What Is Customer Experience and How Does It Differ from User Experience?

People often get confused about whether customer experience is the same as user experience. If yes, why two terms, and if not, why not? Is there any difference? how do I know what type of company I need to hire and what should I expect? Let’s try to put things back in their place.

User experience (UX) is USER experience. Wherever you have users, there is a need for great experience. This defines mostly digital products, where your customer is, usually, the one paying directly or indirectly for the product or service. User experience design can iterate a particular problem from the design perspective, until the solution is the best for the user. Think of designing the experience of using an app, like Wunderlist.

Customer experience (CX) focuses on a broader scope and is not limited by one problem. It encompasses a whole journey, defined by loads of problems along the entire experience chain. Customer experience consulting is more focused on things, real and physical, out of the realm of the digital world, where you can’t limit the impacts and design your way out of the issue with good experience, where you have constraints, outside influences, and a more complex chain of events. In this example, it would mean understanding the journey of task management and picking the highest impact point to act.

What is the difference between good UX and good CX?

When thinking of customer experience vs. user experience, think of a T shape. The horizontal spread is a good CX project, and the vertical length is a UX project. I would want my UX experts to go into a problem as much as possible, but I wouldn’t want my CX team to assess anything that is not important or has no effect. UX teams can’t make such decisions, as they are working on a well-defined problem.
A successful CX project encompasses the whole company and gives direction to several UX projects. A good CX company can provide an extensive brief to any of your UX projects. A well-executed UX project brings these ideas and directions to life, while maintaining the integrity of the whole CX strategy.

Can a UX company help in your CX needs?

Rarely. UX experts and their tools and experience work best when applied to a precisely defined problem. Application, a service, a product design, a product leaflet. That’s where they excel, and the iterative, no compromise understanding of how you perceive the solution and how you want to use it starts to make sense. Some UX experts coming from the design field, not the UI field, are excellent customer experience consultants, as they have a need for the bigger picture. There is also an overlapping in tools, but their application is different and requires a different mindset.

Can a good CX company help in your UX needs?

Barely. They, usually, have more strategic thinking, and good UX needs operational iteration, hands-on experience, with tools and measurements. You can’t spend the same time learning strategic issues and handling operational UX issues. Wireframing, prototyping, and user experience interviews are the follow-ups of a good customer experience project. A good CX company gives you a C-level direction on how your customers want to feel when experiencing your service or product. They help you identify the weakest links throughout the whole company and the most powerful changes, given strategic constraints. They map customer experience journeys throughout the entire organization and cooperate in training your people to understand the how horizontally wide a customer experience journey is. Beginning with company cars on the road, acting like jerks, to the cleaning crew showing up in customer space, and the service, being as it is.


Define your project and assign the right experts, as you might end up with the problem of “Good landing, wrong airport.”


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