This CX Mini Masterclass provides clarity on the difference between user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX). Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, provides a definition of each and then explains the roles of CX vs. UX teams and how their work can complement one another. If you are looking to understand the distinction between UX and CX, then this episode is for you.
Navigating the buzzwords
User experience (UX) is a buzzword in the business world. It’s sometimes confused with customer experience. As the field of customer experience continues to gain momentum, it’s important to understand how other disciplines like user experience fit into the picture, so that CX professionals can effectively collaborate with these teams and help business leaders understand what’s what.
Customer experience and user experience are related. We could think of them as cousins and good friends. Related, but still different. If we want to make a comparison between customer experience and user experience, the most logical place to start is with a definition of each.
On CX Day, the CXPA released a great video with a definition of customer experience. The definition that I use is similar to the CXPA. I cover this in detail in episode 14, but as a quick refresher, we can think of a brand’s customer experience as all the ways that a consumer interfaces with that particular brand. Customer experience is the combined effect of things like touchpoints, products, service support, communication, plus a whole bunch of other things.
While the definition of a brand’s customer experience is all encompassing, we must remember that as customers move through their lives, their individual journeys will include experiences beyond the confines of just one brand. Customer journeys don’t happen in a vacuum, they happen in the real world where people talk with their friends, read online reviews and interact with any number of other entities before or after they interface with your brand.
I’m pleased that the CXPA has provided some clarity around the definition of CX. The professional community needed this clarity, and it’s probably safe to say that the UX community could benefit form the same. There are a wide range of definitions out there. One of the most commonly referenced definitions is from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They’ve defined UX as a person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and or anticipated use of a product, system or service. We could also interpret this as how a customer feels about every interaction they have with what’s in front of them while they’re using it.
CX vs. UX
While UX and CX both pertain to a person’s interactions and their responses, user experience tends to look at this through the lens of an interaction with a particular system or touchpoint. And in practice, user experience assessment or user interface design normally hone in on an individual’s interactions with a specific thing. This makes UX essentially a subset of CX, and it explains why user experience maps often feel like a zoomed in look at a particular facet of the customer journey.
In the business world, UX has gained notoriety as a practice for improving user experiences in the digital space. The definition of user experience isn’t necessarily restricted to the digital realm, but this is why people so often associate user experience design with developing tech solutions.
It’s obvious that UX plays an important role in CX. With more and more of our experiences happening in the digital world, it’s crucial that UX and CX teams for work together. We don’t always need to think of things in terms of CX vs. UX. In fact there are many opportunities for the two fields of work to collaborate and complement each other. For example, CX teams can help UX teams understand the bigger picture by incorporating customer experience principles or the vision for the overall customer journey into UX design. UX teams can help organizations understand, create and refine experiences. The UX team might be the CX team’s best ally for establishing a robust insights-to-action feedback loop or instilling design thinking into a company’s way of working.
Want to keep learning about CX?
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
And if you are looking to super-charge your CX skills and continue learning, be sure to check out CX University. They have a great array of CXPA accredited training resources available on a flexible monthly subscription plan. Use the code PODCAST10 to get 10% off your first month’s subscription and support this podcast.
Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including B2B CX strategy) or get in touch via email.