Making Sense of Customer Experience (CX) , User Experience (UX) and Application Performance Management (APM)

One thing I have always been a little nit-picky about is clarity of communication. The words customer experience, user experience and application performance are used in so much marketing and promotional language that it can be easy to lose site of what those terms actually mean.

Customer experience, often abbreviated as CX, is a customer’s perception of their entire relationship with your organization. It’s their memory and emotional assessment of the history of each and every touchpoint they have had over the duration of your engagement together. CX can also refer to a single interaction when thinking more granularly.

Looking at it from the organizational perspective, CX is the planning, delivery and management of every aspect of each individual customer journey in support of customer behaviors such as discovery, evaluation, purchase, post-purchase evaluation, and experience sharing.

Who owns the customer experience in your organization?

User experience, often abbreviated as UX, is a subset of CX. It is the customer’s perception of their entire digital relationship with your organization. It is the sum of their feelings about the history of their online interactions with you through the web, smartphone app, and social media. From an organizational perspective, UX also focusses on designing and managing the digital touch points , or perhaps just influencing with regards to social media.

Digital is increasingly paramount and cannot be separated from your business, brand and CX strategies.

Why are CX and UX so important now?

Because businesses sell products and services but people buy experiences! Because the features and benefits of the products and services you sell can be commoditized, delivering memorable experiences worth sharing cannot. CX and UX are the moat that you build and use to defend your market position, take on new markets, or create entirely new ways of delivering the experiences people desire.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be called CX or UX but rather PX for people experience!

So where does application performance management (APM) fit in? It is a big part of managing the digital experience and supporting most of the non-digital experiences people have with businesses. APM is the monitoring and management of software application for availability and performance. The job of APM is to identify application problems and support quick diagnoses so expected services levels can be maintained.

Of course, software applications directly support and influence most digital journeys. But have you thought about how they indirectly influence many brick and mortar or supporting capabilities. If you talk to an employee at the customer service desk to ask if a product is in stock they are using a software application to look it up, and let’s not even get started on the complex supply chain and logistics involved to stock the shelves at any big box retailer.

APM are the monitoring and processes your organization has in place to ensure the systems that support the business and translating all those metrics into business value or PX.

I had a bit of an awakening as it relates to – can I use my new word ;) – PX, but that’s for another post. That sounds like my next job – CPXO – Chief People Experience Officer!


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