I’m likely to ruffle a few feathers with this, but it has to be said, and said plainly: without a focus on optimizing the User Experience, spending time on developing the Customer Experience is a waste of effort and resources.
User Experience vs. Customer Experience
The UX vs CX debate has been raging for a while now. You’ll find arguments on UXmatters by Jon Innes, and on numerous blogs including Tim Lowden and Kerry Bodine. If you’re in a festive mood, there’s even a UX vs CX chart and graph at uxmas.com. Rest assured, the debate will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
User Experience – The Foundation of a good Customer Experience
Regardless of which camp you fall into, and which definition you find most credible for UX and CX, without a robust, enjoyable product/service User Experience, Customer Experience efforts are largely moot. Take Comcast (comcast.com), who arguably has some of the worst Customer Experience in recent memory. Their CX has been so bad that the “It’s Comcastic” branding had to be scrapped after it came to universally mean “poor service”. Comcast would have been out of business long ago if their UX was as poor as their CX; but they are hanging on because their UX for their cable service is relatively good (and because they are a pseudo-monopoly…). To become a company that’s a pleasure to work with at all interaction points (not just UX), now is the time to put more effort, time and resources into improving their CX.
Especially in business scenarios, all customers aren’t users, and all users aren’t customers, however, if the user experience is bad then users won’t become (or remain) customers, and customers won’t remain users if they have any choice in the matter. By building your foundation upon a delightful user experience, customer experience interactions around support, purchasing, discovery, and reengagement become that much easier to build and promote. At the end of the day, all I want to do is make products/services that people want to use, which ultimately serves the same goal of informing, acquiring, and retaining customers. When people want to use your product/service, that’s a great experience to have.