In the realm of design and business, two crucial concepts are imperative to understand: User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX). While these terms might seem interchangeable, they represent different types of interactions that play pivotal roles in shaping the success of products and brands.
What is UX?
User Experience (UX) is about the specific interactions users have with a product or service. A “user” is someone who “uses” the product or service. That’s likely obvious, but this term is to distinguish itself differently from “customer,” which is associated with Customer Experience (CX).
To assess the UX of a product you may ask questions like:
- Was the product user-friendly? (usability)
- Was the product accessible? (accessibility)
- Was the product understandable? (user journey, knowing what to do)
- Was the product efficient? (user journey, time of use)
- How did I feel while using the product? (positive or negative)
When we think of an example of a positive UX design, Amazon may come to mind. They’ve nailed the user experience in making it super efficient to buy a product with 1-click. A lot of research went into that button design and placement. Sometimes I get nervous being on the Amazon website in fear I may click that button and make a purchase unintentionally (which I’ve done before)—or is that just me?
What is CX?
Customer Experience (CX), on the other hand, extends beyond the usage of a product or service. It involves the entire journey a customer undergoes with a brand, encompassing pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase interactions.
To asses the CX of a brand, you may ask questions like:
- How effective and consistent was the communication from the brand? (communication strategy)
- How well did the brand handle and resolve customer issues or complaints? (customer support)
- Was the online shopping experience seamless and user-friendly? (digital interaction)
- How efficient was the return or exchange process? (returns and exchanges)
- How clear were the policies and terms? (transparency)
An example of of CX design could be purchasing an Apple computer from the Apple store. When you walk into the store you’re greeted by an employee who offers guidance into what you’re looking for (customer support). You get connected with another employee to purchase the computer online right there on the spot (digital interaction). You leave the store with a receipt and are emailed a branded message to get you excited about your purchase (communication strategy). —There are far more touch points than this, but you can get the idea.
You can have the best website in the world, but if the customer support is terrible, branding won’t be perceived as good. Likewise you can have the best in-store experience, but if their app isn’t user-friendly, your brand won’t be perceived as good.
It’s very easy for organizations to put blame on one thing, such as their website, for the reason of business shortcomings; but all touch points need to work together in team in order for a brand to be successful. UX and CX cannot work in silos. They must work together.
Let’s recap the differences between UX and CX:
- UX is product-centric, focusing on the design and usability of a specific offering.
- CX is holistic, spanning across all interactions a customer has with a brand, involving multiple products and touch points.
- UX is often associated with the immediate experience of using a product.
- CX considers the entire customer journey over time, building relationships and loyalty.
- UX involves elements like navigation, aesthetics, and user satisfaction.
- CX incorporates broader elements such as brand perception, customer service, and overall satisfaction across various interactions.
Here are a few more examples:
1. Booking a Flight:
- UX: Navigating through a flight booking website, selecting seats, and completing the transaction seamlessly.
- CX: The entire travel experience, including check-in, in-flight service, and post-trip support, contributes to the overall customer experience.
2. E-commerce Shopping:
- UX: Browsing products, adding items to the cart, and a hassle-free checkout process.
- CX: The packaging, delivery speed, and customer service satisfaction contribute to the overall shopping experience.
In conclusion, understanding both UX and CX is essential for businesses aiming to create products and brands that resonate with users and customers. While UX focuses on the micro-interactions within a product, CX takes a macroscopic view, shaping the overarching narrative of a customer’s relationship with a brand. Balancing both is key to achieving enduring success in today’s competitive landscape.