What’s the Difference Between CX and UX?

Companies across every industry are increasingly focused on understanding their audience and personalizing their experiences. How do they achieve this? Each element of the customer journey has become its own field of study, requiring careful analysis and optimization.

Originally, the term “user experience” (UX) covered every facet of an individual’s interactions with a company. As digital experiences grew in importance, marketers updated the language to have UX refer to the quality of connection between a user and the digital presence of an organization.

By contrast, customer experience (CX) was created as an umbrella term to encompass the totality of all interactions with an organization, digital and otherwise.

Defining CX vs. UX

Let’s take a closer look at how to further define CX and UX in a way that’s helpful and meaningful for your company.

CX: The Customer Experience

CX is a broad view of your target audiences overall interactions with your company. It’s an end-to-end view of the customer journey that captures the totality of their relationship with your company.

That’s why customer experience maps are so expansive - they involve so many aspects of your company: marketing, sales, purchasing, customer service, research and development, tech support, and more.

UX: The User Experience

UX is a more zoomed-in view that captures your digital users’ online experience. It’s about how they search for you, encounter and engage with your content, use your website, navigate your processes, and figure out how to come back for more.

Zoom in with UX. Zoom out with CX. It’s a natural pairing.

UX in Design and Discoverability

Today’s UX designers typically focus on a series of goal-driven tasks and the overall quality of digital interactions. For instance, a UX designer might ask a crucial online user-centered question like, “How can we improve our mobile navigation so people can find things more easily?”

Good UX design is about creating cohesive and enjoyable online experiences. UX designers must also be aware of the ways in which their work impacts existing features that are important to the company for other reasons, beyond the online world.

This means context is extremely important for a UX consultant or designer. To add context, they may ask complex questions like, “Does changing our web navigation improve discoverability and speed up our purchasing process? Would it improve our customer conversion rates?”

The Power of Consistently Excellent Experiences

Everyone and everything at a company impacts CX. That’s why successful and well-known brands tend to be CX-obsessed. Think about a company like Trader Joe’s, Harley Davidson, or Disney. Their employees are so highly focused on the customer that the customer experience generates fierce, long-term loyalty.

A Focus on Customer Centricity

Good CX and UX rely on a holistic view of your customers to optimize every touchpoint with your company. UX contributes to the richness of the customer’s online journey. CX extends beyond digital interactions and incorporates the customer’s full lifetime relationship with your company.

Three critical factors to creating positive customer experiences are knowing your customer, showing them that you know them, and doing something for them that makes their experience frictionless and personalized.

To learn more about understanding and improving your company’s CX, download our free ebook, Three Rules for CX Success.

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