What’s The Difference Between UX and CX?

May 25, 2016
Matt Wallens

cx and uxShort answer: I’m still not totally sure.

The term CX (customer experience, or is it consumer experience?) has been around for awhile now. But when I ask fellow UXers what the difference is between the two, I’ve never received a clear answer. The most common response I get is something along the lines of “it’s just another flavor of UX.” Sort of like Service Design, but I’ll leave that for another conversation.

I recently set out to learn more about CX by attending a local chapter meetup of CXPA. As I got to talking to the group at my table (by the way, everyone in attendance was super smart and friendly) I saw patterns emerge. I noticed that they had job titles that included phrases like account services, customer success, and post-purchase. The more we spoke the more clear it became (at least in this group) that CX was more focused on “supporting users” and less about “designing things”, which is how I typically think of UX. We design things for people to use.

Interestingly, CXers were as curious about what do as I was about them. And the more we shared stories, the more similarities we saw between the tools and tactics we use, just from slightly different angles. We all talk to customers and users. We all watch them work and listen to their needs. It’s just that it seems CX is more focused on the customer from a reactive mindset (fixing problems and making people happy) and UX is more proactive (designing great experiences that make people happy). In the end, we want the same result: happy people.

Clear as mud?