As a UX strategist, I know that the term user experience (“UX”) tends to be a bit ambiguous. The idea of what UX is to one person or organization can be completely different to another, even within the field itself. The same can be said for customer experience (“CX”). To make things more confusing, I feel like UX and CX are so closely related that the difference between the two can become a bit blurry.
UX, in a digital sense, really becomes just one component tightly integrated into the larger picture of a customer’s experience with your organization.
UX is the experience the user has when using your website, app, or software. It’s about how the user interface (UI), design, navigation, and usability affect what they see, how they navigate, and how that makes them feel. UX should reduce the friction between the task and the tool being used to complete the task. Effective UX strategies improves user interactions with digital tools and applications.
CX is a catchall for the multi-channel interactions and touchpoints a customer has with a brand. It spans the physical and digital, including in-store experiences, online purchases, e-mail marketing, customer service, and more. Good CX promotes the organization’s business strategies across channels and ensures customer trust and brand loyalty.
A while back, my kids were running out of clothes for the hundredth time. I had recently received a 30% off coupon in my email for a brand I already had an account with, so it was perfect timing to do some online shopping. I sat down at the computer with my morning coffee and logged into the website. I spent a good hour looking through items and added about twenty articles to my cart.
When I went to my cart, I looked it over, entered the promo code from my email, and clicked the “update total” button. Nothing happened. Curious, I entered it again. Same thing. The page seemed to refresh, but the totals didn’t change, and it just continued to ask for my promo code. Thinking it might be a browser bug, I logged into my account in another browser. My cart was still there, so I entered the promo code once more. Nothing.
Having invested an hour plus at that point, I didn’t want to lose my progress, so I called customer service. After verifying my account and explaining my situation to the service rep, she explained that she didn’t have access to my online cart, and I would have tell her the sku numbers for each of my twenty products. For the next half hour, I read to her the sku numbers, sizes, and colors for each of the products. When we finished, she asked for my promo code, only to discover that all of the items I had selected were not eligible for the discount. Restrictions apply. The whole ordeal took almost three hours. In the end, the company did not make the sale, and the brand has been damaged in my eyes.
From a UX perspective, simple feedback on the website could have saved a lot of time and grief. When a promo code was entered in the cart and nothing happened, why was there no message to explain? “This code does not apply to the items in your cart. Click here to learn why.” Better yet, why not ask the user up front if they have a promo code? And apply that pricing to everything eligible while shopping, before you even get to the cart.
Instead bad UX led to bad CX. Why could the customer service rep not access my cart? Why did she not know from the first item I gave her that my promo code didn’t apply? Because she didn’t have the feedback she needed.
When you make something for someone, you usually know who they are. Even better, you know a little bit about them. Customer surveys, support feedback, and social media interactions can all help you learn more about your customers and what they want. When you understand the people who use your site or app, you’re able to make critical, relevant UX improvements that increase customer experiences.
It’s important to identify the process a customer goes through on your business website or app to accomplish their end goal (making a purchase) as well as yours (customer satisfaction). A UX professional can help you pinpoint the necessary channels and touchpoints, and then establish a clear path to make each of those experiences valuable for your customer.
User testing is a simple solution that can reveal recurring UX pain points. Through observing real customers use your website or app, you can see where there’s confusion and common interface problems, allowing you to remedy the issue with UX tools and solutions.
With all the ways to access content, users expect to have the same experience across devices. For example, a user may begin to add items to their cart from their desktop and then try to use the mobile app later to complete the transaction. Problems occur when different platforms have a different process or content. You want to ensure that the experience is seamless across channels for a positive CX.
While UX is only one part of an omni-channel customer experience, for many companies it makes up a large portion of their customer interaction. An effective UX strategy requires advanced planning and follow up, which in turn contributes to a better overall CX. Here at Foster Made, we consider your business themes and goals to create a UX strategy and approach that meets your objectives and improves your customer’s overall experience.
Everyday I get to interact with and meet incredible companies and organizations that are finding creative ways to make the world a better place. We enable them to make their ideas become a reality. It’s exciting to be a part of.
- Alex Mejias