CX and UX: Prepare for Battle

There’s ample discussion in marketing circles about CX (or Customer eXperience if you don’t like acronyms).

We’re being told that “CX will be the next big battle ground for B2B marketing”. I even stole that quote from a recent B2B Marketing tweet and have attended multiple CX themed conferences, so the discussion at least is real.

It makes absolute sense that CX will be what makes you distinct going forward.

In B2B we operate in largely homogenous markets (IT, Tech, Construction, Consultancy etc) where what one supplier can offer in terms of a product or service is pretty much identical to another.

So, we as marketers need to start thinking about how we make our brands distinct from our competitors. And focusing on the experience we offer our customers is the highest impact way of doing that.

Impact Doesn’t Come Easily

But, it’s not as easy as just saying “we’re going to improve our CX” and it happens.

CX is “the sum totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot of time but throughout the entire arc of being a customer”. So it’s not something that you can click your fingers and change.

How customers interact with your organisation can differ massively and depend on any number of factors. So how can you ensure you provide a CX with the same value and benefit no matter how prospects or clients interact with your organisation?

That’s where UX comes in to play.

Exploring the CX/UX Nuance

So UX stands for User eXperience. When I first started thinking around this topic I was of the mind-set that CX and UX were the same, but upon closer inspection I’m big enough and ugly enough to admit I was wrong.

Although they sound similar I think there is nuance between the two. CX is about the overall journey a customer goes on; UX is about the interaction and engagement a customer has at the various stages along this journey. But, to paraphrase the old adage “a CX is only as strong as its weakest UX”.

Say for example a potential customer sees an online ad that gets their attention, so they click on it (miracles can happen!). They’ve started their CX with a positive UX of that ad, with a click successfully directing them to your website.

Whilst on your website they’re finding it easy to get the information they want and select the products they desire. They pop something in their basket and are getting ready to purchase.  The online interaction has been great, further positive UX contributing to the wider CX.

But when they go to make their purchase your website can’t accept their payment for whatever reason. After a couple of attempts they abandon their cart and you’ve lost a sale. That single poor element of UX has then ruined the CX for that potential customer.

It’s a very basic example but hopefully demonstrates that a CX is made up of multiple UX’s, with each contributing towards and valuable in defining the overall CX.

Getting a clear understanding

So, if we as marketers want to improve the experience for our customers we need to get a clear understanding of the various UXs that contribute towards it, how they link together for different customer journeys and then look at how to optimise each of these UX’s.

We need to be working cross-functionally in a consistent way to drive a truly great CX from end to end – no matter how a customer interacts with us.  

If CX really is going to a battle ground, we as marketers need to be the generals that oversee what’s happening in the theatre of customer journey and ensure our UX battalions are ready to fight the good fight – and win.