UX vs. CX: Two Different Concepts or Part of The Same Whole?

Customer Experience is one of the most recurring themes on this site.

We have Customer Experience blogs touching on things like sales and marketing to best practices and examples of some successful CX campaigns.

On my last blog, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Customer Experience (or CX) and User Experience (or UX)

Anyone that follows developments in the tech space will most definitely have seen the words “User Experience” being thrown around.

“Customer Experience” in contrast seems to be a term found more often in the marketing world and one that marketers love using in their day-to-day speak.

So What’s the Difference Between the Two? (Or is There Any?)

Forbes has a fairly straightforward definition for UX:

User experience is as simple as its name sounds: the experience users have when they explore your website.


I’ll go one step ahead and say that it is the experience users have with your “digital properties”.

By this I mean anything ranging from an iPhone application to the interface of a digital kiosk at a shopping mall.

Does the definition have to be restrained to the digital realm? Perhaps not, but we are just exploring the popular usage of the two terms here.

What About Customer Experience? How Can it Be Defined?

For the sake of consistency, I’m going to defer to Forbes once more:

Customer experience can include a lot of elements, but it really boils down to the perception the customer has of your brand.


A fairly broad definition, potentially meaning a lot of things.

In my opinion, Customer Experience is simply the experience customers have with all possible touch points of your brand.

Starting from the first time someone becomes aware of your brand (this could be anything from clicking on a Google Search ad to seeing your billboard) and ending in post-purchase services like free tune-ups or gathering feedback on customer service.

The customer lifecycle is a truly fascinating and never-ending process and it is the study of this journey that has led to the creation of the term.

I love using diagrams to help explain difficult concepts so here’s one that I found that does that well:

UX vs. CX

As you can see from the diagram, UX is a small set within the greater set of Customer Experience and is involved mainly with tech aspects like web-usability and visual design.

Creating good UX on your brand’s digital assets will ensure that:

  • Potential customers are able to find your website on popular search engines.
  • Visitors are able to navigate your website with minimum dropouts.
  • Visitors on your website/app ultimately convert into paying customers.

Creating good CX around your brand ensures that:

  • Satisfied customers turn into brand advocates through word-of-mouth advertising.
  • Investment in customer service is returned in the form of increased volume of sales.
  • Your customers act as focus groups by providing valuable feedback that will go towards the improvement of your product.

Any successful business, especially one that possesses digital properties will tell you that it is essential to create good CX as well as UX.

Use Cases

Having one does not ensure the success of the other.

For example, someone who makes a Google search for “Advertising agencies in Toronto” may find your ad show up on the top of their results page (good SEO, copy) and make their way to your website where they like what they see (good visual design, content).

They even go as far as submitting a contact form and creating a web conversion but when one of your reps gives them a call they are left frustrated and wishing they could get their 15 minutes back (terrible CX!)

Another, more classic example is from the airlines industry where the ubiquity of online booking platforms allows your visitors to easily find and book a ticket on your airline in a matter of minutes (great UX) but when they actually show up to their flights, they have the worst time of their lives (the examples of these are far too many to count these days).

If your entire service offering is limited to the web it might be sufficient to just have great UX, but if your customer journey exists in all domains you need to start thinking of the whole customer experience from start to finish.

Here’s a few more resources that will help you achieve these essential goals:

Tips on Creating Great UX:

Tips on Creating Great CX:

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