What the X?

The subtle differences and commonalities of CX, UX, EX and ROX

Original Post:

The acronyms have landed. And they’re all from the X-files. There’s customer experience (CX) – that’s been the hot topic over the past 12 months. There’s User Experience (UX) – we’ve been talking about that in tech for years. And now Employee Experience (EX) and Return on Experience (ROX). These are both new kids on the block for most organizations.

The “Xs”, or experiences, are becoming more and more important. No question. But they also add to our jargon and acronym soup. As a customer recently asked me: “Isn’t it all the same thing really?”

Interact but not Interchange

It’s a good question and in a sense, I agree with her. All four Xs interact with each other. There are commonalities. Leveraging one will impact the other. But, that doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable. Let me explain.

CX – Customer Experience

Defined as the interaction between an organization and customer (or prospect) during the course of their relationship. It’s the perception of your brand and how customers engage with it.

At VisibleThread, we consider each touchpoint with a customer (or prospect). We map these out as part of the buyer’s journey. This journey doesn’t end when the deal closes, but rather runs throughout the lifecycle of the customer.

CX is not just for marketing or product teams, it touches all functions ranging from operations to legal. Anyone who ‘touches’ the customer is involved. And each touchpoint must be clear and in the voice of the customer, and consistent with our brand values. And that’s the challenge. CX happens in writing, by phone, online, in person. Customer communications include invoices, support manuals, marketing materials, member letters, compliance notices, web copy…. Can you think of a team in your organization that doesn’t create content?

But if you get CX right, it will yield a return for your business. For example, we are working with a Fortune 500 insurance company to improve member communications. Recently they rewrote just 11 membership letters. The result was a 19% drop in call center volume. 19% fewer members felt compelled to pick up the phone to clarify something. And this resulted in an annual saving of $325k for just one team. By simplifying their communications, their members had a better experience. And the company saw a big impact on their bottom line.

This financial services organization is now applying this approach across the entire North American organization.

UX – User Experience

UX concerns how a person interacts with a website or app. Generally speaking, UX is product design-led. So it applies more to specific interactions between the user and the web page or product . It may constitute part of a customer journey. And that’s its biggest difference with CX. UX is product-focused while CX is more holistic, crossing many more interaction boundaries.

And there is plenty of overlap. Deborah Bosley is the Founder and Principal at the Plain Language Group, LLC. She spoke during a VisibleThread webinar about signage and form design. Of course, language plays a part here. And these forms are touchpoints with customers. Therefore, stronger UX leads to better overall CX.

EX – Employee Experience

This is a real growth area. EX looks at how a company acts with its employees. It deals with organizations that are focusing on culture. They’re concerned with hiring the best talent and maintaining it over time. So just like CX, we should also look at all employee touchpoints. From communicating with potential employees, right through to alumni relationships. Each communication should be clear and easy for employees to understand.

But EX is not just an HR issue. Let me give you a real life example from the Operations world. Jack Nelson is a former Executive VP of Operations for CVS Caremark. He told us about the frustrations of support staff. You can imagine. It’s soul-destroying for call center employees bombarded with agitated customers frustrated over poor communications. So, poor CX impacts EX too. Operations leadership often misses the connection. In a misplaced effort to assuage matters, they often hire more staff to reduce employee stress levels. The result; unhappy employees churn, and operational spend increases. That’s bad EX and bad CX. And a waste of dollars too. Pretty bad for business all round.

CX affects EX, and vice versa. Remember our 11 insurance letter rewrites? The membership letters had been unclear, and too legalistic. Worried members hit the phones. Traffic to the call center increased. EX suffered. And all directly related to poor CX…

The final impact of poor EX is stressed employees. And in a tight labor market, this drives high employee churn, costing the business dearly.

So by simplifying customer letters, you can improve both CX and EX.

ROX – Return on Experience

This is where it all comes together.

The magic formula is CX + EX = ROX.

The basic idea is that happy customers + happy employees deliver a measurable return on experience. So when companies invest in better CX and EX, it impacts the bottom line. This is a new concept that PwC has developed. So you might see this term more as you read about CX and EX.

Hold on, isn’t that what we talked about in our call center example above? Yes! When we improve CX / EX and can attach a value (e.g. a measurable drop in call center costs) then that is the return. For EX you can measure employee satisfaction using NPS (Net Promoter Score) or other survey approaches. Or calculate hiring cost savings through better retention.

Measurement is key

Yes, our Xs are linked. Each experience influences the others. They all have the X Factor. But they’re not all the same thing.

Joking aside, there are some serious business concepts here. As well as some very tangible results. It’s important to recognize that the business owns experiences and the business metrics associated with it. But for this to happen, organizations must define what a good experience entails. For me, clear communication is a vital aspect of this. It impacts CX, EX, UX and ROX. And, delivers measurable results.

Read the original article in full here.