UX vs CX: Which is more important?
Theory | User Experience

UX vs CX: Which is more important?

on / by Netania Engelbrecht

You’ve probably heard the terms UX and CX, and how they’re the key to your company’s success. Many still aren’t clear, however about what the difference is between the two concepts. Perhaps you’re under the impression that only one of them is worth investing in, or that they’re both the same thing. Do you need to put more focus on one over the other? It’s an important question to ask – I mean, why waste resources on something irrelevant? For this reason, we wanted to give you a clear overview of the concepts and help you determine which is more important: UX or CX?

What’s the Difference?

UX vs CX: Which is more important? by Usabilla

Image credit: digitalgov.gov

While UX and 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 interactions and deals with many touch points including web, mobile, brochures, and human contact (support and service).  

Why is UX Important?

UX vs CX: Which is more important? by Usabilla

A good user experience gives your customers the ability to find information quickly and easily. It 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.

UX is important for any digital product. No matter how beautifully designed your site may be, if your users don’t know how to navigate and find what they’re looking for, they simply won’t come back. By designing an experience rich with interactions that’s simple and easy to use, your users will have a positive experience that’ll keep them coming back. Users decide within only a few seconds whether your site or app is worth their time and this is where UX becomes vital.

“UX# is the experience, emotion, intuition and connection a user feels when using a site or product” Click To Tweet

Why is CX Important?

UX vs CX: Which is more important? by Usabilla

Customer experience involves designing and reacting to a customer’s interactions in order to either meet or exceed their expectations. In doing so, the objective is to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. This includes your customer’s ability to have a helpful, pleasant, and positive total experience with your organization.

CX is important because whether it’s positive or negative influences the likelihood that your customers will round off or repeat transactions with your company. This is especially important as your customers are tech savvy and have the power to choose between a multitude of competitors. Differentiating your product or service by offering a great CX could not only help increase your revenue and sales, but also help you gain competitive advantage. After all, studies have shown that 86% of your customers would be willing to pay more for a better CX.

“CX# includes every interaction a shopper has with your brand, from the start to the end of their… Click To Tweet

To Wrap Up

User Experience is the foundation of a good customer experience. These fields are very much intertwined and one isn’t necessarily more ‘important’ than the other. UX and CX professionals have complementary skills, but currently are not working as closely together as they should be. UX doesn’t always deal with the customer specifically but with the product. Whereas, CX addresses the multichannel interactions that a user has with your company and ought to be consistent at each touchpoint, both online and offline.

So, it’s possible to have many customers who are generally unhappy with your UX. Similarly you can have the best UX possible but then your CX might be terrible. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you put your customer (or user) first. It’s all about finding the balance that works for your business, neither areas are necessarily more important than the other (not yet anyway).

Is your business taking a complete customer-centric approach across all touch points, or are your prioritising one type of interaction over the other? Tell us why in the comments section below or tweet us @usabilla!





UX Fundamentals: The Concepts, Process and Proving the Value




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Article by

Netania Engelbrecht

Share your thoughts

  • That depends on who makes up the definition.
    The person who coined the term and defined the original role for Apple, Donald Norman, defines it as “…encompass[ing] all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
    https://www.nngroup.com/articles/definition-user-experience/

    The formal definition of user experience (UX) in the international standard on ergonomics of human system interaction, ISO 9241-210, is “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service”.
    (full disclosure: I helped author that definition in the early 2000s)

    ISO 9241 also defines Usability as “The effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.”

    Using these definitions, CX is redundant, replaced by UX and the definition you proffer for UX is closer to the definition of Usability we’ve had for decades.

    • Márcio Pinheiro Costa

      I agree. Sounds like a neologism to sell tickets for lectures and webinars. :-p

      • Unfortunately ‘Customer Experience’ is now commonly used term in Australia. A few years back, it was often reserved for interactions with front-line staff (but recently I’ve noticed CX has started being used interchangeably with UX), whilst the term ‘User Experience’ has become synonymous with UI usability.

        • Philippe Dewamme

          Indeed. Same trend over here in Belgium and The Netherlands. UX = UI with some Usability
          Will need to change my job title. :-)

          • Hadrien Enlart

            And this is terribly wrong.
            You would be surprised by the number of applications I receive from applicants for a UX specialist or UX designers.
            And when I asked them a few questions about UX, they mainly talk about GUI and sometimes (but rarely) about interaction design, and only a few will go further (emotions, market/target, usability, perception, etc)

  • Hienadz Drahun

    #DTDT
    Few definitions of CX.

    Forrester Research: “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.” http://blogs.forrester.com/harley_manning/10-11-23-customer_experience_defined

    Temkin Group: “CX is the perception that customers have of their interactions with an organization”
    https://experiencematters.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/cx-for-smarties-a-beginners-guide-to-customer-experience/

    Beyond Philosophy: “A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: is a Customer’s perception of their rational, physical, emotional, subconscious, and psychological interaction with any part of an organization.”
    http://beyondphilosophy.com/customer-experience/

    Peppers & Rogers Group: “The totality of a customer’s individual interactions with a brand, over time.”
    http://www.peppersandrogersgroup.com/blog/2015/01/defining-the-customer-experien.html

    Comparing definitions of UX and CX.

    In case of UX we are talking about human interactions with ” a product, system or service”

    In CX world humans are interacting with “a company, organization or brand”

    • Hadrien Enlart

      So you’re telling me that a company, an organization or a brand are NOT a system of services and products?

      I’m sorry but I disagree.
      When you interact with a company, you interact with the people, through the website, the hotline, the shop or the final product.
      But you are also in interaction with the ad campaign (TV spots, Display, Radio, Shops, Logo, etc) and you also discuss with friends or random people that will talk about this brand or that product (actin as Natural PR)…

      This is part of an ecosystem, based on different services, and sometimes you also need to used products (virtual or physical) in order of have these interactions.

  • Charles Lambdin

    The definition of UX used here is incorrect.

    UX is not synonymous with usability, nor is it confined to digital interfaces.

    The term was coined by Don Norman in the 90s: “User experience encompasses ALL aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

    Notice that using this, the real definition of UX, much of what people describe as ‘CX’ REALLY IS synonymous with UX.

    If there’s overlap between customers and users, there’s going to be overlap in UX and CX.

    It’s really just EXPERIENCE, after all. Whether of ‘users’ or ‘customers’ doesn’t matter so much to many in experience design. Since UX applies to ALL interactions users (i.e. ‘customers’) have with a company, including both digital and non-digital touch points, what actually does differentiate CX?

    • Hadrien Enlart

      I agree.
      Separating UX and CX is like stating that Customers are NOT Users and vice-versa.
      There is an old image (2012) that is quite relevant in my opinion: http://www.everyinteraction.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/ux-diagram.png

      In order to create a good User Experience you have to think outside of only screens and keyboards. It is a full process, with three key moments (before, during, after).

      Separating these the customer and the real world interactions from the UX mindset is absurd, it’s like saying the virtual world is not taking place in the real world….

  • Philippe Dewamme

    This article adds confusion to industry newcomers.

    With a little more research on the known definitions and their origins, it might have been possible to focus on the similarity and only highlight the nuances as from which disciplines the terms have been coined.

    In the end it’s about experience design.

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