CX and UX: Building Synergies for Higher Business Impact

With experience in both UX and CX domains, I frequently encounter questions about the distinctions between the two. This blog delves into the primary differences between customer experience and user experience, uncovering how they collaborate to generate synergy within a business.

In 1993, Don Norman, founder of the Nielsen Norman Group and former Apple VP, created the phrase “user experience” (UX). The term “customer experience” (CX) was first used by Tony Hillson of Service Design in New Zealand more than two decades later.

However, according to Nielsen Norman Group, the initial meaning of user experience was akin to what is now known as customer experience, and the term user experience has grown to reflect a more particular and functional type of interaction. For a long time, they have referred to customer experience as user experience.

While user experience and customer experience are not new terms in the digital age, they are frequently mistaken and used interchangeably. While not mutually exclusive, we can see some significant differences between customer experience and user experience, along with how they go hand-in-hand in an organization.

What is Customer Experience (CX) ?

Customer experience comprises all interactions a person has with your brand. It might be judged in terms of overall experience and probability to continue use or suggest to others. According to Techjury, businesses that focus on enhancing customer experience see an 80% increase in revenue. Likewise, 86% of customers are willing to pay extra for a better customer experience. Hubpost’s State of Customer Service Report demonstrated that 93% of service teams think that customers now have higher expectations than ever before.

What is User Experience (UX) ?

User experience refers to how people engage with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction. Usability, navigation, information architecture, learnability, and visual hierarchy are some of the factors that influence user experience. Remember that users are not always customers. To illustrate, website traffic are users, which also includes customers and visitors. That’s why any digital products provide free plans in the hopes that they would convert to paying customers.

Customer Experience vs. User Experience

Whatever the terms originally meant, we can now clearly distinguish customer experience and user experience in terms of the target audience, objectives, activities, measurement, and industry niches. Here are the details:

1. Target Audience

Although businesses can gain from improving customer service and user experience, campaigns often have different target audiences. Customer experience professionals serve individuals with purchasing power, whereas user experience specialists cater to those who utilize the product.

2. Objectives

Customer experience focuses on pleasing customers at every level of the brand experience. On the contrary, user experience goals are centered on enhancing product design and usability from start to finish.

3. Activities & Tasks

Due to the aforementioned goals, user experience activities may involve the following:

  • Create a single-interaction platform, like a website, a phone service, or a digital tool
  • Conduct product research as well as develop user personas
  • Create specifications and prototypes
  • Use feedback from end users to test and iterate on design versions
  • Make use of the best practices and expert knowledge from broader experience to build useful and seamless experiences
  • Collaborate with product owners, product managers, developers, and graphic designers to advocate for the end user at all stages of development

Customer experience activities turn out to be broader. In addition to the user experience practices listed above, customer experience professionals are also in charge of:

  • Researching and mapping out customer journeys that include many touch points throughout an omnichannel space
  • Utilizing market research and voice of the customer methodologies to gain a thorough grasp of customer expectations, emotions, aversions, and drives
  • Investigating customer experience on a relationship level, taking into account the cumulative influence of many touchpoints, impressions, and interactions
  • Working with all levels of an organization to understand business and customer goals
  • Developing high levels of customer service, support, communication, and transparency to provide a positive customer experience

4. Metrics

There is no one-size-fits-all method to measure the consumer experience. However, as previously mentioned, it boils down to how pleased your customers are and how likely they are to refer you to a friend. Below are some customer experience measures to consider:

  • Customer satisfaction: It refers to the degree to which a customer is happy with your brand based on interactions with your company
  • Net Promoter Score®: It is a measure of customer loyalty and how possible a person is to tell about your company
  • Churn rate & reasons for churn: This measurement focuses on the number of customers your company loses in a particular time (and reasons)

Unlike customer experience, user experience necessitates measurement of your products’ usability. Some prominent metrics for measuring it are:

  • Website/Page load speed: It is the length of time it takes for your website to show content
  • Time on task: It refers to the amount of time it takes your customers to complete a task.
  • Adoption rate: It is the proportion of new users to total users of a product or service.

5. Industry niches

Customer experience is commonly associated with service-oriented businesses such as retail and hospitality. Conversely, user experience is more directly tied to companies that create digital experience with digital products such as websites and apps. While both areas can be both present industries, it is critical for businesses to create synergies between them.

How Do Customer Experience and User Experience Work Together?

Customer experience and user experience are both centered around the satisfaction level that a customer has while interacting with a business; both pay attention to different aspects of the overall customer experience.

If customers are dissatisfied with a product, they are unlikely to have a positive perception of the business as a whole. If, on the other hand, they are unhappy with a company’s marketing or purchasing journey, it is likely that they won’t want to interact with a product or service supplied by that brand.

Since the ultimate objective is to keep a consistent image and message across the whole customer experience, which is increasingly digital, excellent user experience across all platforms is essential to customer experience. After conducting in-depth surveys with 396 corporate decision-makers, Forrester discovered that 63% of businesses surveyed intended to improve the customer experience through enhancing the online customer experience. In other words, they intended to increase their customer experience through improved user experience.

Companies may guarantee their consumers’ ultimate happiness and contentment by improving their user experience, which in turn enhances their total customer experience, and by doing this, they are also building a long-lasting and customer-centric competitive edge.

Create seamless synergy between your CX and UX functions

In todays business landscape, leveraging and creating synergy between User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) is crucial for success. While distinct in their objectives and audiences, these disciplines collaborate to shape the overall perception of a brand and its products. By aligning their efforts, sharing insights, and adopting a customer-centric approach, organizations can unlock the full potential of UX and CX to drive customer loyalty, growth, and lasting competitive advantage. 

1. Unified Vision

Align your UX and CX teams with a shared vision of delivering exceptional experiences. When both teams work toward the same goal, the overall customer journey becomes more cohesive.

2. Continuous Communication

Promote open communication between UX and CX teams. Regular meetings, brainstorming sessions, and cross-team collaborations can uncover insights that enhance both disciplines.

3. Data Sharing

Share data and insights between teams. CX data can provide valuable context for UX decisions, and UX data can shed light on pain points that affect the overall customer experience.

4. Design Thinking Approach

Adopt a design thinking approach that integrates both UX and CX principles. This holistic approach ensures that products are designed not only for usability but also to meet the emotional and functional needs of customers.

5. Collaborative Feedback Loops

Create feedback loops that involve both UX and CX teams. Insights from customer interactions gathered by the CX team can guide UX improvements, and UX enhancements can positively impact the overall customer journey.

6. Customer-Centric Culture

Foster a customer-centric culture within the organization. When employees at all levels prioritize the customer's needs and expectations, it naturally benefits both UX and CX efforts.

Companies should keep encouraging both teams to continually refine their processes based on user and customer feedback, and should embrace an iterative approach that allows for adjustments and enhancements over time.

If you have struggled to make the most of the advantages of both customer experience and user experience, We can help you put those benefits into practice with the appropriate methodology, metrics, and technology to increase revenue growth through user and customer satisfaction. Although it won’t be simple, you will find that your investment will be worthwhile once you see how your customer retention efforts are influenced.


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