This morning I delivered a webinar called The Business Case for Service Design, part of Rosenfeld Media’s day-long virtual conference on The Business Case for Design. (Even though the live event has ended you can still sign up for the conference and watch the recordings.)
I started out by sharing a Venn diagram with my thoughts on the relationship between User Experience, Customer Experience, and Service Design. This diagram isn’t meant to be exact in size and overlap, but to show—in an aesthetically pleasing and simple way—my current view of how these disciplines relate to each other.
Below, I’ve answered the questions I received on this webinar about this diagram and the rest of my presentation.
Isn’t UX a superset of CX?
Hoo boy. This conversation is a huge can of worms! I initially published my thoughts on the relationship between these disciplines back in 2013 when I worked at Forrester—and watched with amusement as people debated my Venn diagrams for years to come.
The person who asked this question pointed out that Don Norman has defined user experience this way: It encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, it’s services, and its products.” So therefore, this conference attendee posed, UX is the superset and CX is a subset of UX.
I agree that UX, in theory, can be applied to any and all customer interactions. But the reality is that the bulk of the world’s UX designers today focus on digital channels. This was true when I was designing websites back in the mid 1990’s, and my non-scientific examination of this trend whenever I present to UX groups continues to confirm that a digital UX focus persists. For example, this past June I presented at UX London—and when I asked the auditorium of several hundred UX practitioners how many worked on non-digital channels, only a few raised their hands.
In contrast, CX professionals look broadly across all channels—websites, mobile apps, email, online chat, phone conversations, retail store visits, home visits from technicians, paper statements, and so on. They regularly, not occasionally, look beyond digital.
CX also involves management, things beyond design, to measure the experience and ensure that employees are taking actions and making decisions that support the intended experience. There’s also a lot of work that CX professionals do to improve the employee experience and corporate culture.
For those reasons, I stand proudly behind my latest Venn diagram. 😉
For anyone wanting more info on the differences between UX and CX, you can check out these articles I for UX Magazine. They’re from 2012/2013, but the content is still relevant:
How can we use the underlying framework of UX and CX in relation to customer journey maps?
I actually don’t think the Venn diagram is super useful in practice. I use it mostly to help people understand my point of view on how these disciplines relate to each other. (And to incite arguments, obviously!)
I think the important thing to take away is that you should create journey maps that align with your customers’ goals—like trying to purchase an insurance policy for their new car (Business to Consumer) or trying to get their employees set up on a new software platform (Business to Business)—regardless of what channels they’re using. Sometimes those journeys will be primarily digital, sometimes they’ll be primarily non-digital, and sometimes there will be a good mix of online and offline channels.
We recently scoured 408 LinkedIn profiles of people who currently work as Journey Managers, an emerging role that’s similar to product management roles that you’re likely more familiar with, but with purview over journeys, rather than products. (The report will be available in mid-August. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when it’s out.) Sixteen percent of the journey managers we looked at had the word “Digital” in their title—occasionally with some indication of the specific digital journey they’re responsible for, such as claims, personal investing, or training.
With people’s behavior increasingly shifting towards digital, we acknowledge the need to focus on and improve digital interactions. However, focusing solely on digital channels runs counter to a customer-centric view of journeys. If journey managers (or anyone creating journey maps) overlook non-digital interactions, they risk having a huge blind spot on key parts of the customer experience.
How much of a lead should UX teams take in service design?
I’ve long lamented that UX and CX remain separate and distant disciplines within organizations. If your organization has a CX team, there’s a decent probability that they’ll be leveraging service design (often through an outside agency) to design more effective and profitable journeys—often with little to no input from the UX team.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. My dream is that the work of UX and CX teams becomes more closely integrated, and that UX takes a larger role in more broadly focused experience design and service design initiatives.
If you’re a UX practitioner who’d like to know more about service design, I recommend a few resources:
- We offer 2-day journey mapping bootcamps. Our next ones are coming up in Boston in Septemberand San Francisco in November. We’d love to have you join us.
- The folks behind This is Service Design Doing have launched a service design course, which I’ve heard good things about.
- I always learn something new at the Service Design Network global conferences. I’ll be attending the next one in Dublin, Ireland on October 10 & 11—so please say hello if you attend.
- Marc Fonteijn has a great video podcast called The Service Design Show. I appeared in an episode called “Think about the journey, forget about the map.”
Do we also consider other forces pushing on customers that are outside your organization’s control?
Absolutely! When you’re mapping your customers’ journeys, you want to include interactions that your organization has no control of or involvement with. This could include conversations with friends or family, social media content, visits to a competitor’s store, or interactions with your organizations’ partners—just to name a few.
When you examine the ecosystem of people, processes, and technology that support (or thwart) your customer journeys, you should again consider your partners. For example, the processes that Amazon uses to communicate with UPS impact how quickly I get my items delivered, regardless of the fact that I never see those communications.
However, don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have zero control over all of these outside interactions or partners. Your organization likely has some means of at least influencing a subset of the interactions that are outside of its direct control.