Every business delivers a customer experience, and whether this is done with intention or by default, this experience is your brand brought to life.

Your challenge is to deliver an intentional customer experience in such a compelling way — whether through the User Experience (UX), through interactions with colleagues (such as Customer Service), or through systems and processes — that this experience drives positive customer attitudes and behaviors.

But before you face this challenge, let’s first define some terms:

BRAND: Traditionally, branding is the comprehensive representations of your company (your logo, jingle, spokesperson, product, etc.). But in this context, Brand can be defined as the emotions, thoughts, feelings, and even physical reactions your audience has in response to your brand representations.

USER EXPERIENCE (UX):  UX is your user’s sensory interaction and impression with a specific product, design, website, app, or software.  The design of the interface — its usability, information architecture, navigation, comprehension, etc. — all combine to create the UX, which can be positive or negative.

In this day and age, UX is critical for any digital product.  No matter how well designed your site may be, if your users can’t navigate it to find what they’re looking for, they simply won’t come back.  By designing a simple, or easy to use, or even fun experience, your users’ positive experience will keep them coming back.  Know that users decide within a few seconds whether your site or app is worth their time. A UX designer designs products that solve the right problem in an efficient and enjoyable manner.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX):  CX has a greater scope than UX or Brand, it is more than emotions, more than just visual perceptions, it is the overall holistic experience that a user has over the entire lifecycle of interaction. CX is the umbrella concept encompassing all interactions, all brand representations, all people interactions, all online and system interactions, all marketing channels, and all product interactions over time. Customer Experience involves designing a customer’s interactions in order to either meet or exceed their expectations.

CX is important because both positive and negative experiences influence the likelihood of repeat transactions with your company. This is especially important in today’s environment of tech savvy users who have the power to choose between many available competitors.  Great CX can not only help increase your revenue and sales, but also help you gain competitive advantage and reduce churn.  Since studies have shown that a high percentage of customers are willing to pay more for improved customer experience it’s clear the most obvious benefit of CX is to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

Let’s see how these three different concepts interact for your customer:

In our first example, you want to order airline tickets ONLINE.  You’ve heard it’s easier to download an airline app to browse and buy tickets than calling and working through a company agent.  Even though you’ve never used an airline app before, the self-explanatory interface, clear navigation, and fast loading time allow you to find and book the perfect flight at the perfect time and at a reasonable cost in under 10 minutes.  A perfect example of a great User Experience (UX).

In this contrasting example, you’ve downloaded a different online app to order a specific brand’s stereo equipment because you have a very favorable impression of that brand being of high quality.  However, while using the app, you find the interface confusing, and the search feature is limited. Bottom line, you can’t find the equipment you want.  Clearly a poor User Experience.  However, this app has a Chat feature. When you engage it, a friendly customer service rep answers quickly and explains, step-by-step, how to find the equipment with the right features you want.  Everything is understandable with the guidance and they offer a $50 credit towards your purchase.  We’ve moved from a poor User Experience to a great Customer Experience.  The app’s interface was confusing and poorly designed which made using it a bad experience.  However, your experience with the people of the stereo app’s brand had excellent customer service and the unexpected free credit made up for the poor UX.

These examples demonstrate that UX is really a component of CX, and each play an important role in the building of and overall success of a CX program, the reputation of your brand, and customers’ loyalty to your brand.  Failures in any part lead to a bad customer experience overall. Think about this as you develop products and services, and make sure to begin with the customer in mind.

Brand and User Experience are the foundation of a good Customer Experience.  They are very much intertwined and one isn’t necessarily more ‘important’ than the other.  UX and CX professionals have complementary skills, but in most cases are not working as closely together as they should be.  UX doesn’t always deal with the customer directly.  Whereas, CX addresses directly the many interactions that a user has with your company and needs to be consistent at each touchpoint, both online and offline.

At the end of the day, putting your customer first is the most important thing.  It’s all about finding the balance that works for your business and both factors the necessary resources and attention to make a difference over time.

What seems to get more attention and resources at your company – Brand, UX, or CX? We believe CX is the least understood, and most under-resourced and has the ability to make the most difference for a company, which is why CX is becoming such a popular concept.

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