Against the backdrop of a volatile economic climate and hyper-competitive business environment, the adage ‘the customer is king’ has never been more pertinent. The savviest business leaders realise that customerinteractions are make or break – good experiences lead to recommendations and repeat busi- ness, while bad experiences can result in catastrophic reputational damage.

However, there’s an issue which is holding companies back from getting a true 360-degree view of what their customers want. Many businesses are guilty of confusing two common industry terms: Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX), either believing that they’re one and the same – or that by getting one right, theother will inevitably follow.

Instead, although they’re closely linked, Customer Experience and User Experience are two distinct areas,impacting on different parts of the customer journey. At AzteQ, we believe that only when businesses understand both CX and UX can they truly meet customer expectations.

CX and UX – what’s the difference?

Simply put, CX refers to the experience that a customer has with a company – what they think the brand stands for and their perception of what it’s like to interact with the business. Apple is a great example of a firm who is getting this right. From a slick website and engaging press conferences to prolific TV ads and billboards, Apple’s marketing team has succeeded in making the brand synonymous with tech innovation.

UX, on the other hand, is the overall experience a person has when using a product or a service. For a digital service this could be whether the user interface is easy to navigate, intuitive and without irritating glitches. For physicalgoods, UX is all about how easy a product is to operate and how it functions. Good UX is impor- tant from the moment a product is unboxed, right the way through to how easy it is to recycle at the end of its life.

For many, UX represents a longer-term engagement with a company. For example, you can have a brilliantcustomer experience, but if your product doesn’t provide a great experience too, then it doesn’t matter howgreat the brand is, eventually that will wear thin and brand loyalty will diminish.

 

How to get it right

So, while different, both CX and UX play an important role in generating brand loyalty and ultimately

ensuring business success.[gThe firms most likely to succeed are those who understand that, by looking afterboth CX and UX, they can provide the best possible experience at each step of a customer’s journey.

When it comes to CX, feedback is key to making improvements. If you can understand what your customers’perception of your brand is, you can provide them an improved customer experience. Collecting, analysing, andimplementing the feedback should be the process for improving this.

To improve UX, designers, product managers, marketers, and researchers alike need to understand how real people respond to products and experiences. From what they like and dislike to where they get stuck and confused – the valuable insight gathered from these usability tests can be eye-opening, and lead to signifi- cant improvement.

 

Success starts from within

We think that a vital part of getting both CX and UX right is to equip teams with the right tech to deliver the best products and services, and to help them evolve alongside changing customer needs. And we’re not alone. Digitaltransformation projects, which are driven by the need to improve the way brands interact with customers, are top of the agenda for companies in all industries.

However, any technologies that companies buy to improve CX and UX (from ecommerce platforms toconferencing facilities and helpdesk systems) need to be well managed from selection and implementationthrough to adoption and support. To succeed, businesses need to adopt technology to deliver against clearcustomer-focused objectives, ensuring staff know how to get the best from the tech – and measuring its efficacyalong the way. It’s here where experts can help – and it’s a big part of what we do at AzteQ.

Of course, when the chips are down, both CX and UX strategies have people and research at the centre – to providebetter experiences and value, while ultimately boosting profits. Indeed, in a world of[gomnichannel, where people expect a seamless experience across a brand’s websites, apps, and physical stores, the two disciplines are becoming closer together and should not be considered in isolation.

But, to succeed, businesses must deliver against both CX and UX objectives. And, for us, the key is recognis- ing the differences and the similarities between the two, and in ensuring that both are adequately covered in your customer interaction strategies.