The Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience

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Martina Petrina

Content Writer

⏱ Reading Time: 6 minutes

In the last couple of years, many new buzzwords around the digital environment and customers have risen. But, the two of them have been distinguished as the most important for brands walking their way towards loyal customers- user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX).

You’ve probably heard about both terms and how important they are for the success of your company. Still, you can’t determine what is the difference between one another and which is more important? Do you need to put more effort into UX or CX? Don’t both terms mean basically the same thing?

🚀Read Customer Experience Guide: How to Put your Customers First?🚀

For these reasons, we are going to explain the difference between the concepts of UX and CX and help you determine which is more important.

What is User Experience (UX)?

User Experience (UX) is a concept developed in the computer era with the intention to describe the experience people have while interacting with products, services, apps, websites a brand offers. UX describes a snapshot of the user’s interaction with the brand and it is limited to a fraction of time, rather than long-term experience.

The first pillar of good user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customers. The second one is to fulfill those needs, elegantly and without the fuss. Whether its a purchase over a website, in-app experience, or a telephone call to a customer care agent – each of those small snapshots of user’s time should be paved with ease and positive outcome.

The 4 main elements of user experience are:

VALUE – Is it useful?
USABILITY – Is it easy to use?
ADOPTABILITY – Is it easy to start using?
DESIRABILITY – Is it fun and engaging?

Good UX

Picture 1. User experience

User Experience Metrics

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Right? User Experience (UX) metric are important because they ensure UX design decisions are made and evaluated using data rather than opinions. Their role is to measure, compare, and track the user experience of an app or a website over time.

Your UX metrics should be closely related to your objectives and overall business KPIs. Some of the most frequent UX metrics are:

The success rate
The abandonment rate
The error rate
Time to complete the task

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Unlike the UX, customer experience has a much wider scope. CX is a concept describing the overall experience a user has with a brand, without the time or channel limitation. Consider CX as an umbrella concept that encompasses all channels, platforms, products, and interactions that the user has with a brand over time. The feeling the customer has around the brand is a result of the customer experience. 

Good CX

Picture 2. Customer Experience

According to Forrester, customers will pay 4.5 times more if the customer experience is good.

Typically, CX refers to how users perceive:

  • Customer service
  • Sales process
  • Brand Reputation
  • Advertising
  • Fairness of pricing
  • Product delivery

The Difference Between CX and UX 

Although UX and CX are different, they need to work closely together to truly be successful.

UX is actually a component of CX, and each plays an important role in the overall success of a brand. So, customer experience representatives should be cooperating with product engineers to make sure everything functions together.

Consider this as you develop products and services, and make sure to think from the customers’ perspective. By being involved in the entire customer journey, you can see how each role plays into a customer’s overall satisfaction with the product and the company.

Failures in either area lead to a bad customer experience overall. When a situation like that arises, both disciplines put people and research at the center of what they do to provide better experiences and value while ultimately boosting profits.

The ultimate goal is a product or website that ideally meshes the required elements of navigation and ease with the extra features that will help the brand to stand out.


Fantastic UX + Poor CX
You may have a pleasant experience booking flight tickets on a website or an app, but it takes a lot of time to reach a customer service agent about a refund.

Poor UX + Fantastic CX
You may download an app, which is hard to use and confusing. But as soon as you post a complaint, they contact you and compensate it in some way.

At the end of the day, to improve CX, it is important that you first understand the problem. If it’s a simple UX issue, it could be simpler than replacing the CX of a brand. In some cases, an attempt to reshape CX can solve these problems with UX.

It’s about using data to analyze your business and measure the impact of how you treat your customers. Hence UX represents a huge part of CX and needs to play a major role when thinking from the perspective of a customer.

Good UX is built on top of CX

Photo 3. Good CX is built on top of good UX

UX vs CX Example

Having a great UX doesn’t necessarily mean you have good CX and vice versa.

Let’s imagine John needs a Live chat platform for his business. He does a Google search for such a customer support service and easily finds as it has great search engine optimization (SEO).

He effortlessly navigates the headings and links, because the information infrastructure, readability, and taxonomy are well thought. Finally, John is able to go from the entry to complete the desired task in three clicks and approximately 45 seconds.

But then, John has a specific question on how to complete a request, so he emails Paldesk. However, they are getting back to him only two days later suggesting to make a phone call instead. So it required escalation and an additional time waiting for a response. John finally got an answer to his question an hour later and gets all the necessary information to complete the request.

In this mock scenario, great UX, poor CX. Despite the situation, John still decides for Paldesk as it offered the best value for money in a package with its killing features. However, it doesn’t always end up this way when CX fails. Also, luckily, any resemblance to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.

Read Happy Customer Guidelines article to improve your customer experience.

Which is More Important – UX or CX?

The distinction between UX and CX is important because it enables you to clearly identify problems that your brand has and respond to them. However, these two disciplines should not be considered in isolation, with the Internet of things, they become part of everyday life.

Therefore, just like branding, user experience does not start or end only on your site. Entering the world of omnichannel means interacting with your customers wherever they are. People expect an impeccable experience. Offering them omnichannel support across all your channels means interacting with them at any time.

Each interaction actually affects the customer’s probability of visiting a platform on different devices and make a purchase. By focusing on the omnichannel approach, you essentially combine the buying experience of your customers across different channels.

CX vs UX: Final thoughts

Although there are some differences between CX and UX, the two disciplines will only interfere as technology becomes more and more integrated into our daily life.

To be at an advantage as a UXer, consider the whole eco-system of the customer, not just about the app or site you’re working on. Rather than just thinking about the user, enhance your game and future proof of the inevitable integration of CX and UX.

Ultimately, it is not essential what you call yourself as long as you ensure a great experience of any interaction with your product. All areas of the organization need to work together to assure that all customer contact points are tested on friction, optimized, and of course, that they go above and beyond what competitors are offering.

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The Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience was last modified: December 16th, 2020 by Milica Vujasin
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