UX vs. CX and the difference between a UX designer and a CX designer

Customer Experience (CX) is a fairly new concept and it’s exciting to see it getting awareness. CX covers all types of interactions that customers have with a brand. It’s an all-channel experience and includes interactions at a variety of moments, such as discovering, making a purchase, complaining, providing support and so on. The quality of CX can be measured as an overall experience, which switches in-between the digital and physical environment.

Several years ago I got used to explaining what User experience (UX) design is to basically everybody outside of my professional network who asked what I was working with. I still do quite a lot of explaining but the awareness level is somewhat higher. CX is now at that emergence level where it needs to be defined and presented for others. Some companies have been doing some sort of CX design for some while now and it’s even more important to introduce it to clients who haven’t given it much thought so far.

One common mistake is that of switching the terms UX design with CX design. My guess is that people put an equal mark between the user and the customer. User = Customer. UX design = CX design. Or what’s the difference?

First of all, being a user involves a product that should be used. The experience surrounding this is basically limited to that product, may it be an app, a website, or a physical object. This should of course be in sync with the client’s other products and business strategy but the influence span goes just as much as to that specific product.

CX design, on the other hand, looks at the entire experience and requires a great deal of business skills. A CX designer will be an expert when it comes to processes within a company and have an understanding for the customer’s entire journey. We’re now talking about a customer because we are going past the point of finding out how apps / websites / devices are used. A customer is any person getting in contact with the brand whether or not they may at some point use one or several products provided by the brand. 

The customer’s touch points with the brand are various and a customer may become user of several different products or services at some point across her journey. UX is part of CX, as each product needs to be user friendly. Te customer experience as a whole is of course influenced by the quality of the experience at each point but CX is especially interested in the entire customer journey from start and until the end.

Because of this, a UX designer can’t just step in the shoes of a CX designer. The CX analyst is more of a business expert that has deep knowledge about service design, UX design and business strategy combined. That being said, I think it’s possible and rather natural that a good CX designer has a background as a UX designer.

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