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User experience vs. customer experience

Understanding their differences and how they intersect
Creative teamwork at work. Close up of hands designing a mobile app prototype including UX, CX, and UI.

How many times have you given up on a website because you couldn't find what you were looking for? Or tried an app that was so complicated that you deleted it right away? If that sounds familiar, you've experienced firsthand the consequences of poor user experience (UX). In a world where digital interactions reign supreme, a great user experience isn't just a nicety — it's a necessity. 

What is UX design?

User experience (UX) design shapes how people perceive and engage with your brand, products, and services. It covers the whole of a user's journey — from first encounter to final outcome — and includes their thoughts, feelings, and actions at every step of this process. UX design is the intentional craft of making these interactions smooth, intuitive, and enjoyable. 

By applying UX design principles, organizations aim to create experiences that connect deeply with users, addressing their needs and desires while also matching their overarching business goals. This approach involves careful attention to detail, consideration of user feedback, and a dedication to ongoing improvement.

UX design seeks to bridge the gap between user expectations and organizational goals, ensuring that every interaction leaves a lasting impression that improves overall satisfaction and strengthens long-term relationships between users and brands. Through effective UX design, companies can satisfy and surpass user expectations, thereby creating positive customer experiences (CX) and ultimately contributing to their long-term success.

UX vs. CX

While UX focuses on the user's interaction with a specific product or service, CX encompasses the entire journey a customer has with a brand. If you’re curious about the nuanced differences, check out this article on UX vs. CX for a deeper dive.

Why UX matters to CX

Imagine using a website or app that seems to suit you perfectly — effortless, natural, and satisfying. That's the result of a great UX, which can make users happy and loyal advocates. It’s the natural chemistry of a good relationship.

On the other hand, facing obstacles like awkward interfaces or confusing navigation can ruin the entire customer experience and frustrate users. Studies show that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Users feel lost and want to give up and leave, with 70% abandoning purchases due to poor user experience. This dissatisfaction can result in lost revenue and a negative reputation. 


The ROI of every $1 invested in UX, according to Forrester.

Good UX is good business. While some departments may be reluctant to switch up UX because of concerns about aesthetics, it's important to understand that UX is not just about design; it's about meeting users' needs effectively. These users are real people with real expectations and desires. Ultimately, it's these individuals who matter, as they are the ones driving your business. Ignoring their wants and expectations risks losing their loyalty and, in turn, your revenue. By understanding people's needs and designing smooth experiences around them, companies can improve their CX game and stand out in the market.

What are some tips for improving UX?

Improving UX design is not a one-time task, but a continuous process of learning and improving. This approach is essential to keep up with changing technology and consumer behaviors. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use data and user feedback to measure, evaluate, and enhance the UX of your product, service, or system. Here are some practical tips to help navigate the iterative UX design process:

Illustration of a business man pointing at a bulls eye with an arrow on it and a positive bar graph in front of him.

1. Define clear UX goals and metrics

Before collecting data and user feedback, establish what you aim to achieve and how you'll measure it. For example, do you want to increase the speed, accuracy, or satisfaction of the account creation process? Do you want to reduce the errors, drop-offs, or complaints of the check-out process? Do you want to improve brand awareness, perception, or sentiment? Depending on your UX goals, you need to define the appropriate metrics, such as time, clicks, ratings, conversions, retention, or Net Promoter Score (NPS), to track them. Setting clear goals and metrics helps focus your efforts and keep tabs on whether your UX changes are working for (or against) your goals. 

UX vs CX tip 2 - Collecting data

2. Collect data from multiple sources and methods

To get an accurate picture of your UX, use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of sources and methods. For example, you can use analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or Microsoft Power BI, to track and analyze the behavior, performance, and outcomes of the users on your website or app. You can also use feedback tools, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups or AI-powered sentiment analysis, to gather and understand the opinions, preferences, and emotions of the users on your product, service, or system. Combining these approaches ensures a well-rounded understanding of the entire user experience.

Illustration of a worker on a laptop with charts, icons, and calculator behind him denoting data and data analysis.

3. Analyze data to identify insights and opportunities

Once you have collected your user data, it’s time to analyze it to identify patterns, trends, and gaps that can inform your future UX design decisions. For example, after collecting data from Google Analytics, user interviews, and heatmaps, you might note that users consistently abandon the checkout process at the payment stage. Digging into both quantitative data (high drop-off rate at the payment page) and qualitative feedback (users expressing frustration with form fields), you learn that a complex form is causing checkout abandonment. 

Illustration of two workers coming out of a webpage with signs of innovation and design thinking around them - lightbulb, paper plane, gears.

4. Act on data insights to improve and validate your UX design

Utilize insights obtained from data analysis and user feedback to refine your UX. For example, if you discover through insights that users struggle with the payment form, consider redesigning it to simplify the layout or pre-fill information, such as automatically selecting the credit card type based on the unique starting digits. Utilize prototyping tools to create mockups of the redesigned form and conduct A/B testing to compare its performance against the original design. Analyze the results to assess if the redesigned form leads to a decrease in checkout abandonment and an increase in completed transactions. This iterative process ensures continuous enhancement and validation of UX design decisions.

The power of UX

Every click, swipe, and interaction present an opportunity to enhance UX and drive meaningful connections with users. By embracing a user-centric approach and leveraging data-driven insights, businesses can continuously refine their UX design, ensuring that every digital touchpoint resonates with users and aligns with organizational goals. 

After all, in today's competitive market, where brands are often interchangeable and customer loyalty can make or break a brand, if you don't offer the experience your customers are seeking, they'll go to a company that does. Ultimately, prioritizing UX isn't just about creating a good impression; it's about ensuring long-term viability and growth.

Do you know what bad CX is costing you?

See why prioritizing great UX and CX isn't just about customer satisfaction — it's key to retaining customers, boosting revenue, and sustaining long-term growth.

View the infographic