not at all as described – everything is filthy. This is bad CX. Even though the app promised reliability and ease, customer experience made the goodwill created by user experience disappear.

UX and CX must thus provide consistent satisfaction.

Four Elements Of UX That Benefit CX

It is possible to improve CX using UX.

  1. Make it easy for customers to give feedback. Being heard is crucial to a customer
  2. Give feedback to customers insights – this is an integral part of customers feeling heard
  3. Make sure customers can easily instant message with reps on your website as well as social and other channels. Make cross-channel interaction as seamless as possible
  4. Make teams involved in all aspects of UX share knowledge – when team members are in silos, useful information about the customer journey gets lost instead of implemented

UX isn’t CX: it’s one element of it. Make sure you use UX to build a better overall CX and consult with CX specialists to make sure your strategies in each area build a consistent experience.

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