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Customer Experience (CX) Vs User Experience (UX)

Customer Experience vs. User Experience

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Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Should we compare CX with UX?

This is the first question that crossed my mind when I wanted to write about it.

I also realized that many people use CX and UX interchangeably, which isn’t necessarily correct. So, I decided to go ahead with my version of this article, where we discuss what CX and UX mean, how they are related, and how they are different.

UX definitely is a part of CX, and it directly influences the perception of customers when it comes to the experience they receive from your organization.

Let us take a moment to define what these terms mean.

What Is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer Experience (CX) is the sum total of all interactions a customer has with your brand. It includes the perceptions, beliefs, and feelings your brand has created for customers throughout the buyer’s journey.

Let us take an example.

You have booked a room for a homestay at a place you have never visited. You are going as a family of 7 people. You have some questions for which you need answers. So, you reach out to the homestay and seek answers to your queries.

Here are some CX questions that you would consider.

  • How easy is it for me to reach the homestay? Are there options available for me to reach the homestay? Have they given any response time SLAs?
  • Was the person on the other end of the line friendly, responsive, and accommodating of my queries?
  • Does this process feel seamless from beginning to end?
  • Did I receive responses to all my queries with clarity?
  • Would I use this homestay again or recommend it to a friend or family?

We will talk about an example of the overall customer experience. Let us talk about Zappos. 

Zappos claims that they are a customer service organization that happens to be in the business of selling shoes.

They provide outstanding customer experience. How do they do that?

Here is how:

  • Free shipping both ways
  • No order minimum to be eligible for free shipping
  • Free returns for a full refund within 365 days of purchase
  • 24/7 support with a provision to call, email, and live chat with an agent
  • 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds

Zappos believes that every customer interaction is an opportunity to WOW your customers.

What Is User Experience (UX)?

User Experience (UX) is the overall experience of a person using a product like a website or a computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is.

It encompasses all of the end user’s interactions with its products and services.

What UX questions would you look at for the same example cited above?

  • How appealing is the website of the homestay?
  • How easily can I navigate their website to see how I can reach their customer care?
  • Can I access their website on my desktop and mobile phone? Are they compatible with both interfaces?

Let us talk about the most common example of great UX: Google.

The goal of good UX is to help users do what they want to do when interacting with your business.

What is it that you can do on the Google homepage? There is only one thing that you can do, which is search for information.

There are no other frills on that page. They have dumbed it down so much that you accomplish what you want without thinking through so much.

That is the power of great UX.

When you read this, all the elements of UX fit into the greater CX picture. UX is a part of the CX you offer. While UX and CX are complementary, they don’t always solve the same things.

That’s why it makes sense to understand the difference between the two.

Difference Between Customer Experience and User Experience

CX is about delighting customers at every stage of the brand experience, while UX focuses on product design and usability.

Customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and revenue increase can be the metrics you can use to measure CX. At the same time, accessibility, conversion rates, and user engagement can be the metrics you can use to measure UX.

To understand this better, let us look at the objectives of CX and UX.

Customer Experience (CX) Objectives

The main objectives of CX are:

  1. Improve customer satisfaction – exceed customer expectations by offering positive, seamless, and personalized experience across all touchpoints
  2. Increase customer loyalty – ensure that the experience for the customers is so positive and consistent across all touch points making them loyal to your brand, thereby making repeat purchases and contributing to the revenue
  3. Increase brand advocacy – ensure that your customers are happy. Happy customers are likely to recommend a brand to others, increasing visibility and credibility
  4. Reduce customer churn – a positive CX can help reduce the rate at which customers leave and switch to a competitor
  5. Improve operational efficiency – anticipate customer needs and preferences, thereby can streamline their processes and reducing costs
  6. Gain a deeper understanding of your customers – gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and pain points to improve your products, services, and overall customer experience

What Are the Objectives of UX?

  1. Ease-of-use – make the product or service easy to use. The goal of UX is to create a seamless and intuitive experience for users by making the product or service simple and easy to navigate
  2. Improve accessibility – take into account the needs of different users, including those with disabilities, to ensure that the product or service is accessible to as many people as possible
  3. Increase user engagement – ensure that the users spend more time on your application, or website by making it more enjoyable and satisfying to use
  4. Remove friction – understand the needs and pain points of your users, and remove them to remove friction and the frustration associated with using your service or product
  5. Increase conversion rates – make the design a user-centered one, as this will increase the chances of users completing desired actions such as making a purchase or signing up for a service
  6. Improve overall effectiveness of your offering – by focusing on the users, UX can help improve the overall effectiveness of a product or service by making it more useful and valuable to the user

Now that we have spent time defining CX and UX and understanding the objectives of CX and UX, let us now delve into the differences between Customer Experience and User Experience.

Customer ExperienceUser Experience
Focuses on the experience of the customer with a brand across touchpoints – including interactions with products, services, and customer serviceFocuses on the user experience while interacting with a specific product or service, such as a website or application
Looks at the customer journey from start to finish and how it can be improvedLooks at the usability and design of the product or service
This may include touchpoints such as in-store visits, phone calls, chats, chatbot conversations, and email correspondenceTypically limited to the digital touchpoints of a product or service
This can involve both emotional and practical considerationsFocuses more on practical considerations, such as ease of use and functionality
Includes customer feedback and surveysIncludes user testing and user research
A catalyst to improve customer loyalty and retentionA catalyst to enhance the effectiveness and satisfaction of using a product or service, thereby improving customer loyalty and retention

Should the difference between CX and UX really matter?

Your UX team needs to focus on improving product usability. Your CX team should focus on providing a positive experience that accurately measures CX’s success.

While UX is a subset of CX, the differences clarify what is expected in each of these experiences.

UX is all about products. CX is all about people, products, and services.

About the Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan


Uthaman believes in the power of creation - it gives him a high to grow something from scratch and make it sustainable. Uthaman is the Executive Vice President and helps set the strategic direction and roadmap for ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and financial services companies in India.