What is Customer Experience (CX) and how is it different from User Experience (UX)?

By October 14, 2017User Experience

I attended the CX Talks conference in Atlanta last week. It was a good event with lots of talented presenters and topics. I was primarily focused on hearing from other practitioners on the difference between Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX). Generally speaking, CX is the overarching practice of following the customer journey and elevating their experiences as they interact with a company.  Most professionals I spoke to don’t see CX as its own practice within an organization; they see it sitting across the organization.  For example, it touches marketing and sales as well as IT and HR.  It touches everywhere your customers reside both online and offline. It’s important to denote the word “customer” within CX because a customer may not only be an external customer, it can be an internal customer as well.

UX on the other hand, plays a significant role within CX and is more tactical. A great quote given from the event was, “CX drives emotion where as UX drives interaction.” Holistically we can say that UX sits within CX, along with other disciplines.  A great way to frame this is to consider your perspectives and interactions when you deal with a particular company. For example, let’s consider the process of ordering products online.  From the time you see an advertisement, or see a product you’re interested in buying, you are interfacing on the fringe of a company’s CX strategy. What drove you to consider the product? What kind of emotions did it surface? The goal of CX is to explore these emotions and to smooth the consumer path to purchasing products. Once you decide to go to the company’s website and view and start the ordering process, you are now in the UX realm.  In this scenario, the goal of UX is to make the process of ordering the product as easy, fast, and seamless as possible. CX was responsible for telling the story and capturing attention which ultimately steered you to making a decision. It goes beyond advertising because it evaluates the process and interactions a customer goes through as they interact with a company. It also leverages consumer behaviors and analytics which directly impacts messaging and how interfaces are designed.

This is a simple example but it’s important to shed some light on what distinguishes CX from UX and other disciplines. The reality is they all need to work together to tell a complete story which ultimately helps make it easy for consumers to find, evaluate, decide, buy, and engage with your products.

About the Author 

Jason Moccia has over 20 years of experience in the software development field is the CEO of OneSpring LLC (www.onespring.net). OneSpring helps companies to work smarter by providing an entirely new approach to designing software.