UX or User Experience is the sum total of a person’s attitude towards a particular product, a service, or a system. It encapsulates within itself the varied aspects of human-machine interaction. It includes the perception of the user about a digital system like an app or a website with respect to its utility, ease of operation, and efficiency. This makes UX subjective in nature. It depends on the individual experiences and perceptions about a product. Being a dynamic concept, it can be continually modified as per the environment. In essence, UX is about how a user experiences and interacts with a machine or a digital product.
CX or Customer Experience, on the other hand, presents a whole gamut of experiences brought forth by the interaction between an organization and a customer over a course of time. It covers within itself the customer’s journey, the brand touchpoints, and the environment where the customer interacts. The brand touchpoints are those points where the customer gets to interact with the brand. The environment is the mode of interaction, be it physical or digital. All organizations strive for a good customer experience and define it as individuals satisfying their expectations from the brand, across all points of contact.
How UX Meets CX
User experience encompasses a motley of interactions that an end user has with a digital product. It is measured in terms of quantifiable metrics like success rate, bounce rate, error rate, turn-around time, etc.
Customer experience has a much broader scope than user experience. As explained above, it can mean any interaction that a ‘brand’ has with a person. It is not restricted to the digital medium. CX covers all the interactions between a user and a product including the ones that UX might not cover. CX is usually measured in variables like Net Promoter Score and the overall customer experience, amongst others.
Customer experience may include elements of customer support, advertising, brand imagery, sales, pricing, product proposition, and delivery. User experience may cover content strategy, user research, usability, visual design, interaction design, and information architecture.
The difference between UX and CX is easy to explain. Imagine a person looking to book a flight. He downloads the app of an airline and uses it to book the ticket. He finds the booking experience seamless and the app’s interface easy to understand. In a few minutes, he manages to book the tickets with no hassles. When he arrives at the airport, the self-service check-in queue is long. The staff on the flight is unfriendly, the food is below average, and the flight is delayed. While the person was happy with the app experience, he is not happy with the overall experience provided by the airline. This clearly demarcates how he has a positive User Experience (UX) but a disappointing Customer Experience (CX).
The reverse may also be true. A customer may have a positive experience overall but a poor app experience or UX. Suppose a customer wants to get some details from a bank. He visits the app and is not able to find the information because the interface confused him. In the end, he calls the bank’s toll-free customer care number and his queries are resolved by the customer service executive to his utmost satisfaction. Here, in spite of a bad user experience through the app, he is a satisfied customer because his overall experience was good.
The above example might highlight that CX can be positive in spite of a poor UX. However, it is important for an organization to ensure that UX and CX must complement each other in order to harness the maximum value that they can provide to the customer experience. A winning strategy for lasting customer relationships involves both UX and CX at its heart.
A Great CX is Built on a Good UX
A strong UX is at the heart of a great CX. To achieve optimum customer experience, companies can enhance their UX by focusing on both the internal and external factors within it. Enhanced CX can be achieved through smart UX decisions which can provide the necessary differentiation that organizations always strive towards, similar to marketing and advertising.
Making good UX decisions is, therefore, a cornerstone of building a great CX. It is necessary that organizations evaluate their UX options wisely before zeroing in on one. By adopting the below mentioned UX improvement practices, organizations can improve their CX.
1. Choose Your Metrics Wisely
In order to evaluate the UX options that a company has, they need to put various metrics into consideration. Often companies are a victim of too much data. In the digital world, there is no end to the number of metrics available to define any incidence, however, instead of fussing over numbers, one needs to put a second thought into which UX metric can help in improving the overall customer experience. It is critical to look at the big picture like the customer support and sales alignment with the website or app. For example, the success of any UX changes can be assessed by looking at the number of purchases completed compared to visitors who quit the process. This conversion ratio will provide a ‘before and after’ comparison. Similarly, incremental sales or revenue generated is one of the best ways to see if UX changes are positive or not.
