CEOs: UX is Part of CX and Here’s Why That’s Important
As a CEO (or CMO/CTO), you know the customer experience (CX) is incredibly important to your business. Even though customer experience and user experience are different, they are so tightly woven together that the research we do for our clients always involves both.
Technically, customer experience (CX) includes the customer’s many contacts with a business—a customer service call, a visit to the retail store, and an online shopping experience. User experience (UX) is part of that whole experience—the customer’s contact with an interface (a cable box, car navigation system, mobile app, or website).
Why does this matter to you?
My team is often called in to fix user experience problems that are at least partially identified by customers calling or emailing to complain about the software or website. Sometimes the problem is that the website/software is confusing and the customer can’t find what he or she is looking for. Other times, we see a problem that expands beyond the user experience. For example, sales reps aren’t given the information they need to properly service customers. Or, the company’s current customer journey spans many touchpoints, from a website, to a sales rep, to a customer service rep, back to the sales rep, etc. and there are problems across that entire experience. What was thought of a user experience problem turns out to be a customer experience nightmare.
The recommendations we provide at the end of user research then, necessarily, include strategic recommendations for improvements to the customer experience. All too often, however, these customer experience changes are brushed aside for the immediate gratification for improving something tangible and relatively easy, like changing the navigation or modifying the checkout flow. But what actually needed to happen was systemic change within the business to improve the customer experience—a much more difficult task. And one that needs to be led by someone in charge of the business—not the people who are in charge of making changes to the website.
Looking at the customer experience and user experience together means:
- You’re fixing the root cause of the problem. Sometimes that will be digital, sometimes not.
- In the case of digital, you’re building something of value—you’re not just creating apps and features because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing.
- You’re evolving the business by identifying and solving for customer experience issues and finding new ways to better serve your customers (whether you’re giving customers what they specifically ask for or things they don’t yet know they want).
Don’t separate UX and CX. Get the most out of the time and money you put into user research to examine and improve the entire customer experience. Fixing the digital experience is only part of the equation—improving the customer experience is the true return on investment.