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June 16, 2016   |   6 min read

Adopt a Customer Experience Mindset for a Better User Experience

Qualtrics’s 2016 installment of Customer Experience Week recently wrapped up and Mindstream Interactive is busy compiling and sharing lessons learned from one of the customer service industry’s most compelling events.

At first, it may seem extraneous for a digitally-focused team to take part in CX Week, but many of the principles, approaches, and learnings discussed in reference to the customer experience can be applied to the clients and users in our industry as well.

User Experience is Part of the Customer Experience

The user experience focuses on the interactions a user has with a specific product, typically a digital one. Two of the main concerns of a user experience professional are that a product is useful and usable. See Peter Morville’s diagram, UX honeycomb for a glance at all 7 principles.


Customer experience refers to the entire ecosystem of touchpoints a user has with a company, including the website, but also ranging from a phone call to the in-store experience. The customer experience professional’s main objective is the user journey across all of these channels, ensuring that it is consistent and pleasant.

Forrester defines the customer experience rather simply:

“How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

While customer experience is not usually mentioned in the same breath as user experience that doesn’t mean the two overlapping professions can’t take cues from each other. It would be wise for the UX professional to understand their place within CX as part of the larger Experience. While the focus of these two disciplines is different they both have the same goal in mind, a satisfied user.


Finding Common Ground

Three themes were consistently addressed in the presentations at CX week that the customer service industry leverages to achieve a more satisfied customer; mapping the customer journey, shifting work culture, and embracing technology.

Map the Customer Journey for a Better User Experience

Forrester reports that only 17% of brands believe all of their customer facing employees can fully describe the end to end customer journey. It’s understandable then why mapping the customer journey is one of the most important tasks a customer experience professional can do.

Without knowing every touch point a customer has with a brand, identifying gaps and opportunities to improve would be impossible. Not surprisingly, there were many presentations at CX week where the customer journey was an emphasis if not the main subject.

Kerry Bodine, a thought-leader in the customer service industry, devoted her entire presentation to the customer journey. She gave a presentation titled, 10 Steps to Mapping Your Customer Journey. Find the recording here and visit her website for more resources on customer journeys.

Mapping the end-to-end experience from a customer’s perspective shouldn’t be relegated to only the customer service industry. The customer journey map is an essential tool to the UX professional’s toolbox as well. Chronicling the channels in which the user engages with the brand and their emotions at each step is integral in bringing a persona to life and truly understanding the end-user.

Shift the Work Culture for Happier Users

Employee satisfaction is important. And, study after study shows that increased employee satisfaction increases the company's bottom line.

How? By making happier customers! Happy employees = happy customers (& clients)

Zappos innovates to make their customers and employees happy. They also famously claim to have the best customer service ever and no one is refuting that. Alex Genov, Head of Research at Zappos touched on all aspects of customer service at Zappos in his presentation at CX week.

Genov emphasized the constraints an org chart creates silos in an organization which in turn makes it difficult to understand the user. In this scenario every department may possess one key learning about the user but because of the org chart and silos it is impossible for any one person or group to know all of those learning to understand the full picture.

They recommend applying both top-down and bottom-up management approaches and speak in-depth about Holacracy on their website.

Patagonia’s mission statement is to: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.They also give back 1% to the planet. This is a company that has an incredibly loyal user-base and a workforce that appreciates the mission of their employer. Knowing that REI did something similar last Black Friday by giving their employees the day off. Not only was that a great marketing effort but it invests employees in their company so that they will then invest in their customers.

Dropbox reports that 50% of co-working spaces are used by large companies whose employees are working remotely. The idea of working remotely is not new but it is becoming easier and more common through the use of technology. Working remotely not only enables employees flexibility in their location but also the equipment they use.


Technology is transforming the Customer Experience.

The Customer Experience is constantly evolving. As technology continues to exponentially progress so do the ways in which customers are engaged. Brands are quickly adopting the newest technologies to stay ahead of the curve of their competition. A few such example were highlighted at CX week.

Porsche outlined their 5 Principles of Customer Experience, all of which can be exhibited in their decision to explore mounting GoPro cameras inside of their vehicles for test drives.

Bain & Company gave a discussion on the Voice of the Customer and highlight how banks are closing branch stores in favor of mobile, why? Because the customer demands it.


Twitter discussed what makes the social media platform unique in the customer service world. It turns out, brands not using Twitter to document and address feedback are outliers.

The service is growing so fast in fact that 80% of social customer service requests are on Twitter and 82% of Twitter users have followed or engaged with a brand.

Twitter allows customer service reps to respond in real-time, with greater empathy, and provide personalization. All of these factors lead to increased user satisfaction. They have collected data from the airline industry that correlates a faster response with a willingness to increase spending.

A Different Approach to the Same Problem

Stepping out of the traditional UX space to participate in CX week taught us the added value of approaching a project at a 30,000 foot view instead of just 3,000. In reality, the principles that drive a customer experience professional are not that different than those of a user experience professional; the difference lies mainly in the application.

When talking about the relationship of the two entities in the future, do everyone a favor and mention how similar they are.

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