While the terminology of design is often fluid, there has always been a clear dividing line between UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience).
Traditionally speaking, UX design is only concerned with the ways a customer interacts with any given product, while CX looks at the entire customer journey.
However, these definitions are evolving. In a mobile-first world, CX strategy and UX design are quickly beginning to merge into one discipline.
In this post, we’re going to look at why this is the case, and how you should be adapting your application workflow to meet customer expectations.
What is UX?
Before we start talking about trends within the industry, it’s worth taking a moment to understand the status quo. That means really getting to know UX and CX.
UX, or user experience, describes the overall impression that someone will come away with after interacting with your product. This can include multiple elements within the entire user journey, such as installing an app, signing up online, interacting with the product, and even getting support.
In general, providing a good user experience means creating a product that is easy to use and understand. It should also allow users to complete what they set out to achieve, or at least cover the advertised use cases of the product.
Success in user experience design can be measured using several different metrics. These include user adoption, usage/engagement, retention versus churn rate, and net promoter score (NPS).
What is CX?
While very closely related, customer experience has a broader definition in comparison with UX.
UX begins when someone first starts interacting with your product and ends when they stop using it.
In contrast, CX encompasses the research and purchase phases that occur before a customer starts using your product, along with the renewal, upgrade, and customer support steps that happen once someone has used your product for a period of time.
In other words, it covers every touchpoint between a customer and your brand.
As such, a good customer experience strategy needs to take into account pre-purchase marketing, pricing, the checkout experience, and what influences customers to pay for higher tiers.
CX also takes into account multiple customer journeys throughout the relationship between a customer and a brand.
As with UX, customer experience can be measured by customer adoption, usage/engagement, loyalty, churn rate, and NPS. However, there are additional KPIs associated with this field — in particular, customer satisfaction score (CSAT), customer effort score (CES), and customer lifetime value (CLV).
UX strategy and CX strategy should be intertwined
Even though the scope of CX strategy is traditionally wider than that of UX strategy, many companies are now realizing that these two fields overlap.
Why? Because for businesses that primarily interact with customers through a digital product, the entire customer journey is influenced by multiple product interactions — each shaped by user experience design.
Even if customers interact with your brand through other channels, the user experience you provide through your app or website is still likely to have a major impact on overall customer experience.
Conversational UI design
Let’s look at an example.
When someone is considering making a purchase, they will probably browse the information on your website or app. As they near the point of making a decision, they may have some outstanding questions.
So far, this is all in the realm of marketing and CX. However, the way you provide additional information is very much a matter of UX design.
If you require users to send an email or navigate through a convoluted knowledge base, there is every chance that they will become lost, frustrated and leave for good. This is poor UX contributing to a bad customer experience.
To avoid this particular issue, many forward-thinking companies have adopted conversational UI. This is where digital products are designed so that users can interact with a company through voice or text.
Even if a potential customer is directing questions to a chatbot, this method of communication is likely to feel much more intuitive.
That means good UX, resulting in good CX.
Creating a CX strategy
Conversational UI design is a specific, applied example of how user experience is now intertwined with customer experience management.
But what does an integrated approach to UX and CX look like at a strategic level?
Increasingly, it is put into practice through mobile-first CX strategy.
According to research by StatsCounter, 60.21% of global web traffic comes from mobile devices. Meanwhile, Google studies indicate that users have twice as many interactions with brands on mobile, in comparison to other platforms.
Given the obvious importance of optimizing user experience for smartphone users, CX professionals are now building their entire strategy around mobile touchpoints.
This starts with adopting the mindset of a mobile user. When we access content on a smartphone or tablet, we are generally more impatient than when interacting with a brand through other channels. If a page takes longer than three seconds to load, more than half of visitors will leave. Similarly, mobile users prefer simplified navigation.
What this tells us is that the best possible CX strategy might involve prioritizing specific products, and sacrificing the visibility of others, in the name of improved usability.
Another area of difference in mobile-first CX strategy is customer retention. Depending on your business goals, you may need to adapt your product and your communications strategy in order to maximize customer engagement and encourage stickiness.
This is likely to require a deep dive into UX; people only tend to revisit apps and websites if they enjoy navigating these digital environments.
At the same time, we can’t ignore customer journey mapping. While most customer interactions may happen through a smartphone app, modern users expect to enjoy a seamless experience as they move between platforms — like watching Netflix on your phone and then continuing with the same show on your TV.
This is why customer data management also deserves some consideration. When you assume that every new customer will use your mobile app, the way you collect and combine information might change drastically. You could be going from Salesforce and spreadsheets to silos in the cloud.
Chat UX design
To get a better understanding of how these strategic decisions can be applied at interaction level, let’s take a peek at a real-world example:
Pano Med (formerly Opear MD) is a New York-based healthcare platform that specializes in house calls and remote consultations. In order to provide a great customer experience for patients, the company decided to build a CX strategy around improved UX on mobile devices.
In particular, Pano Med wanted to improve the experience of communication between patients and providers both before and after health exams. The company achieved this by implementing in-app chat using Sendbird technology.
Instead of being connected to a random healthcare professional, patients can now choose their preferred provider for better continuity between online and in-person care. This means that users can maintain a personal link with specific doctors and specialists, which is a massive enhancement to the customer experience because the provider will have the relevant context and the patient will not have to repeat information with each visit.
In addition, Sendbird Chat allows patients to interact with healthcare providers in a variety of ways on mobile devices. If patients want to chat via audio or video, they can do that. If they prefer real-time messaging, that option is also available.
This digital transformation has allowed Pano Med to address the most common pain points of self-service healthcare, and to provide a better customer experience — and it’s all thanks to optimized UX.
Chat app UX and CX
As we have discovered, customer experience management is changing quickly to meet the expectations of modern consumers.
This new approach to CX strategy usually focuses on customer interactions, and how they can be improved. But in a select few cases, businesses are going one step further and completely reimagining their products in an effort to enhance CX.
Paytm is a great example. This goliath of digital payments has a customer base that is entirely mobile native. In an effort to improve user engagement and steal a lead on the competition, the company decided to break away from the traditional UI of online banking and move to something more familiar: messaging.
The idea was that users who are familiar with Whatsapp and similar apps would find it much easier to send money to other people through a chat interface, rather than navigating endless menus.
It was a fairly drastic change, but it paid off. After implementing Sendbird Chat, the Paytm app has handled over 1 billion messages sent by 333 million users.
Just as importantly, customers love it. Over 85% of Paytm’s user base reported in a survey that they are satisfied with both the new functionality and the speed of chat within the application.
What the Paytm case study illustrates is how UX and CX are two sides of the same coin. Get one right, and the other should follow.
If you are looking to evolve your CX strategy in 2023 by improving the UX of your application, Sendbird can help. Click to contact us below or sign up for our free trial today