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User Experience vs Customer Experience: what’s the difference?

User Experience vs Customer Experience: what’s the difference?

User experience (UX) is big news.

Over the last two years, tech giants like Google and Facebook have created multiple individual roles, even whole departments, dedicated to user experience. The rest of the business world is following suit.

Previously, we looked at CX: what customer experience means, and how it differs from customer service or brand identity.

Now, let’s explore what user experience means, and how UX and CX relate to one another.

User experience and customer experience: what’s the difference?

Differentiating between UX and CX is important.

It’s also really, really simple.

Last time, we used an example: a conference organiser, and the delegate coming to their conference.

That post looked at the huge number of touchpoints that influence a delegate’s customer experience. Then we looked at what a conference organiser can do to make an impact – even with touchpoints outside their control. Check out What is customer experience? if you need to get caught up.

mobile app

So, you’re still organising that conference. Your delegate needs to register. Let’s say you’ve decided to use an app for this, to make the process more streamlined, and to integrate seamlessly with the rest of your event management software.

The app’s all set up, and the attendee starts the registration process.

This is user experience.

They’re interacting directly with one specific element of your brand or service: one which you’ve designed for their use.

In this case, it’s an app: a mobile tech-based interface. But user experience covers a huge range of experiences with design, from the plastic and cardboard packaging around your new toothbrush (easy to open or a challenge?) to opening a door (automatic or manual, heavy or light, push or pull, accessible to all?).

What makes a good user experience?

In this case, a positive user experience would be an easy, straightforward and complete experience of the registration process via the app.

Your delegate downloads it via the link you’ve given them without problems. It autocompletes some of their details, and lets them opt in or out of booking accommodation at this stage of the process.

Payment is simple, and they’re comfortable with how secure it feels. It all flows smoothly, with no surprises.

app user

What would a bad user experience look like?

The app isn’t compatible with their device.

The language is confusing, and they aren’t quite sure exactly what they’re being asked to register for at this stage.

They reach the payment stage and the app crashes, meaning they can’t tell if their payment has gone through.

Any of those would make for a negative customer journey through that part of the process: bad user experience.

Where does user experience fit into customer experience?

User experience is one aspect (or multiple individual aspects) of the overall customer experience: a smaller part of a wider picture.


Your delegate might find it easy to register via the app, but find the rest of their conference experience disappointing. Good user experience, bad customer experience.

The app might be a nightmare to use, but the rest of the conference is better than they’d hoped and they leave happy. Bad user experience, good customer experience.

Good UX is never the end of the story. You need all aspects of CX to work to make your delegate happy.

Organising a conference of your own? Get in touch with the Conferences & events team today.

Next time on the blog: how user experience and customer experience work together.


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