Though the two terms are similar, user experience and customer experience are not the same. User experience is not the same as customer experience. Customer experience is the larger context, with UX being a part of it. CX signifies each step of the buyer’s journey: from the time they start comparing prices, to the actual trying of the product, right up to the time they contact customer services if their needs are not met.
Let’s first examine user experience in detail.
The UX refers to the experience of the user with a specific product; say, a website, or an app. Here it’s the interface design that matters the most: its ease of use, navigation, comprehension, information architecture, visual hierarchy, and so on, in combination, decide if the UX is awesome or blah.
So what a UX designer does, is ensure that the company/brand creates products that solve the pain points of users not only efficiently, but also in an enjoyable manner.
Now let’s take a look at what customer experience entails.
The scope of CX is larger than that of UX. It refers to the customer’s experiences with all the channels of the brand, including, but not limited to, a specific product, like an app or website. Think of it like a umbrella that encompasses all the channels and the products that make up the brand, and how the user feels about all of it.
Based on this, we can say that CX refers to how a customer feels about:
- Customer service
- Brand reputation
- Sales process
- Pricing of products
- Product delivery
- UX of each individual product
So what a CX consultant does, is aligning business policies and plans with the overall experience of a customer – keeping in mind, the happiness and satisfaction of the customer.
So let’s take a closer look at the differences:
UX vs. CX
User experience is usually measured by rate of success, rate of errors, rate of abandonment, time taken to complete task, and number of clicks to completion (digital).
Customer experience on the other hand, is measured by overall experience, probability of continuing use, and probability to recommend the brand to others.
Good digital UX enables a user to:
- Search for and find info on a website easily and fast
- Finish a task easily
- Search Web pages easily
Good CX enables a user to:
- Have an enjoyable, professional, supportive communication with the representatives of the organization
- Feel positive about the total experience with that organization and everything associated with it
Here are two examples that can help you understand the difference in a very simple manner:
Example 1: Bad UX & Good CX
Imagine you bought a vacuum cleaner for your car. You don’t have a car cleaning service close by, or you love primping up your car – whatever the reason is. The ad and the video demo you saw made it look very easy. However, when you started using the product, it didn’t work like you expected it at all. It needed to be assembled, and there were no proper instructions, and you could not figure out how to do it.
Fortunately, the company has a 24 hour helpline. You call them, all frustrated; they listen to you calmly, apologize profusely, and promise to send over a technician to help you within 24 hours – and a guy lands up at home within 12 hours. What’s more, they give you discount vouchers redeemable on your next purchase from the company. You smile.
Now what happened here exactly?
Your UX – specific experience with their specific product, was bad; but your interaction with the company, the customer service, the solution they provided (even the initial video demo) were all great, and in the end you’re happy – so, your customer experience – overall experience of the company, was great.
Example 2: Good UX & Bad CX
You have to travel, and want to buy air tickets; you feel it will be much simpler to download an airline’s app, search and book the tickets. You’ve never booked tickets through a mobile app before, but this app is great! The interface is intuitive and navigation clear and simple; the app loads and searches super quick, letting you find and book perfect tickets. Great!
But once you get to the airport, the story takes a turn for the worse: The check in process is time consuming thanks to skeleton staff present there; the attendants are unpleasant, staff is careless with your baggage, and the on-flight service sucks.
What happened here? You were delighted with a specific product – the app; but almost all other points of interaction with the brand were unpleasant, like a bad memory. Your specific app experience was great, but overall experience of the brand was not good, and you go away thinking you’ll never fly the airline again: good UX, bad CX!
To truly satisfy your customers, you need to provide consistent UX and CX experience.
Most customers interpret all experiences they have with the brand as the overall brand experience – they are either happy, or they are not.
However, UX strongly influences the overall CX. Essentially, user experience is just a subset of customer experience; to provide good CX, you need to take a holistic approach towards customer satisfaction. So how do we improve customer experience?
We would like to mention a few ways you can do this:
- Start before the customer buys your product : Do some research and check if your product can work better by making any changes to it – and I don’t mean just bug fixes. Innovate; try out new designs, make it more user friendly; test your product frequently. Try to think whether you can create a newer, better product that will solve your customers’ pain points more efficiently.
- Be found easily: Make it easy for customers to find your contact information (especially helpline) AND for them to actually contact you. Communication channels with your customers need to be easy and transparent. Allow them to give their feedback on your products without any hassles.
- Respond: When customers provide feedback, they are expecting a reply; customers like to be heard, but they also want to hear from you. This gives them the feeling that you have taken what they said seriously, and are actually going to do something about it. This will give them immense satisfaction.
- Combine channels appropriately: Providing a multi device experience always works; most people use more than one device for completing a single task. Incorporate this in the customer experience by linking customer service or relevant services or products at the right touchpoint.
- Provide context across teams: while customer service employees should not dictate the design of the product, they must be certainly asked for their inputs. By involving them in the design process, designers can get valuable insights on feasibility. They can also describe how they help realize the product promise and how they can save the situation when problems arise. With the help of the buyer journey maps, everyone can visualize the entire customer experience – thus being equipped to create great customer experience.
So which one is more important: UX or CX?
Well, it’s obvious by now, isn’t it? We want our customers to be happy at every single interaction they have with us, and not just with one app or site or software. We need them to smile when they think of our brand; have happy memories.
Customer experience is certainly more important than User experience!
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