UX vs CX – Advanced Guide to Differences and Similarities

Your users are your customers – so the two terms ”user experience (UX)” and ”customer experience (CX)” must mean the same, right?

I hate to break it to you, but no.

UX and CX are significantly different concepts, and it’s critical to understand their distinction if you wish to provide the best possible experience of your product and your services.

So, what is the difference?

This article will help you discover just that. So, let’s clear things up and take a close look at these two often used interchangeably terms and understand their differences. Buckle up! 🔎

What is User Experience (UX)?

User Experience, in short, is the concept that deals with people interacting with your product and the overall experience they gain as a result of that interaction. It’s primarily specific to your product, app, website, or software – all the things that help design your product and its interface come together and create the UX that welcomes the users.

UX is measured by the following metrics:

Key Takeaway 📚

With good UX, you can enable the user to easily and quickly find the relevant information on a website, complete the given tasks seamlessly, and search through web pages with great ease.

User Experience Example

A good start for a great user experience is crucial. This example by Slack demonstrates how welcoming new users with a simple yet effective message can help engagingly introduce the product:

slack first time user experience

By offering the product tour to successfully introduce your product as a first step along the overall great ”user experience”, you will ensure that your users do not feel forced or bombarded with too much info and directions during their first interaction with your product. -and your product only, mind you.

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer Experience is about all the interactions somebody has with your brand. It’s a larger concept since it concerns with the experience that a customer has WHENEVER they interact with your brand, not just your product. CX, being more like an umbrella term, includes all channels related to the customer’s perceptions of the service as a whole – not just the functionality of your product.

Customer Experience can be measured in the overall interaction and experience, the likelihood to continue using the product, and the likeliness to suggest it to others.

Key Takeaway 📚

With a good CX, you’ll enable the customer to have professional and fruitful interaction with business representatives and feel positive about their overall experience with that business and everything it has to offer.

Customer Experience Example

mcdonalds user experience

McDonald’s once had a problem with the huge decline in sales, so they decided to take a different road – they changed their marketing methods, but in a way that primarily focused on customer experience.

They started listening to their customers more and took action according to their requests. Based on valuable feedback, Mcdonald’s created a simpler menu, enhanced order accuracy, and started sticking with better-quality goods.

They also paid attention to upgrading their store interiors for a more engaging look, and they installed self-order machines and table service, thus declining the wait times for customers. After these implementations, McDonald’s achieved a sales growth of 4.1%. And for us, they are providing a great example of how elevating the overall customer service experience can easily set a brand above its competitors.

Similarities Between CX and UX

❗️ Same Goals and Perspective

Both CX and UX aim for the same prize: customer satisfaction. They work together to offer the best possible experience to the user. They can be seen as the two facets of the same approach of assisting customers in their journey of accomplishing something with the offered service.

Both relying on the commitment to learn more about people’s needs, CX and UX are all about researching about the needs of people, creating buyer personas, coming up with journey maps, testing solutions, and more.

❗️Same Importance

Both CX and UX are focusing on the customer’s level of satisfaction while interacting with a business; this means they both pay attention to parts of the overall customer journey, and both concepts WORK TOGETHER to create a customer journey without friction.

This fact also eliminates the question on everybody’s minds: which is more important, CX or UX?Since both concepts are critical and needed -also connected to each other- you need to have a good understanding of both in order to master what you do and guarantee overall customer satisfaction.

Differences Between CX and UX

We’ve been talking about UX and CX as separate terms so far. But, it’s always a good idea to take a closer look at the key differences to consider – specifically if you’re looking for a career path or trying to improve your design skills accordingly.

Here are the main differences in focus, key metrics, daily requirements, and target audiences.

1- Area of focus and daily requirements

UX designers mainly focus on specific user interaction with a single product only, whereas CX designers pay attention to the customer’s experience with all the aspects of the organization as a whole.

It’s important to remember that the ‘‘user personas” that UX designers are examining are not necessarily buyers or consumers. Here’s an example.

Let’s say a CEO has decided to buy a specific software for their employees to use and work with daily.

At that point, a CX designer would consider the CEO’s experience doing research and buying the software, whereas a UX designer would pay more attention to the ”employees” experiencing the software themselves.

So, it’s safe to say that CX people are dealing with larger groups, while UXers tend to spend more time with smaller amounts of people or individuals.

❗️It’s also important to note that a CX designer’s main aim is to skyrocket the overall brand perception and improve customer loyalty – this is why they’re always trying to come up with more efficient ways to market and communicate with clients and put their all to find better ways to design engaging customer experiences.

UXers, however, pay more attention to designing digital or non-digital products, focusing on users and examining them when they interact with that product and designing better ways to enhance that interaction based on continuous feedback.

2- Key Metrics

Another key difference between CX and UX design is how they measure their success. The key metrics used for these two terms are significantly different and are worth keeping in mind.

CX professionals often study how their customers rate their overall experience with a business and analyze how many clients a company gains or loses over a specific period.

For that measurement, CX teams use the same old metrics we love – the churn rate, retention rate, customer lifetime value (CLV), customer effort score, and net promoter score (NPS).

UX designers, however, use other metrics with different aims – they look at the product’s usability rate searching app store ratings, or looking through a bunch of reviews.

3- Target audiences

UX teams usually work for customers that want a digital product, such as a website or an application. And CXers are often working for retail companies and hospitality organizations.

This means that a CX’ers target audience and client base often consists of people with strong purchasing power, while UX teams pay the most attention to whoever will be interacting with the service or the product.

4- Salary Ranges

The daily responsibilities of a UX designer often include conducting throughout user research, designing prototypes and wireframes, creating and enhancing user flows, and testing.

The average yearly salary for this job is$96,977 in the United States. With more experience and background, this can increase to $129,033.

On the other hand, a CX designer is primarily responsible for conducting customer research, creating and practicing relevant CX strategies, developing customer journey maps, analyzing customer feedback, and designing CX touchpoints.

Their salaries average at around $104,467.

Final Thoughts

Your business can benefit greatly when you finally understand how vital the relationship between UX and CX is to your overall success. All you need to do is take the time to study both concepts and implement them correctly in your career-deciding process first; after deciding which career path is the best fit for you, it will be much easier for you to continue with greater confidence supported by in-depth knowledge. ✨


Frequently Asked Questions


Is UX the same as customer journey?

Customer journey is the customer experience itself, and no, CX is not the same as UX. They are similar, yet significantly different concepts that focus on different goals and responsibilities.


How do CX and UX work together?

UX and CX work together smoothly to improve the overall customer satisfaction and skyrocket success as a result. UX primarily focuses on creating and improving quality product, and CX enables a good-quality service to be able to sell and offer that product.


Is UX a part of CX?

Yes, it can be said that UX is a part of a bigger and wider CX since the term refers to how a business attracts its customers at every stage of their buying journey. In a broader sense, CX is the total sum of all the interactions a customer experiences with your service, meaning it does include UX in itself.


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Suay Çakırca

I'm one of UserGuiding’s creative content writers that work hard every day to come up with 💯 content. I usually write about UX, onboarding, and growth. If you like what you read, let’s connect on LinkedIn to talk more about it! I’ll be replying with my cat on my lap and will most probably pause a movie, but hey, I don't mind at all!