Customer Experience

How to Finally Stop Confusing Your Customer Experience with User Experience

November 12, 2021
12:00 am

Take a moment to consider your all-time favorite product or app. What do you like about it? Is it easy to use? Seamless and well-designed? That means it has a great user experience (UX). 

Now, imagine you have a question about that amazing app. You can’t find the answers right away, and it takes forever to get in touch with support. Not only that, but you’re passed around from person to person, but nobody has the answers you need, and they don’t sound concerned about solving your problem. 

That’s an awful customer experience (CX), and it can ruin your impression of a brand no matter how great your user experience was. 

Customer experience and user experience go hand in hand in creating loyal excited customers for your brand. You can’t just have one. 

Keep reading to discover the differences between customer experience and user experience and learn how to create successful interactions for both.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

CX vs. UX

Customer experience refers to all the interactions a customer has with your brand. It includes user experience, which is the customer’s experience with your product. However, customer service also encompasses the impression customers get from interacting with your staff.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at the differences between the two experiences and see how they come together to impact your customer journey.

Comparing CX and UX in theory

Before we get started, it’s essential to talk about the difference between customers and users. 

A customer does the buying. In contrast, user refers to the end-user or the individual that uses your product or service. 

For some brands, the customer and the user are the same person. That is usually the case for B2C products, but in B2B industries, the customer and the user might be different. 

Either way, you must know your customers and users when talking about customer experience vs. user experience.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience refers to the customer's overall impression of your brand based on their interactions throughout the buyer’s journey. Specifically, it describes how they feel about and view your company, products, services, and brand. 

Customer Satisfaction survey by HubSpot
A customer satisfaction survey by HubSpot.

Your customer’s overall experience consists of two primary touchpoints — your people and your product. Together, these touchpoints impact customer loyalty and retention and ultimately drive your bottom line. 

What is user experience?

User experience (or UX) refers to an end-user’s entire experience when interacting with your product or service. The term UX design describes the field of study that focuses on the entire user journey of a digital product or service.

In UX design, you want to find out how users feel about their interactions with the product and how that experience affects how they view your company.

How CX and UX relate

In short, UX is a part of CX. Specifically, CX focuses on the relationship between your customer and your brand, whereas UX is the relationship between your customer and your product.

To create a loyal brand following, you need to focus on both experiences. Great UX design won’t make up for poor CX and vice versa.

Comparing CX and UX in practice

Both CX and UX are essential for attracting happy and loyal customers. Here’s how to apply the principles of each experience to your business model and your products.

How to prioritize customer experience in your business model

Customers are the foundation of any successful business model. In the world of online shopping, customers have more options than ever before, and that gives them the power. 

The best way to prioritize the customer experience in your business model is by structuring your business around your customer’s needs and soliciting feedback from customers.

Empower your customer service team with customer service tracking software, which has two main benefits.

HubSpot Customer Service Tracking Report of Support Over Time
HubSpot Customer Service Tracking Report of Support Over Time.

First, it lets you streamline support tasks and provide positive customer interactions. Moreover, it helps you identify common customer issues you can resolve by improving your products and services.

Second, you can let your customers drive product strategy by asking them which products, services, and features they want. Create surveys and polls to gather feedback from your customers.

How does your CX strategy stack up?

Take the assessment to find out.

Test your CX >

How to use user experience in products and services

UX design is the process of designing products that are practical and meaningful for end-users. 

In practice, it can be broken down into the following four elements of your products and services:

  • Value: Is your product useful? Does it provide value?
  • Usability: Is your product easy to use?
  • Adoptability: Is it easy to figure out and start using?
  • Desirability: Is it fun? Does it keep users engaged?

You should keep these elements in mind when designing products, services, and user interfaces. 

It’s also important to gather customer feedback about these elements. Surveys are an excellent way to understand how well you deliver on value and desirability.

The best way to understand usability and adoptability is through usability testing. Conducting usability tests involves observing customers using your tools and noting pain points or steps where they get stuck or confused. 
Usability testing is an easy way to get unbiased feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of your product design.

Acquire's live chat software
Acquire's live chat software allows support agents to connect with customers in real-time.

Live chat customer support tools are another way to capture insights about customer issues in real-time.

Measuring CX and UX

To improve customer experience or user experience, you start with your baseline performance. How are you doing right now? Then, you can measure progress as you implement changes. 

CX and UX focus on different elements of the buyer’s journey, impacting different key customer metrics

Let’s take a closer look.

Customer experience metrics

Since customer experience is subjective, it can be more challenging to measure. Some customers just like your brand more than others. However, two metrics can provide valuable insights into your overall customer experience — satisfaction and churn. 

Here are these and related key metrics to watch when monitoring customer experience: 

  • Customer satisfaction: on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are your customers?
  • Net promoter score: on a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that a customer will recommend your product to others?
  • Churn rate: how many customers do you lose?
  • Retention rate: how many customers do you retain?
  • Customer lifetime value: how much money does a customer spend with your brand during their lifetime?

Your happiest customers are the most likely to recommend or promote you to others. Net promoter scores (NPS) measure the likelihood of a customer promoting your brand to friends and family. NPS is captured through customer surveys by asking how likely they are to recommend. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as the “perfect experience.” The best thing your business can do is to use surveys often, get feedback from your users, make improvements, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Screenshot of HubSpot net promoter score metric dashboard for customer experience
Screenshot of HubSpot net promoter score metric dashboard for customer experience

On the flipside, churn measures when customers are leaving. Churn metrics help you identify what parts of the customer experience leave your customers dissatisfied. 

User experience metrics

Compared to customer experience, user experience is much easier to measure. Since it’s based on interactions with your product or service, you can visibly pinpoint where users run into issues.

Common KPIs include: 

  • Session duration: how long does an average user’s interaction or session last? (longer duration indicates better UX)
  • Success or error rates: how often do users successfully finish a task? (higher success rates indicate better UX)
  • Abandonment rate/bounce rate: how often do customers leave your product out of frustration? (low abandonment indicates better UX) 
  • Average time to complete a task: how long does it take a user to complete a specific task? (shorter task completion indicates better UX)

When analyzing user experience, you should use the NPS and survey results from your users. In essence, how many users would recommend the product to other end-users? The higher your NPS, the better your UX.

Final thoughts: Understanding customer experience vs. user experience

Good CX leads to happy customers, and it’s your most satisfied customers that drive revenue and word-of-mouth marketing. And, since it’s easier to sell to existing customers, a good customer experience means you can drive more revenue without over-investing in acquiring new customers.

Once you’ve brought on new customers, a good UX is vital in ensuring that users continue to interact with your product. Designing a user-friendly product that provides value turns into a lower workload on your customer service team.

Still, there are specific differences when it comes to customer experience vs. user experience. But, in terms of your bottom line, both of the experiences matter. Instead of spending time fixing problems, you can focus on developing the new features your customers want.


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