To elevate the customer's experience, bring CX and UX together

To elevate the customer's experience, bring CX and UX together
By Wendy Harman, Dara Pressley, and Lindy Dreyer
Dara Pressley
Specialist, Digital Experience
Senior Partner Strategy and Transformation
Sep 3, 2020

Customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) professionals have similar goals and mindsets, but they are often tackling separate problems. Here’s how they can work together.

What’s the difference between CX and UX? It’s the aperture. In general, CX pros work to understand the entire ecosystem of touchpoints that customers experience—potentially including multiple products. UX pros, on the other hand, focus more specifically on the design of the product experience. They likely sit in different parts of the organization and focus on different problems:

ICF’s global marketing services agency focuses on helping your organization find opportunity in disruption.
Go to ICF Next

Of course, it’s never really that simple. In some organizations, a CX lead may be making product design decisions while in other organizations a UX lead may be making wide-ranging recommendations for how to transform the ecosystem of touchpoints.

Why does this matter?

To solve customer problems, organizations must work at both the macro and micro levels. This means that CXers and UXers must work collaboratively to achieve a shared vision. For example, CX pros working at a higher level can remove blockers and address underlying service design and process issues that can help UXers streamline the product experience. And UXers can identify areas where a product could benefit from that type of intervention. 

Here are 4 ways your organization can help CX and UX work together more seamlessly.

  1. Start with a shared CX vision and strategy for the entire organization.

    CX pros can work with executive leadership to establish these high-level directives. And for UXers, who are often isolated on project teams focused on delivering product releases, this may be just the cover they need to wield more influence and prioritize customer-facing features.
  2. Deliver customer journeys together

    Frequently CXers and UXers have complementary customer research skills. We’ve found that having a UXer from the product team participate in customer research and journey mapping helps to give them context for the bigger picture, while helping the team more quickly identify product-related opportunities for improvement.
  3. Create and share customer feedback loops

    The CX team needs to manage touchpoint and CX feedback across the organization, but that’s frequently done in silos at the program or product level. For example, what if the UX team uncovers customer feedback on form design that applies to many products? Do the different product teams talk to each other?  Sometimes yes, more often, no.  CX pros can facilitate feedback loops across all the product teams. And the UXers can use that centralized feedback as a treasure trove of qualitative user data.   
  4. Solve big problems together

    CX and UX pros can use the shared methods of human-centered design to address the really hairy challenges. Where the CXers might lead on generative research and problem definition, the UXers can be invaluable in brainstorming solution ideas and producing testable prototypes to guide investment. And they can work together to address the business challenges that innovation presents—from process innovation to workforce skill building and more.

Every touchpoint interaction shapes how a customer feels, and whether or not they will place their trust and loyalty in your organization. Both CX and UX pros have the mindset and the will to ensure those interactions are positive. When they work together and support one another—regardless of where they sit in the org structure—customers will benefit.

Meet the authors
  1. Wendy Harman
  2. Dara Pressley, Specialist, Digital Experience
  3. Lindy Dreyer, Senior Partner Strategy and Transformation

    Lindy Dreyer applies a human-centered perspective to improve digital services for citizens and their advocates. View bio

The latest marketing trends, uncovered.subscribe

Subscribe to get insights, commentary, and news sent straight to your inbox.