Achieving exceptional CX as a UX designer demands embracing a customer-centric approach and investing substantial effort. This is how to do it.

Welcome to the world of customer experience (CX), where every interaction, touchpoint, and engagement forms the foundation of a profound and lasting relationship between businesses and their valued customers.

In today’s hyper-competitive market, the journey a customer embarks upon while interacting with a brand holds the key to success or failure. From the very first moment of discovery to the final transaction, every step in this journey shapes the overall perception of a company, ultimately influencing whether customers become loyal advocates or disillusioned critics.

In this article, we’ll explore the significance of customer experience, delve into the essential metrics, and unravel how UX designers play a pivotal role in shaping delightful and impactful experiences for customers worldwide.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience, referred to as CX, encompasses the customers’ all-encompassing perception of their interactions with the business or brand.

CX materializes from every encounter a customer has with the organization, spanning from website navigation to engaging with customer service and receiving the purchased product or service. Every action you take, be it offering responsive real-time support or maintaining seamless omnichannel messaging, significantly influences your customers’ perception and ultimately shapes their choice to remain loyal or not.

CX vs UX — what’s the difference?

User experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) are two interconnected but distinct concepts that play a vital role in shaping the success of any business. UX primarily focuses on the interactions and emotions of users as they engage with a specific product, service, or digital platform. It is concerned with designing interfaces, navigation, and overall usability to ensure that users have a seamless, enjoyable, and efficient journey.

On the other hand, CX takes a broader approach, encompassing every touchpoint and interaction a customer has with a brand across multiple channels and throughout their entire lifecycle. CX considers the entirety of the customer’s experience, from initial awareness and discovery to purchase, support, and loyalty. It involves understanding customer needs, expectations, and perceptions to create a positive and memorable experience that fosters lasting relationships.

While UX and CX are distinct, they are intricately connected and complement each other. A great user experience within a product contributes significantly to an overall positive customer experience. When customers find a product easy to use, enjoyable, and efficient, it enhances their perception of the brand as a whole.

Conversely, a seamless and delightful customer experience can positively influence users’ perceptions of a product’s usability and overall user experience. The satisfaction derived from interactions with customer support or the brand’s website can contribute to users’ trust and loyalty toward the product or service.

UX and CX are two sides of the same coin. They work hand in hand to create a cohesive and customer-centric approach that not only delights users within a specific product but also fosters a sense of loyalty and advocacy towards the entire brand. Striking the right balance between UX and CX is essential for businesses seeking to thrive in today’s competitive landscape by providing exceptional experiences that resonate with users and customers alike.

Why is CX important for you as a UX Designer?

Ensuring a remarkable customer experience holds paramount significance for any business or team you’re designing with. By creating superior experiences for customers, you secure their loyalty and garner positive reviews, all the while minimizing customer complaints and returns. Additionally, excelling at customer experience grants you a competitive edge over businesses that may struggle with their own CX.

The advantages of delivering an exceptional CX encompass:

  1. Heightened customer loyalty
  2. Elevated customer satisfaction
  3. Enhanced customer engagement
  4. Amplified word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews, and referrals

Enhancing customer experience yields advantages across all business models. For subscription businesses, it results in heightened customer retention and reduced churn rates. E-commerce marketplaces witness improved purchase decisions, increased repeat customers, and fewer returns. In the case of service industries, elevating customer interactions leads to more recommendations and diminished complaints.

Through and trough, prioritizing customers consistently proves to be advantageous for any business and practicing UX designer.

What is the difference between customer experience and customer service?

In essence, customer service constitutes merely a component of the entire customer experience.

As previously mentioned, customer experience embodies a customer’s overall perception of your company, formed through various interactions. On the other hand, customer service pertains to specific touchpoints where customers seek and receive assistance, such as requesting a refund via a call to an operator, receiving support from a chatbot, or engaging with a service provider through email.

To clarify further: CX encompasses a broader scope than customer service. It encompasses every touchpoint a customer encounters with your company, commencing from their initial discovery of your brand through a blog post on Google, all the way to the moment they reach out to your support team seeking assistance within your product (with the expectation of receiving a prompt response).

What is a good customer experience?

Ensuring a good customer experience goes beyond a one-size-fits-all checklist since each business and its customers are distinct. Here are some of the key things most business share when it comes to delivering good customer service.

  1. Prioritize listening to customers at every level of your business.
  2. Utilize customer feedback to gain profound insights into your customers’ needs.
  3. Implement a systematic approach for regular feedback collection, analysis, and action.
  4. Reduce friction and address your customers’ specific challenges and unique issues.

