CX vs UX

Is it CX or UX -- or does it even matter? There is a difference, and each of them impacts your conversion marketing strategy.



Customer experience (CX) comprises all the perceptions people formulate about your brand as they make their buyer’s journey with your products and services. An effective CX works seamlessly across all touchpoints, online and offline, paid and earned, branded or customer-generated, including:

  • Company and brand websites and apps
  • Social media channels
  • Advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Post-sale customer reviews
  • Customer service calls and chatbots
  • Products themselves -- and their documentation

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Even your pricing, sales process, and delivery are part of the customer experience. It’s pretty much all-encompassing. Think of it as the arc of your story, organizing the plot and subplots holding your brand story together.

User Experience (UX) is an important part of your customer experience -- but it’s only one part. UX determines the specific ways in which your customers engage with their experience of your brand, especially where it concerns your website and any apps you support, and your user experience can either eliminate or create friction.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them and how they impact your conversion marketing.

Why Customer Experience Is Important

CX is all about happiness. An effective customer experience makes people who interact with your brand feel valued. It supports them along their customer journey, providing them with information about topics that interest them, insights related to the problems your products and services solve, and opportunities to interact with your brand as they move toward conversion. In short, it’s the persuasive strategy you use to achieve not only conversion but customer loyalty.

How CX Affects Conversion

The best-case scenario for CX is that your brand delivers a clear, consistent, and inviting impression across all its channels. This not only builds trust but encourages people to engage with your products and services because they feel they know your brand and the benefits of what it offers them.

Customer experience, then, includes presenting meaningful content and eye-catching design, but it also extends to how effective your chat boxes are at providing direction or solving problems; how friendly and helpful your customer service reps are; whether or not your emails arrive with the right cadence and frequency; how intrusive or timely your ads are; and how attractive and entertaining your conference or trade show vendor booth is (along with the quality and usefulness of your swag).

If you annoy, bother, or cause people to distrust your brand, they simply won’t buy from you.

Integrate your customer experience with a content hub.

Why User Experience Is Important

UX is all about ease of use, which is a significant contributor to customer happiness. An effective user experience helps people find, consume, and act on information quickly and easily, building trust along the way. Think about it: If your website or mobile app is poorly designed and difficult to use, visitors and users will wonder if that experience also applies to your products and services. User experience affects the tactical means you use to implement your customer experience in the digital spaces you own and manage.

How UX Affects Conversion

The best-case scenario for UX is eliminating friction as customers interact within individual touchpoints, such as websites and apps. UX provides ease of use, for instance: clear navigation; easy-to-read text; simple forms; a layout and design that supports scanning.

If site visitors or app users can’t find what they’re looking for easily, they often abandon their search and shop elsewhere. If forms are too complicated or ask for too much information prior to purchase, they make people uncomfortable -- which also results in abandonment. If there’s anything less than a seamless purchasing process, especially where payment is concerned, folks will be outta there! Even seemingly simple things, like watching a video or downloading a resource, have to avoid creating friction for your site visitors and app users.

In short, if you make it difficult for people to buy from you, they won’t.

How Customer Experience and User Experience Work Together

CX and UX are interdependent -- if either one fails, so does the other.

For example, let’s say you use a mobile app to do some of your banking. The app allows you to do many things right from your phone. The app is clean, attractive, intuitive, and easy to move around, requiring few steps to complete transactions. It provides a great user experience.

However, a few types of transactions still have to be completed at a branch. When you get there, lines are long, there are few tellers at the counter, and the one you talk to probably didn’t have enough caffeine with his breakfast because he’s cranky and acts as though you’re a bother to him. He’s inefficient, taking much longer to complete the transaction than seems reasonable. You have to meet with a banker to complete your business, and the teller rolls his eyes, gesturing to a row of chairs and telling you to wait there until the next banker is available to speak with you. As you walk away, he loudly shouts, “Next!”

Bad customer experience. If it happens only once, well...some days are like that. If it happens more frequently, you’ll likely switch banks.

Now, let’s flip the story.

You have to visit a local branch of your bank to complete some business. The lines are long, but they move quickly. Every window has a smiling teller who greets customers by name. You have to speak to a banker to get part of your business done, and the teller walks you to the banker’s office door, introducing you to her and settling you in a chair before he heads back to his window to greet the next customer in line. The bank has offered a great customer experience.

The banker asks if you’ve used their mobile app, which you haven’t, but you decide to download and try it when you get home. The interface looks like it was built circa 1994, and it’s hard to read, not to mention click on, the tiny navigation links. You have to visit three screens to complete your transaction -- and you’re not entirely sure it went through because you get no clear feedback. You decide not to use the app again.

Bad user experience. Over time, if the convenience of mobile banking becomes a deal-breaker for you, you might change banks.

If, however, the bank’s customer experience and user experience work together harmoniously, they likely have you as a customer for life.

So, while CX and UX are different, they work together to support your customers on their buying journey -- or they fall short, costing you not only one-time conversions but also, potentially, loyal brand advocates over time.

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Bill Levy - Alpha Solutions


Director of Interactive Services