2. Observe the External and Internal Elements Instrumental for UX Success
It is imperative to check not just internal but even external metrics like customer support, website queries, etc. This allows to dig deep and find out how users interact with the product and how their customer journey extends beyond the UX. User tests can also be conducted in finding out how users think.
Internal metrics as simple as form usage can affect the information architecture greatly. Forms should be simple, easy to understand, and user-friendly. By checking the time taken by visitors to fill out the form or dropping the procedure, one can understand how this metric behaves. Elements like broken architecture can be identified by checking how many times and where was the back button used. Multiple uses at the wrong place reflect a broken architecture. From a usability standpoint, scrollable content is better than slides and organizations can include such tips while considering the UX design.
Choosing the Right UX Options
Any UX design is a success when a person of average abilities and skills can use the product for its intended purpose without getting frustrated. There are three major considerations that need to be addressed to successfully choose the best UX options for your organization –
1. Prioritizing the User
The success of a good UX design is dependent on the experience of the end-user. Hence, to design for people, one must understand what motivates them, what makes them purchase, and how they behave, among other things.
2. The Flaw in Unlimited Choices
A great UX is a function of user psychology as well. When faced with choices, the users need to decide which links or buttons to press and what to choose in order to get closer to their goal. It would seem that spoiling them for choice is a good idea. However, it is counter-intuitive and confuses them into choosing nothing at all. The key lies in giving them options but not overwhelming them with those. Studies have concluded that five is the absolute limit for options in UX web design enabling users to make a choice.
3. The Framing Principle
When dealing with product purchases with various options, many companies apply the framing principle. By sandwiching the ideal option between two other extremes akin to a small, medium, and large concepts, many websites encourage users to choose the medium one – a happy compromise for both the company and the user.
Eliminating Bias in UX Related Decision-Making
While user research is critical in choosing from various UX design options, it is equally important that any research or decision-making is free from personal bias. Two of the most common biases that impact UX decision-making process are mentioned below –
1. Over-familiarity with the product
When your team is too involved in how the product works, it tends to assume how it is supposed to work. Developing deep knowledge over time has its pitfalls as team members sometimes refuse to look beyond it. The solution lies in including an external test team and not over briefing the researchers. Also, a blind testing can be done to test the decision-making.
2. The problem of micro-focusing
Projects like UX design and development requires a singular focus for enhanced working. However, it also impedes the decision-making by providing a blinkered view of the situation. This can adversely impact the final product. One should step back and relate the project to the overall experience. Through an external audit of UX design, one can provide an impartial approach to the process.
Creating Consistent Platform-specific UX for Great CX
Consistency in design aids the user experience. It is important to be consistent in messaging, content, user interface, medium etc. Consistent representation enables the users to recognize the elements across platforms and anticipate the follow-up action, thereby speeding up their learning curve. This enhances trust and increases engagement. This is why Amazon has color-coded its affirmative buttons across both its website and app. One can use style guides or UI kits as well to ensure design consistency, especially for content-heavy projects. Content and interaction should also be consistent. The tone, style, mood, and quality must be aligned. Adhering to a brand guideline is an enabler in this direction.
Tesla – A Shining Example of UX Leading to CX Greatness
CEO Elon Musk stresses that purchasing a Tesla should be a delightful customer experience and that is what the brand strives for. Tesla’s customer experience delivers on that brand promise by providing the customer with an online Design Studio to configure their car. Their retail stores have an open service bay to watch the expert technicians at work. The customer service teams visit customer homes for annual checks and VIP membership to the Tesla lounges.
A smart UX design can complement customer support, marketing, and sales to deliver an exceptional customer experience. UX is a subset of CX and involves understanding a user’s experience with a product. By focusing on optimum feasibility, viability, and usability, UX bridges any gap between the product purpose and the customer experience. UX has been acknowledged as crucial to CX success as it adds value based on understanding the customer psyche. It also accommodates that psyche in its design options and delivers the best solution to a majority of users. Ultimately, both UX and CX are customer-centric and prioritize the personal experience of the user. The union of the two can close the gap between the organization’s goals and their achievement.