Customer experience vs user experience

What’s What?

Whether you are running a manufacturing enterprise or a service-orientated company, your business exists because people are requesting what you offer. Without demand from the outside, you essentially have no one to supply with products or services. The people you are serving need professional attention in order to establish trust and leave them wanting more of your brand.

Now, what people are you satisfying? In this article we aim to demonstrate customers and users of brands, the difference between the two groups and how they work together.

CX: Customer Experience

First of all, you have your customers. These are the people whose expectations you are trying to satisfy by creating products or delivering services. They provide your organisation with money in exchange for the services or products you offer. Customers are the people making a cautious decision to buy your product, and this group includes both one-time buyers and people who choose to continuously purchase from you.

Customer experience is all about the holistic experience that your customers have of your brand. Just as you have perceptions of people based on the full experience you have had while interacting with them, customer experience is about the perception a person has of your brand based on their interaction history with you. Everything you do or don’t do impacts this experience, so it is the business’ responsibility to create strategies that do right by the customers. The better experience they have of your business, the more customers will return and eventually leave positive feedback. When it comes to B2B customers, these are often not the actual users of your brand, as they are buying your product to provide to their customers.

We at WeZimplify offer the use of our platform where you, among many things, have the opportunity to create health checks, which process insights to your company directly from your customers.

If you want to learn more about CX and the strategies around it that could differentiate your brand from others, please visit our previous blog post: Customer Experiences as a Differentiator – why, what and how.

UX: User Experience

The second kind of people whose expectations need satisfying are the users, the people who use or employ your products or services in their daily life. These people often interact more with the brand or the product than with the business itself. When talking about users and user experience, these people aren’t thought of as the ones doing the actual transaction and thereby providing the business with money. The user is thought of as the person needing good design, simplicity in function and products that improve their situation and lifestyle.

A way of understanding this is that users are the people who come after the customers. So your first requirement is still to meet the needs of the customer, making sure that they want to buy your product. Satisfying users is about making sure that they want to operate or employ your product, so now factors of functionality and elegance in the interface design come into play, in order to create products that are pleasant to use. User experience is about all interactions the users have with your brand and specific product.

Notable Resemblances that Cause Confusion

There is no denying that CX and UX are often mistaken as being synonymous. And it’s an easy mistake to make. Ultimately, the experts in both disciplines put people and research at the centre of their work to optimise experiences from the outside, establish value in what is offered and create a foundation for a prospering business.

Considering today’s world, with the internet of things and the empowerment of constant opinion-sharing, the work done by each discipline is becoming increasingly connected to the other as users of products are starting to demand the same attention and reviewing metrics as customers. Thus, having people on the outside deeming that customers and users need the same kind of management in optimising their experiences surely makes it hard for the companies providing them with products or services to distinguish between the two disciplines.

Differences in Meaning and Scope

Are you confused yet? There are many causes for confusion around what distinguishes the two disciplines and, according to Usability Geek, there are even many professionals who struggle to see the difference between these two important people-factors. But the truth is, the scope and mindset around both terms are undeniably different. So, let’s look at how they can be set apart from one another:

  • First of all, UX focuses on the end user whereas CX focuses on the buyer. One of the primary distinctions of the two is the scope of inviting outside people’s opinions into your strategies. There are three levels of focusing on the relationship between the company and the people it is serving, where CX focuses on all three and UX primarily focuses on the first two. These levels are the single-interaction level (using a product), journey level (the experience while using the product to perform a task) and relationship level (which highlights all interactions the customer has with the brand and the company).
  • While it is possible that the user and the customer are the same person, satisfying customer needs demands different tactics than satisfying user needs.
  • An important notion is that sometimes someone is buying on behalf of someone else, e.g. parents buying toys or gadgets for their children, businesses buying products from another business to provide to their customers or CEOs approving products that will be used within a specific company but by frontline employees. CX experts focus on the one buying, while UX experts focus on the one employing the product.
  • CX focuses on boosting revenue by establishing a strong brand, being attentive towards the improvement of customer service and making high-quality advertisements. UX focuses on usability and functionality of single products to make using them a delightful experience as another outlook on boosting revenue.
  • CX is a holistic approach where people’s experiences are measured and thought of through all channels of a business’ brand. UX focuses on specific products, applications or websites one at a time.
  • When surveying current experiences, CX experts tend to review a larger number of people to understand their experience of the brand, while UX experts prioritise getting to know the actual users of the specific product, application or website. While CX designers use metrics such as retention rates, customer lifetime value (CLV) and customer efforts and net promoter scores, UX designers focus on metrics that provide them with answers on how the user experiences the product, its functions and usability.

So, who is your user and who is your customer?

In our experience, it is valuable to think of these people as parts of a whole. At WeZimplify, we believe that the customer experience is about the full journey someone interacting with a brand undergoes and that CX is therefore concerned with the holistic picture. UX should be seen as a segment of this, where you are choosing a fragment in the customer journey and focusing on optimising the experience from the product-segment alone.

  • Your Customer: The person interacting with your brand and buying your product
  • Your User: The people employing either your service or product

The user and customer may very well be the same person. If a person goes out and buys a new computer for themselves, they are both the buyer and the user. The same goes for manufacturing businesses that need manufacturing equipment to provide their end users with products.

At WeZimplify, we have developed a platform for insight-based decision-making which will provide you with:

  • Professional guidance from start to end
  • Support in getting input about relevant customers’ and users’ experiences
  • A professional foundation for future decision-making for business, product and innovation management
  • New ways of working and perspectives on business and customers
  • Customer involvement in virtually all relevant areas of business and innovation
  • Knowledge that’s adapted around the customer journey as a tool for understanding
  • Support in launching products that create the right value

Taking care of the customers and stakeholders of your business is key to corporate survival. Luckily, making sure that companies are working in close contact with the right experts in areas such as CX is what we do best. If you enjoyed this article and want to get started on a platform for smarter decision-making based on thorough insights, visit our website today.