I constantly encounter CXOs on one end and designers at the other of the spectrum who are confused about the difference between User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX). I recently attended an awesome CX meetup at WebMD featuring the unique UX approach by Ben Greenberg and Sri Rajan in designing their interface, functionality and features. It also inevitably brought forth a discussion on the subject of UX and CX. Having worked through the evolution of User Experience till Customer Experience became a thing, I settled on a simple solution based on how companies approach “experience” or the X factor in UX vs. CX.
User Experience usually originates from the study of psychology, human factors, usability studies and cognitive analysis (and many more complex terminologies used by Ph.Ds). The approach is generally based around the belief that “we know what the customer wants best at a subconscious level even if they can’t put a finger on it”.
Customer Experience, on the other hand is based on what the customer is telling us through their feedback, surveys, verbatims, text and speech analytics, emotions, loyalty, closing the loop with the customer, etc. Here the approach is based on the belief that “the customer knows what they want, need and feel”.
Simply put, UX design is building from inside out while CX design is building from outside in. While it is generally accepted that UX is a subset of CX, the most successful approaches I have encountered are when teams begin with CX first then apply UX principles to fine tune and offer customers the most delightful experience at a conscious and subconscious level. The trick, however, is to parse out the specifics in customer feedback and usage data and read between the lines to identify the intent, perceptions and emotions. I use Ben’s great example when he quoted Ford who said that if he asked the customers what they wanted they would have said, “a faster horse”. The point is to interpret the word ‘horse’ as ‘transport’. It is these seemingly abstract factors like intent, perception and emotion that provide the best answer to the value of ‘X’. And that, is directly proportional to revenue, growth and shareholder value.