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The Real Difference Between UX and CX

UX and CX are often used interchangeably, but understanding the differences between the two is crucial to online success. Learn more here.

The Real Difference Between UX and CX | SEJ

Whether or not you’re new to the online business marketing world, this may be the first time you’ve thought to compare User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX), as both are so often used interchangeably online and in the office. However, the two terms mean different things and understanding these differences is crucial to success—and making sure you’re employing both CX and UX. Learn what the two terms mean, how they differ, and how you can put both into action in the post below.

User Experience (UX)

UX is all about how people interact with your product and how they report their experience of that interaction. In the digital world, we tend to measure UX by looking at metrics like clicks to completion, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete task, and success rate. The key point here is about learning from users interacting with your product and, ultimately, how that can be measured to help your business with product development.

What Professionals Do

As such, UX professionals tend to focus on product development—specifically, making their product easy and enjoyable to use. UX pros also look to the user experience in order to understand any modifications they may need to make to improve the experience and make sure the users feel like they can complete the goal or task associated with the product. There are a wide range of product/user experiences that can be looked at, from websites to apps to marketing materials.

Customer Experience (CX)

CX is all about how customers interact with your brand at-large. It looks at how satisfied customers are with your business as a whole and it can be measured in multiple ways. For example, if you wanted to examine your CX you might look into if your customers continue their services or make additional purchases, if they tell others about your company, or how they describe their time with your customer service representatives, along with many other factors.

What Professionals Do

CX professionals work to analyze and improve every aspect of customer experience with the brand itself. They may closely analyze interactions via phone, in person, and through digital means. Looking at these interactions, they make decisions and strategize about the ways customer relationships can be improved to boost things like conversions and sales.

So Should You Keep the Two Departments Separate?

The differences between UX and CX have caused businesses to look at them separately for the purpose of analysis. In a 2014 survey conducted by Forrester Research, 38% of companies had divided their professional teams to handle UX and CX. In this particular study, the UX teams tended to focus on the technology side of the business, and CX with marketing. Just 13% of companies combined the UX and CX efforts in creating their team.

While the differences we have discussed so far make this approach sensible, there is also merit in combining forces in looking at UX and CX together. Let’s look at the overlap of these two aspects of interaction and see why merging the teams may be of value to modern businesses.

The Overlap of UX and CX in Practice

While the above demonstration shows that there is a difference between UX and CX, in practice there is definitely an overlap that should be acknowledged. To tackle that, I’ll tell you what the overlap is, how that interacts with a professional’s role within the company, and then we can look to an example where you can see this overlap taking place.

If you really think about it, UX is a part of the broader CX. The brand-customer relationship found through CX contains a variety of elements for analysis (outside of a product alone) that UX is ultimately not concerned with.

The customer experience includes user experience. Since professionals are focused on making sure the entire experience is positive and enjoyable for the customer, it would make sense that user interaction with the product is integrated into the larger customer/brand experience.

An Example: Customer Live Chat

It is important to see how this overlap benefits customers. Remember that users are not interacting with your product in a way that is far-removed from their overall experience with your brand.

In the example below, a customer wants to know why a certain brand’s product for detox tea would be different than a store-bought variety. Customers often have the option to shop from many different retailers for the same product—the question is: Why should they choose you? Having a live chat is one way to overlap UX with CX. On one hand, you are providing service that can directly help with user experience with your product, and on the other you are tying this interaction to your brand at large with CX interaction.

The Real Difference Between UX and CX | SEJ

The above example is taken from a live chat with SkinnyMint.

The Takeaway

While UX and CX are undeniably different, I hope this article demonstrates that your company truly does need to focus on both in order to be successful. While many companies have successfully separated teams to work on UX and CX aspects, respectively, there may be a lot of benefit from combining forces and looking at how UX is really a part of the larger CX. Further, there are many places that UX and CX overlap. One place that we looked at was a live chat scenario, where users have questions about your product specifically, but are also customers interacting with your brand in a much greater sense. In this example, it is clear to see how combining forces of UX and CX teams would be beneficial.

Do you have thoughts on UX and CX as it pertains to your own brand? Do you currently separate your teams or have them work together? Let us know in the comments section below!


Image Credits

Featured Image: Olivier Le Moal/
Screenshot by Sergio Aicardi. Taken December 2015.


Sergio Aicardi Director of Operations at The Miami SEO Company

As a search engine marketing specialist and blogger, I truly enjoy sharing my insights with those that are interested in ...

The Real Difference Between UX and CX

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