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REI Insights

Why You Need to Know the Distinction Between CX and UX
May 4, 2023
Man on the floor mapping out user experience.

In conversations, blogs, email communications, and even media and news outlets, we often see customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) conflated or used interchangeably. In reality, they are two related but distinct concepts. CX is the overall experience a customer has with an organization (or brand). This includes all interactions, from learning about an organization’s mission and its products or services to making a purchase, using that product or service, and potentially providing feedback. These interactions can take place at multiple touchpoints, both online – website activity, social media, text, and digital advertising – and in person, whether in-store, via phone, or through experiential marketing. In other words, CX is the sum of all a customer’s interactions.

In contrast, UX is a subset of CX and refers to a person’s experience using a digital product, service, or system. A positive UX can contribute to a positive CX, and both are important for ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. Without good UX, you can’t achieve good customer experiences. UX is about the products and services, and CX is about combining those products and services with people and the entire lifecycle of an experience. Both UX and CX need to work in harmony to create a customer journey with no friction. No friction equates to great customer experiences.

To create positive UX and CX in the digital space, solutions architects and software designers must ensure their products and systems are easy to use, intuitive, and efficient. To achieve this at REI Systems, our teams follow a Human-Centered Design (HCD) process that leverages Design Thinking, an iterative, problem-solving approach to satisfying user needs. Design Thinking at REI typically involves five steps: identify and understand; strategize; design and prototype; test; and evaluate and improve.

The REI Systems Approach

Our approach to UX and CX at REI Systems starts with research to identify and understand user needs that software or systems could potentially satisfy. This discovery process includes a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including surveys, focus groups, individual interviews, follow-alongs, empathy maps, customer journeys, persona development, and individual interviews.

We synthesize our findings into clearly articulated and then build a solution strategy, which includes outlining a product roadmap to illustrate how our solution can satisfy those needs. This roadmap guides our team in designing and prototyping a solution, which we then test among users to evaluate efficacy. If needed, we refine the solution before launching it to a wider audience. Our work does not end there. After launch, our team evaluates the solution’s performance in real-time, notes opportunities for improvement (because there is always opportunity), and begins work on the next iteration of the solution.

We passionately believe design thinking is a valuable approach to UX – and by extension CX –because it drives us to create solutions that are truly user-centered, rather than solutions that are based on assumptions about what users need. At REI Systems, we know the impact of excellent UX and its vital role in providing CX that exceeds expectations.

Let our dedicated teams help your organization or agency improve its own UX and CX through IT modernization with open-source/low-code solutions, unique digital products, and reimagined service design. Reach out today at info@REIsystems.com so you can create positive customer experiences.