The Difference between User Experience and Customer Experience
There is a lot of content online about the importance of user experience in software development and brand reputation. The general consensus is that user experience directly affects the subscriber or customer retention rate, the amount of money people are willing to pay for something, and the likelihood of users referring friends and family, among other important factors that directly affect the product’s success and the brand’s bottom line.
At Syberry, we recognize the importance of user experience, and like some other development companies, we pride ourselves on our fantastic UI and UX designers and planners. They have years of experience, unique qualifications, and innovative perspectives and approaches.
And yet, no matter how critical user experience is, we know there’s something more important: customer experience. What’s the difference? User experience refers to the ease of use of a website or application — how sleek and navigable it is — while customer experience refers to the overall experience a customer has with the company, from sales representatives to app navigation to support to billing.
If both experiences are poor, there is no hope for a project or company. More importantly, while a great user experience is doomed without a good or better customer experience, a good customer experience can be had even when the user experience is subpar.
Think about it: have you ever been in a situation as a customer where you were told you had to be inconvenienced because of some technology failure? In the situations where the customer experience was still good, great, or outstanding, you forgave them for the technology failure and were patient with them, assuming that they were truly dedicated to serving you any way they could. Compare that experience to one where the technology worked just fine, but when you needed help, the customer service representative was rude, short, or even hostile — assuming you could even get someone on the phone. What did you assume about the company as a whole? Did it matter what the user experience was? No, in fact, in the case of a poor customer experience, any technology failure only becomes confirmation and damning evidence of the company’s perceived ineptitude.
To be blunt, there is no reason to care about your brand’s or product’s user experience the customer experience is falling short. Without great customer experience, nothing else will matter, as customers won’t stick around long enough to notice. Customer experience is a feeling that cannot be measured. It is subjective, but we all know how frustrating poor customer experience is, and some of us can recognize when it’s great. I know I try to show appreciation whenever I experience great customer service, as it makes me feel important and valued as a customer.
If you are familiar with the material and media I produce independent of Syberry, you know I place a very large emphasis on the role of feelings in decision making. I try to understanding this role as well as I can, not just so I can see it at play around me in my social environment, but so I can understand the root causes of my feelings and use that information to make more informed and better decisions.
What contributes to great customer experience? I believe, patience, empathy, and a true desire to help are the cornerstones. I also believe that being authentic is an important element of customer experience — especially in salespeople. A good customer experience occurs when employees are authentic in their words and behaviors, when they keep their promises, when they speak up when they see a problem, and when they endeavor to improve every situation for their customers.
Because of my own focus on emotions and decision making as part of the customer experience, I take my responsibilities seriously in representing a company that understands how important the customer experience is and builds internal technology and systems that support the customer experience, not detract from it. If my influence and likability as a sales representative is built around my own authenticity and desire to help others, then I need to represent a company that follows through on the implied promise of the relationship that I foster. In other words, as a salesperson, my success is truly dependent on making sure that the people and company I represent are carrying through on the promises I am making, both spoken and unspoken. If customers perceive that I am representing something falsely, my reputation and the company’s will take a hit, and success will be much harder to come by.
I have worked with several companies over my thirty years in business consulting, and when I decided to join the Syberry family, it was only after I had evaluated several different software development companies. What I was looking for primarily was a company that understood that no amount of money buys bad behavior, that believed integrity is something we personally live with, and that regarded the customer relationship as the core of a great business. To me, these principles almost guarantee an outstanding customer experience. As I spoke with the founders of the company, learned what was important to them, and asked tough questions, I realized that I was sitting with three like-minded people, who understood that a great customer experience is not only a path to success but ultimately the easier way to do business.
If you feel like I do, that customer service is the core of a great relationship, that integrity matters, that no amount of money buys bad behavior, that delivering on your promises is the most important thing you can do, and that without a great customer experience you cannot have a great user experience, then give us a call. I would love to introduce you to the team and answer any questions you may have.