UX vs CX: More than Just Buzzwords

UX vs CX: More than Just Buzzwords

User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) have risen as the hottest buzzwords in the digital environment for some time now. By now, you must have heard how UX and CX are key to a business’s survival strategy: retaining customer loyalty.

But maybe, you are still unsure what the difference between the two really is, or why can’t you just focus on one of them? It is true that UX and CX seem similar because both focus on the experience. These terms might be intertwined – but they are not interchangeable

What is UX

User Experience pays attention to how people interact with your products or services. It focuses on how to deliver the best overall experience that users can get from that interaction. The product could be in many forms, such as websites, mobile apps, and some sort of software. While UX today is mostly nestled within the digital realm, actually organisations can hire UX designers to develop non-digital products as well. 

Be it an app interface or smart TV, UX’ focus is solely on a product’s usability. No matter how beautiful your site visually is, users won’t come back if they find it difficult to navigate and find what they’re looking for. In other words, a good UX design is rich with interactions that are simple and easy to use, so users can find information easily and quickly. First impressions matter and this is why UX is vital, because users decide within only a few seconds whether your product is worth their time or not.  

What is CX

Customer Experience casts a much wider net than UX as it involves all of the interactions a customer has with all aspects of a brand. A good CX can be measured by looking at the customer’s overall experience and possibility to continue to interact with and recommend a brand to others. This way, CX encompasses UX and contains aspects beyond singular product or service. 

As the name suggests, CX’ focus is solely on customer’s perceptions towards an organisation. That being said, CX designers should create an interaction design that will meet or even exceed customer’s expectations in order to boost satisfaction and loyalty. People learn from experience and this is why CX becomes vital. Customers no longer base their loyalty on product or price, but the experience they receive instead. It means that CX influences (both positively or negatively) the likelihood that a customer will either repeat transactions with a company or round out. 

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What’s the difference?

According to Caroline White from Usability Geek, there are five notable differences between UX and CX: 

  1. UX designers can come from a variety of backgrounds, such as technical, design, or psychology. Meanwhile, CX designers typically come from a marketing background because generating leads and sales is among the main goals of CX. 
  2. As mentioned earlier, CX aims to boost revenues via advertising, improving customer service and creating a stronger brand. While UX design needs to be based on these points too, the main focus remains on product or service’s usability as the customer’s primary way of getting there.
  3. In the diagram above, we can see that CX looks at the whole experience including all channels of the brand. On the other hand, UX is more specific, tending to focus on a particular app or website.
  4. The term UX is often referring to digital products, whereas CX is traditionally a term used more in service-related industries such as hospitality or retail, where they would implement ideas such as service mapping and customer loyalty schemes.
  5. To develop the best interaction design, CX designers typically observe a large number of people to see what they think of a product or service. Meanwhile, UX places more emphasis on getting to know smaller groups of people really well.

How do they complement each other?

Good UX + bad CX

You have a pleasant experience ordering your lunch on a food delivery app, but it takes a LONG TIME to reach a customer service agent about a refund when things don’t go right.

Bad UX + good CX

You find software’s navigation is uniquely complicated, but they have friendly customer agents that provide great services to solve your problem.

UX is a crucial part of CX, meaning that they work together in many ways. The ultimate purpose of both practices is to drive customer’s level of satisfaction when interacting with a company. While greatly intertwined, UX and CX can work separately. However, business leaders should know that in order to create a lasting and profitable interaction, UX and CX must go hand-in-hand. If a user is not happy with a product, they are not likely to have a great perception of that company as a whole. Conversely, if a customer is not happy with a company’s purchasing agents, there’s a good chance they will repeat the interaction in the future.

Which is more important?

Smooth UX is the foundation of a great CX.

Both practices are significant as they affect the sustainability of a customer’s relationship with an organisation. In essence, the most important thing is to get to know who your customers or users are and listen to their needs. The key is to find the balance that works for your business. To make sure you are making the right investments in both CX and UX, ask your customers! 

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