Achieving a good customer experience isn’t rocket science; it revolves around asking your customers questions, attentively listening to their responses, and promptly acting on their feedback.

5 things that cause bad customer experiences

Bad customer experience comes in many shapes and sizes, but these are the most common complaints that come in.

The primary causes of a bad customer experience include:

  1. Lengthy wait times
  2. Employees lacking understanding of customer needs
  3. Unresolved issues or unanswered questions
  4. Excessive automation without a human touch
  5. Services lacking personalization

For additional inspiration, reflect on your recent experiences as a frustrated customer (lean into that UX designer empathy skillset) — it’s highly probable that one or more of the aforementioned factors played a role.

Nevertheless, defining what constitutes a poor customer experience for a business is distinctive, and the best way to uncover it is by embracing customer feedback. By doing so, you can then focus on mitigating the impact of factors that contribute to negative experiences. Collecting customer feedback serves as a crucial starting point in crafting your comprehensive customer experience strategy.

How to measure and analyze customer experience

Based on the previous sections, customer experience may appear as a subjective concept, and very challenging to quantify. That’s why it’s essential to rely on various customer experience metrics that can be employed individually or in combination to gauge CX within a business. Additionally, conducting interviews with customers can provide more detailed insights into their expectations, and finding a software for running in-page/onsite surveys can prove to be a beneficial tool in your toolkit.

By having measurable CX indicators, you can monitor its progression or regression over time and leverage customer analytics to assess the impact of changes you implement that may influence your customers. Here are four prominent metrics used by CX professionals and customer relationship management (CRM) teams to track customer experience at different stages of the customer journey:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  2. Customer Effort Score (CES)
  3. Net Promoter Score® (NPS)
  4. Time to Resolution (TTR)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT surveys serve as a means to gauge customers’ contentment with the product or service they receive from your company. These surveys can employ a 5- or 7-point scale, with 1 representing “very unsatisfied” and 7 indicating “very satisfied,” or they can consist of binary yes/no questions.

In contrast to the Net Promoter Score® (NPS), which seeks to assess customers’ overall sentiments toward the brand and their likelihood of recommending it, CSAT hones in on specific touchpoints that customers found satisfying or dissatisfying. When considered alongside Customer Effort Score (CES) and NPS, customer satisfaction offers a significant indicator of whether your customers are fostering a positive emotional connection with your business — often referred to as “customer delight” by product teams.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

The Customer Effort Score (CES) evaluates the customer’s experience with a product or service based on the perceived “difficulty” or “ease” of completing an action.

CES surveys are typically administered following customer service interactions, featuring questions like “How easy was it to get your issue resolved today?” with a rating scale ranging from “1: very difficult” to “7: very easy.” These surveys also prove effective after customers achieve significant milestones in their journey, particularly during customer activation moments, where the customer actively engages with your product or service. For instance, this could be after signing up for a free product trial or successfully completing a purchase.

Net Promoter Score® (NPS)

Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric obtained by posing a straightforward closed-ended question to customers: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product/company to a friend or colleague?”

While you have the option to modify the question slightly to better suit your business and gain more insights through follow-up NPS questions, the fundamental purpose of NPS remains the same — to obtain a simple numerical score on a scale from 0 to 100 that reflects customer experience or brand loyalty.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Time to Resolution (TTR)

TTR stands for “Time to Resolution,” representing the average duration taken by customer service teams to resolve an issue or ticket after it has been opened by a customer. It can be measured in days or business hours and is calculated by summing up all the times to resolution and then dividing the total by the number of cases solved.

Based on current CX stats and trends, a significant cause of customer frustration stems from long wait or response times. Thus, TTR emerges as a crucial metric to monitor and enhance. The shorter your TTR, the greater the likelihood that your customers won’t experience frustration when they seek assistance.

To wrap it up, a seamless and exceptional customer experience is the backbone of any successful user experience design. By putting the customers at the forefront and meticulously crafting their journey across various touchpoints, UX designers can help companies foster lasting relationships and cultivate brand loyalty.

As UX designers, understanding the intricate relationship between user experience and customer experience is paramount. A well-designed user interface and smooth interactions play a pivotal role in shaping the overall customer experience, leaving a lasting impression that can lead to brand advocacy and growth.

By constantly seeking feedback, analyzing customer behavior, and refining the experience based on data-driven insights, UX designers can collaborate with other stakeholders to create products and services that leave customers delighted and satisfied. In this customer-centric landscape, embracing the principles of customer experience is not only a recipe for success but also a gateway to creating meaningful and impactful solutions that resonate with users and leave them with an unparalleled sense of satisfaction.