Modern Marketing Agency

What is the difference between CX and UX?

By Tom Hodgson | Design & Digital Officer

Rawnet

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February 11, 2022 | 6 min read

Customer experience and user experience are two different disciplines. You need to include both to create a connected experience for consumers, according to Tom Hodgson, optimization strategist at Rawnet.

For most of us working in the marketing space, customer experience and user experience are interchangeable terms. They sound the same, look the same and many marketers will hold their hands up to say that they don’t truly know the difference.

Rawnet on how to create a more aligned customer user experience.

Rawnet on how to create a more aligned customer user experience.

This needs to change, and fast. The global pandemic has reshaped how consumers shop and interact with brands, resulting in customer experience and user experience being more important than anything else in the purchase journey.

A recent survey by Engine discovered that people are spending on average 10-30% more time online, forcing organizations to reevaluate aspects of their business, including the need to understand the distinction between the two terms. But where to begin? Is one more effective than the other? And why do marketers need to know the differences?

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Understanding the basics

Customer experience (CX) is every interaction that a consumer has with a brand, either online, in-store or over the phone. It doesn’t take into account whether the customer made a purchase or not, but encapsulates every communication between the consumer and the business.

Everything a company does can impact customers' perceptions and their decision to keep coming back, so CX is a key factor in long-term success. In addition to boosting customer loyalty, delivering a great customer experience can improve consumer satisfaction and introduce better word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews and recommendations.

User experience (UX) is completely different. It relates to how the customer uses a product, system or service, including how easy it was to use, how efficient it was, and how it was used in the first instance. User experience is a phrase that summarizes all the thoughts and feelings a user has about the business’s offering. It's less about the organization itself and instead focuses on the efficacy of the product or service.

Demystifying the differences

Brands need to understand the differences between CX and UX, as the two terms are so closely intertwined, each with its own distinct marketing purposes.

CX involves a brand having approachable, friendly and professional staff available to speak with consumers, to create a positive and welcoming business environment. It also relates to customers feeling generally positive about the overall experience with the organization and everything associated with it. Therefore, CX can be measured in terms of the overall experience, likelihood to continue use and the likelihood of recommending the business to others.

UX is centered around making sure information is quickly and easily available on the company’s website, as well as ensuring the site is functioning correctly. Companies will use this to help users complete tasks successfully with a sense of satisfaction, in addition to making interactions or web page searches as simple and accessible as possible for customers. UX is measured with metrics like success rate, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete a task and clicks to completion.

Mastering CX and UX in practice

Focusing on one of these aspects and neglecting the other will lead to a flawed business strategy. There's a need for both CX and UX in marketing, so ensuring they can work together is fundamental. Delving deeper, marketers will uncover that CX and UX can often overlap.

Within a business’s strategy, UX is part of CX best practices. A brand can't have a good CX without a good UX. If an organization’s website doesn’t work sufficiently, the poor user experience will quickly impact the overall customer experience. It can work in reverse, as well. Businesses can have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team and organizational structure to create a solid customer experience, but if a consumers’ interaction with the website creates barriers to completion of the desired tasks, it fails overall.

UX is really a component of CX, both elements sharing the goal of improving experiences by boosting strategies, changing culture or adopting user-focused design methods. Failure in either area can lead to bad customer experience overall. When working in conjunction, CX and UX will improve the customer’s journey and increase overall conversion rates.

Driving future success

The bottom line is that marketers need to acknowledge the differences between CX and UX, in order to execute a successful marketing strategy. In the long term, CX - and by extension UX - will play a critical role in business success. This spans from the number of loyal customers and level of brand advocacy to the volume of business conversions and the amount of repeat website visitors.

Customer experience and user experience can work together to establish the most triumphant version of the brand that has longevity and an improved reputation.

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