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UX in a CX Context: “Seeing the Wood for the Trees”

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The difference between CX & UX

Whilst User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) are very similar concepts, the terms are not interchangeable. UX is a specific component within CX that concerns the usability of your product or site. CX, on the other hand encompasses the end-to-end customer experience across many touch points, episodes (“customer jobs to be done”) and the general aggregated disposition to a brand. UX “is the totality of your end users’ perceptions while they interact with your product or service. This includes the effectiveness, efficiency, emotional satisfaction and the quality of the relationship with the organisation that provides the product or service.” Usabilla

And UX is of course critical in the digital world – users will decide in a matter of seconds if your digital presence is worthy.

So clearly, UX can be a very critical contributor to overall CX. Poor online design can stop the CX “dead in its tracks” – no need to ask about CX! On the other hand, good CX may recover a poor UX experience through great customer service and a free credit.

Great UX (eg a super-fast online flight booking experience) may also be completely undermined by poor CX at the airport (lengthy queues).

The one thing that is for certain is that UX can only be enhanced by a better understanding of CX (“Seeing the wood for the trees”).

With a greater understanding of CX (& the customer journey) your UX endeavours are assisted by:

  • Clarifying what the customers task is
  • Seeing the task as part of a broader episode (or “job to be done”)
  • Understanding the relative importance of the UX task in the overall CX context
  • And the ability to test changes in UX against overall CX

This broadened focus is most readily demonstrated in the production of meaningful “Customer Journey Maps” and making these insights as dynamic as possible .

Within the UX world, the testing & learning component (e.g. dynamic A/B tests) has reached a high art form. It is my contention that this same discipline now needs to be applied to the broader CX context.

This is more a top-down approach that asks:

  • What are the most important episodes or moments of truth that contribute to overall disposition to the brand?
  • For these priority episodes, what is the customer job to be done; are we focusing on the right UX components to boost CX?; what UX components are missing in the ideal CX?
  • How do we test & learn across a customer episode to ensure an integrated view across UX and non-UX components of the customer experience?

More than anything, it is the consistent reference to overall CX that will help us all “see the wood for the trees” and get the best out of UX initiatives.

Published on

Written by

Jeff Carruthers

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