User Experience versus Customer Experience

This is an “Age of customer” and we come across different buzzwords related to customer-centric initiative, however the two of them have been distinguished as the most important for brands walking their way towards loyal customers- user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX).

Now, you must be thinking both are the same things and maybe some of us are using these terms interchangeably but in reality both are different.

Hmm surprised? let’s discuss the difference between these two terms and how they are related to each other.

User Experience (UX) deals with people interacting with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction. Delivering good user experience means that customers and potential customers can find your information quickly and easily; they can complete their desired task effortlessly and they can navigate your site’s pages smoothly without lag.

4 main elements of user experience are:

Value — Is it useful?

Usability — Is it easy to use?

Adoptability — Is it easy to start using?

Desirability — Is it fun and engaging?

Great UX sits at the intersection of Usefulness, Usability, and Desirability.

User experience can be measured using success rate, error rate, bounce rate, time to task completion, clicks to completion.

Customer Experience (CX), is how customers perceive their interactions with your company, this encompasses all the interactions a person has with your brand.

Good customer experience means that your customer had a pleasant interaction with your company and there’s a general feeling of positivity about the overall experience, your company, and everything associated with it.

Typically, CX refers to how users perceive:

Customer service

Sales process

Brand Reputation


Fairness of pricing

Product delivery

Customer experience is measured in the overall experience, likelihood to continue use, and likelihood to recommend to others.

In nutshell, UX is a component of CX, and each plays an important role in the overall success of a brand. Failures in either area lead to a bad customer experience overall. When a situation like that arises, both disciplines put people and research at the center of what they do to provide better experiences and value while ultimately boosting profits.

The distinction between UX and CX is important because it enables you to identify problems that your brand has and respond to them. However, these two disciplines should not be considered in silos instead they need to work closely together to truly be successful.

For example, Rohit does a google search to find accommodation to stay and find He then navigates the site to search for the accommodation options he desires and finds it. He found the site easily because had good search engine optimization (SEO). He effortlessly navigated the website, because the information infrastructure, readability, and taxonomy were well-thought-out. Finally, Rohit has selected the accommodation he liked and completed the booking in three clicks over 60 seconds. This is example of Rohit’s user experience with but after a week he canceled his plan and decided to cancel his booking, but it took him 3 days to reach the customer service agent and initiate his refund process.

In this mock scenario, despite an initial win in UX, failed in CX, because the overall interaction was unpleasant and difficult for Rohit. Rohit is probably not likely to return to, recommend the website to anyone else. He’s likely to speak negatively about his experience with as a whole.

This is a classic example of Fantastic UX + Poor CX

You may have a pleasant experience booking accommodation on a website or an app, but it takes a lot of time to reach a customer service agent about a refund.

It can work in reverse, as well. You might have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team, customer service representatives, and organizational structure (all CX-related items), but if customers’ interactions with your website, mobile app, software, or other product (all UX-related items) create barriers to completion of the desired tasks, overall CX fails.

This is a classic example of Poor UX + Fantastic CX

You may download an app, which is hard to use and confusing. But as soon as you post a complaint, they contact you and compensate for it in some way.

At the end of the day, to improve CX, it is important that you first understand the problem. If it’s a simple UX issue, it could be simpler than replacing the CX of a brand. In some cases, an attempt to reshape CX can solve these problems with UX.

UX and CX must marry to make your customers happy. Customers interpret all their interactions with your brand and conclude if they are satisfied or not. Failures in customer experience or user experience can impact your success as a business; conversely, a good user and customer experience can bring your business in the right direction, creating company promoters who will create more value for your company long-term.

Hence the bottom line is to consider both CX and UX when developing your brand and honing your products or services.

I am a customer experience enthusiast with mission to discover customer experience challenges and designing programs that really delight customers.