UX vs. CX: What’s the Difference?
User Research

Published on October 3, 2022

UX vs. CX: What’s the Difference?

People tend to confuse “UX” with “CX” and vice versa. Some are even under the impression that they are just the same. This confusion is understandable since both deal with how people interact with your company’s services and products.

In this article we are going to cover the topic UX vs. CX and explain the main differences in two disciplines as well as the similarities. There are important distinctions that make “UX” different from “CX”. And no, it isn’t just that one letter before the “X”. These differences are substantial in the sense that they can affect how you plan out the strategies within your business. Moreover, learning how to differentiate one from the other helps you understand how each one fits into your company’s vision and objectives. 

So what do these terms mean and how do they differ? Read on to find out.

What is UX?

UX stands for user experience. It describes how people feel, perceive, and engage with your particular product. Usually, the term UX is used in the context of digital products such as mobile apps, websites, or some sort of software. It looks into your product’s success rate, abandonment rate, error rate, click rate.

Topics like visual hierarchy, information architecture, and learnability also fall under UX. But its main focus is the usability of your product. Many businesses hire UX researchers and designers to help develop their products. These designers then analyze the functionality of your product’s features and interface to ensure that end users can enjoy it properly. 

A great UX allows your customers to access your brand, products, and services quickly and easily. According to McKinsey, 60% of companies recognize the importance of UX during development—whether this involves developing mobile apps, software, or websites. It makes sure that such platforms can serve their original purpose and convince users that your site or app is worth their time. 

ux vs cx

What is CX?

CX or customer experience, on the other hand, is a more encompassing look at how people interact with your brand—not just a particular product but your services as well. In a way, it refers to your customer’s overall journey across the various touchpoints in your business. 

Whereas UX focuses on just one product, CX analyzes how your customers feel about your brand as a whole. It takes into account their perception of your company’s marketing strategy, customer service, pricing, brand reputability, delivery methods, sales process, and products.

In another report by McKinsey, it shows that 93% of businesses use survey-based metrics to gauge customer satisfaction. This helps you determine the strengths and weaknesses in the various aspects of your operations such as your customer service, marketing, sales, and more. As a result, you can ensure that your services can meet their expectations and demands, securing their loyalty in the process. 

ux vs cx

How are they different?

By knowing what UX and CX each mean, you will notice their distinction from each other. Nonetheless, that is just a basic grasp of what each one deals with. To have a more in-depth understanding of this customer experience versus user experience debacle, here are some specific areas where they differ.

Focus

Great CX and UX designs involve heavy research on human psychology. But whereas CX focuses on your customers’ behaviors, UX focuses on your users. It is important to note that users and customers are different. Not all customers are users and vice versa. 

For example, you’ve just launched a mobile app where your customers can directly order from your store. In this case, your user is the one who interacts with the app itself. But they won’t be your customer just yet unless they actually purchase from your shop via the app. 

Hence, a UX designer would focus on how people are able to navigate the app. They ask questions such as:

  • Did users have trouble using the app’s features?
  • Were users satisfied with how the app ran?
  • Were there any issues with the app?
  • Did all the app’s features and functions work as intended?

On the other hand, CX would go beyond those questions and look into your customers’ overall shopping experience—either by using the app or other platforms.

Objectives

The ultimate goal of UX and CX is to improve people’s experiences with your company. An important part of the process is identifying the potential issues within your product or services that can cause frustration or dissatisfaction in your users and customers. Both then work to remove such problems from their respective focus. But upon closer look, UX and CX have different sets of objectives that would bring them closer to their ultimate goal. 

UX, for one, aims to help users complete tasks successfully using your product. It aims to make interactions easier, accessible, and more convenient for them. But most importantly, they are able to feel confident and comfortable in using your product.  These are something to keep in mind when creating a user research plan.

CX, on the other hand, aims to maintain great experiences for your customers throughout various stages in their customer journey. And in doing so, it nurtures their loyalty and advocacy towards your brand. 

Practice

The activities involved in CX and UX tend to overlap. They both involve research by leveraging customer/user data and analytics. Likewise, they require testing every time you add something new in your CX or UX strategies. But despite the similarities, there are some obvious differences in how they operate.

UX activities include designing a particular platform, such as a website, mobile app, or software. This also involves creating specifications and prototypes for your digital product. Likewise, you tend to work with coders, visual designers, and developers to ensure that each stage of development works well at your user’s end. 

On the other hand, CX activities are broader, including the ones mentioned above. Additionally, it designs customer journeys by incorporating multiple interaction points in the process. You also tend to work with all levels and departments across your organization to understand business and customer goals. By using tools like CRM software for small business, you can work to influence everyone in the company to adopt a customer-centric mindset.

ux vs cx

Testing

When testing for UX, your main goal is to ensure that your product is easy to use. Hence, you usually conduct usability tests to ensure that your product works as intended. Through usability testing, designers, marketers, product managers, and researchers leverage insights to gain a deeper understanding of how your users respond to your product. Their feedback then helps determine what areas to improve on. Other types of testing you can use for your UX are remote Usability Testing and Preference testing.

Meanwhile, testing for CX involves a holistic and comprehensive study of the overall customer experience. This means looking into the strengths and weaknesses of the various processes that involve the customers. It may also use usability tests, but it would also require other types of tests that would help evaluate hard performance and commerce metrics.

Metrics

The metrics used in CX are extensive. It doesn’t just look into your customers’ satisfaction, but it also strives to measure their loyalty and their likelihood to recommend your brand to other customers. It also looks into churn rates, retention rates, customer lifetime value, customer effort score, and net promoter score.

UX, on the other hand, is narrower since it only focuses on a particular product. It includes app store ratings, conversion rate, cart abandonment, engagement, and perceived credibility. 

How do UX and CX work together?

The truth is, these two disciplines cannot function without each other. A bad or good user experience will always influence customer experience in the same way. The user that is not happy with the product is unlikely to have positive experiences with your brand in general and vice versa. 

CX is a much broader discipline, which UX is a part of. While user experience only studies users’ interactions with the product itself, CX also includes customer journey, service, product delivery and pricing, packaging and and other factors.

In order to maintain them both and make sure all of the parts of UX and CX are taken care of and the customers are satisfied, you’ll need to hire professionals in each of the spheres. These people know exactly what influences peoples’ perceptions of your product and company and how to influence them in a good way. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key responsibilities of both CX and UX designers.

ux vs cx

UX vs. CX: main responsibilities of the professionals

The job of a UX designer is to create a flawless and intuitive interaction between a user and the product. The product here could be, for example, an online software, an ecommerce shop or even an app. Designer’s job is to make sure end-users are able to easily achieve the desired goals with the product, without any confusion and without the need to complete a thousand steps to do so.

A CX specialist, on the other hand, is responsible for the experience a customer has as a whole. Their job is to identify customer’s needs, gather and respond to their feedback, and actively collaborate with other departments with the goal of providing the best service out there. Ideally, they want to make sure customers get a positive experience with a company and will be happy to come back in the future.

UX vs. CX: why the difference matters?

At first glance, UX and CX seem the same. But by knowing their differences, you also learn how each plays an important role in the success of your brand. Failure to recognize the importance of each can lead to dissatisfied customers in the process. So when you develop your products, always keep your customers or users in mind.

Tereza Stehlíková
October 3, 2022
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Marketing & Sales Assistant at UXtweak who likes to discover the charm of UX and travel around the world.

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