User Experience vs. Customer Experience

User Experience vs. Customer Experience

Both user experience and customer experience are important considerations in keeping your business competitive. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different aspects of how your business interacts with your customers.

Though both of these improvements keep your customers satisfied and help your business grow, it’s important to understand the differences between user experience vs. customer experience.

The Value of the Experience

A shift in the market has led to a revolution in the customer service industry that has customers more interested in the experience with a business than with its products. While many large corporations have been able to promise the world to a customer without any follow-through, the availability of information online has forced many to put more effort into customer experience to stay on top. Empty promises threaten to damage a brand’s reputation beyond repair.

User Experience vs. Customer Experience: Differences

User experience (UX) has been around for a while now. It relates more to digital products and services, and refers to all aspects of the end user’s interaction with a company, its services and its products.

Generally, user experience may refer to any or all of the following:

  • Interface.
  • Usability.
  • Information architecture.
  • Navigation.
  • Comprehension.
  • Learnability.
  • Visual hierarchy.

The goal of user experience is to make the products and services that solve a problem accessible in an efficient and easy way for the end user.

Customer experience (CX) is a newer term that relates more to service industries, such as retail or hospitality, where customer loyalty or service mapping are prioritized. It refers to the way customers perceive their interactions with your business over the duration of your relationship. This includes awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases and service.

Generally, customer experience may refer to any or all of the following:

  • Customer service.
  • Advertising.
  • Brand reputation.
  • Sales process.
  • Fairness of pricing.
  • Product delivery.
  • Individual product UX.

Ultimately, the goal of customer experience is to align business strategies with the overall satisfaction of the customer.

The primary difference between them is that UX generally focuses on the end user, or the person using the product or service, while CX focuses primarily on the customer. In many cases, the end user and the customer are the same person, but end user could apply to those using a product or service purchased by someone else.

For example, an executive may be approving a product for use by frontline employees. This makes the executive the customer, but not the end user. In this case, customer experience is vital to getting the sale from the executive, but the frontline employees need positive user experience to get the most from the product.

Other Notable Differences

Though the user in mind is the main difference between user experience vs. customer experience, there are a few other general differences:

  • Customer experience professionals usually come from a marketing background, while user experience professionals come from many different backgrounds, such as technical or psychological.
  • Customer experience is mainly focused on boosting revenue with customer service improvements, advertising campaigns or brand reputation management. User experience is more concerned with usability and the way to improve it.
  • Customer experience includes all aspects of a customer’s experience and all the channels of a brand, such as websites and social media. User experience usually focuses on one aspect, such as a website or app, and how its usability affects the user.
  • Customer experience involves surveys of large groups to get feedback on a product, service or experience, while user experience focuses on in-depth insights from small groups.

Bringing CX and UX Together

Despite these differences, both customer experience and user experience are designed to provide better experience and value, which helps a business grow and become more profitable.

Omnichannel strategy is also becoming vital in modern business. Omnichannel strategy refers to content strategy that’s designed to create communication channels and supporting resources that cooperate with each other, rather than working in parallel, to provide a seamless experience. Consumers expect a seamless experience across websites, apps, stores and any other interaction with a brand. With this in mind, neither customer experience nor user experience can be isolated.

For example, you may have an app that edits photos on your smartphone. Being familiar with other photo editing software, you find that this app is confusing and difficult to use, as well as lacking the features that matter to you. You call the customer service line and the representative explains in a friendly and clear manner how to use the app and get the features you want, thus solving your problem. You’re also given a credit for your inconvenience. This would be an example of a poor user experience combined with a good customer experience.

It works the other way as well. As an example, you use an airline app to search for and purchase airline flights. The user-friendly interface, clear navigation and fast load times allow you to find and book your flight in no time. Once you arrive at the airport, however, you deal with long lines and rude attendants. This would be an example of good user experience with a poor customer experience.

What this shows us is that a customer may have one aspect of a business that solves their problems while another doesn’t. Regardless of which aspect is subpar, it often leads customers elsewhere because there’s dissatisfaction with the money they spent for the service they received.

As technology becomes more commonplace in our lives, customer experience and user experience will become more blended. It all begins with taking the time to understand the customer and their needs so that you can provide value to them. These insights tell you a story about the customer, which can then be addressed on the smaller level with user experience and the larger level with customer experience.

Get Help from Geary

By optimizing and perfecting customer experience and user experience, both separately and together, you’re setting your business up to stay one step ahead of the competition.

If you need help taking your business’s marketing to the next level, Geary Company can help. Whether you want assistance with traditional advertising or creative services, we have an experienced and talented team to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!