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User Experience and Customer Experience: Just Like Peas and Carrots

Posted by Evencia Leite on 10/14/13 12:00 PM
Evencia Leite
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I recently attended the Total Customer Experience Summit in San Francisco, which was focused on the “Experience” both customer-centric and user-centric. Although the summit was somewhat segmented between the two, I was ultimately drawn to the importance of their relationship. Where there is an excellent customer experience (CX), an excellent user experience (UX) is part of the mix. When in harmony, they are like peas and carrots.

At first glance, I saw their relationship as “chicken and egg”, meaning one cannot exist without the other. When really, it is obvious that a “cart and horse” relationship is more appropriate as either can exist independently, but when together the horse powers the cart just as the UX powers the CX. Let’s take a closer look.

Giddy Up!

The Horse: User Experience

UX = “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system, or service.”

- The International Organization of Standardization, ISO 9241-210 

UX Design = “to devise for desired user perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system, or service.”

- Willy Lai, Director of User Experience Design at Samsung

In other words, give them what they want – maybe even before they know that they want it!

The Cart: Customer Experience

CX = “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

- Forrester

And, make sure they like the way they receive it!

Not as easy as it sounds! Design with your customers in mind.

In fact, imagine your perfect customer, define his characteristics and create an environment that makes it easy to exude those perfect attributes. For example, if you owned a utility company, the following might be a list of traits your perfect customer would possess:

  1. Pay on-time and online
  2. No hard copy of the bill – all paperless
  3. Doesn’t use much electricity during peak times
  4. They do not contact the call center because they find all that they seek on the website
  5. Purchase high efficiency electronics/appliances as not to waste electricity

All of the above would save your company money and ultimately create happy customers (CX). So, where is the sweet spot between your business initiatives, Tech realities for a great UX, and must-haves for CX? I imagine somewhere in the middle…

UX Venn Diagram
The Marriage of User Experience and Customer Experience


What’s the trail of breadcrumbs to get there?

An amazing user experience!

Creating a well-oiled user experience can be challenging. A website and/or app might work technologically, but the journey the user has to take to get to the end result is bumpy and peppered with wrong turns and dead ends. Frankly, that is disastrous. Below outlines examples of the Good and the Bad:

Utility Company Chart User Experience: The Good vs. The Bad

Your customers should be left thinking, “Holy Moly, I had no idea that I could get all that great information and service from my utility company – I didn’t even have to talk to anybody!” It is hard to imagine an individual reporting a poor customer experience when the user experience goes above and beyond his expectations.

Give Us the Tools!

Tool # 1: Knowledge

Customer experience stewards must feed accurate information to the UX design team. Nothing is built well in the dark. Find out what your customers want. Customer intercepts and surveys can draw a great blueprint. Don’t guess - it’s expensive to go back!

Tool #2: Imagination

UX designers get out of your head and into the heads of your users/customers. Think, ‘it would be so cool if…

Utilize these tools well enough and your CX will have all the horsepower it needs!

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Topics: Market Research, Food Service, Featured, Consumer Electronics, Grocery, Retail

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