Think about the last time you had to call a company or institution to make a payment or get information. Chances are your journey started many steps before that point (maybe while talking to someone, after receiving an email, or after trying something first on the company’s website), yet most of these corporate self-service systems focus only on the part of your experience involving the phone call.
Many people use the terms Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) interchangeably, but they are not the same. The scope and impact of each is very different and has huge implications for your overall experience strategy and long term customer loyalty.
So what’s the difference between CX and UX?
We can define customer experience as the collection of steps customers go through – from the moment they look up information and perform comparisons online, to when they subscribe to your service and make a payment, to when users resort to pick up the phone and call your representative if their needs aren’t properly met. On the other hand, user experience refers to a single interaction in a specific channel using a preferred device.
There’s nothing wrong with optimizing your particular self-service channels, whether it’s your online portal, IVR or mobile application. The risk comes from thinking that each user experience is independent from each other, and not recognizing the fact that the user’s ultimate goal is to solve their problem or complete their task in the most efficient and enjoyable manner, regardless of the service channel, medium or device of their choosing.
The case of mismatched experiences
Very often we see instances of mismatched experiences. For example, I recently traveled abroad and needed to add credit to a prepaid phone. I completed the process online in less than five minutes but ended up losing more than an hour with a live chat agent when I unsuccessfully tried to find details about data limits and extra costs; great UX but poor CX.
On the other hand, some friends recommended eating at a local restaurant and we wanted to look at their menu. But the company’s small website only included a logo and some photos, no menu or even an address. In the end, we were able to find out their location and had a great time. The food was fantastic, service was impeccable and they even surprised us with a courtesy house-made dessert; poor UX but great CX.
How to merge CX and UX for an effective omni-channel experience
For truly satisfied customers, you need to pay attention to both. Here are five ways to help you move from solutions on many channels to truly cohesive and effective omni-channel experiences:
- Focus on customer’s needs and wants: craft clear, frictionless end-to-end journeys
- Achieve consistency: customers want cohesive, familiar experiences across all channels
- Optimize: create individual channel experiences suited for each device, channel and context
- Be invisible: facilitate seamless and effortless transitions across channels, that don’t require users to start over
- Stay proactive: craft personalized interactions with relevant information delivered at the right time