What is the relationship between CX and UX?

Customer Experience (CX) seems to be the new thing and the number of companies talking about the subject is exploding. Since it is still a relatively new business discipline, there is no single commonly agreed upon definition of CX. Moreover, there is still some ambiguity between the well-established concept of UX and the new discipline of CX. Customer Experience, according to Harley Manning, a vice president and research director at Forrester Research, is “How customers perceive their interactions with a company along each step of a customer journey, from discovery, to purchase and use, to getting service.”

As such, CX is a much broader term than UX, covering the relationship that a customer establishes with a brand through multiple touch points (online and offline), including sales, marketing, operations, and customer service. UX professionals focus mostly on touch points with digital interfaces, which are a subset of the many touch points with a company.

A Real Life Example

I recently needed to order some labels, and after doing some research on Google, I decided to try out a company with over 250 reviews. On their website, it said that the customer support center was open till 6pm PT and that the estimated hold time at that moment was 3 minutes. It was already 5.50pm but as the hold time was supposed to be only 3 minutes I decided to give them a call. When I called, an automated system informed me that I was the third person in line. Eventually, it said that I was the first person in line and would be helped next. After waiting on the phone for another 5 minutes, I suddenly got the message “Sorry, we now closed. Please leave your message.”

It almost felt like I was waiting in the line in a store, and right when it was my turn to checkout, the shopkeeper told me that they were now closed and that I should come back the next day.

My User Experience on the website was great, I could easily find the contact information and could even see the expected hold time before making the call. However, my overall Customer Experience with the company left much to be desired.

User Experience and Customer Experience Metrics

When we talk about collecting meaningful UX metrics, we usually refer to effectiveness ratios such as success, error and abandonment ratios that help you understand where you need to improve your site; efficiency ratios such as mean clicks per task and mean time per task that help you gauge the complexity of various activities on your site; satisfaction ratios, and behavioral ratios, among others.

When measuring CX (a.k.a CEM or Customer Experience Management), “firms use a mix of metrics that capture what actually happened during various customer interactions, how customers perceived those interactions, and what they will do as a result of the interactions,” according to Forrester.  One of the most commonly used CX metrics by organizations is Net Promoter Score. It determines how likely customers are to recommend your site to a friend or colleague after interacting with the company. The logic behind this is that there is a relationship between the quality of an experience that customers have with a company and whether or not they will recommend it to others.

User Experience vs. Online Customer Experience

If Customer Experience emphasizes Enterprise wide experiences and User Experience focuses mostly on interactions with digital interfaces, what does Online Customer Experience entail?

User Experience and Online Customer Experience are often used interchangeably to describe the way users perceive their interaction with the web site. Even though they seem to refer to the same concept, they originated from two different disciplines.

User Experience evolved from web usability, where making a website easy to use was as important as how it made you feel before, during and after the use of the site. Online Customer Experience evolved from Marketing and Operations, where Marketing professionals were concerned with metrics such as conversion rates, what customers were doing when they visited the site, whether customers were accomplishing their objectives, whether they were happy with the experience, and more importantly, whether they would recommend the site to their friends.  Such metrics can be measured with what we at UserZoom refer to as a True Intent Study and Voice of the Customer studies.

No matter what the differences and similarities between these disciplines, we would probably all agree that they all have one thing in common – an interest in understanding the customer and a desire to provide a seamless experience that will keep them coming back for more. The key is to clearly identify what exactly it is that we need to measure (KPIs), why each KPI is important and how to act upon it (action points to optimize the experience and have a positive impact on a company’s performance).