Customer Experience and User Experience Professionals – A Match Made in Heaven!

May 8, 2015
Two yellow puzzle pieces on a wooden table.

TongRo Images, Thinkstock

Recently, Forrester Research analyst Leah Buley wrote a blog post and report that reminded me of our “what’s the diff?” article on customer experience vs. user experience. In them, she describes the difference between customer experience professionals (CX) and user experience professionals (UX).

A Forrester survey found that about 40% of the time, CX and UX are formalized functions in a corporation. That’s good news, but they are only a joint operation about 10% of the time. Corporations like Discover and Kohl’s follow this model. For the ones that don’t, CX is often housed in the marketing department, while UX is in the technology or product division.

But are CX and UX professionals like lovers destined to remain apart? Or can there be a happy ending to this movie? Here are Forrester’s findings on the subject:


  • CX and UX professionals both have key roles in strategy, customer understanding and governance, guidelines, and policies.


  • CX professionals drive measurement and culture. They often have a MBA, and a background in program management, operations management or quantitative analysis.
  • UX pros drive design, so their background is often in that, or human computer interaction. They use processes such as user research, ideation, iterative design, prototyping and end user validation. They know design trends, standards and best practices, and are adept in working with software development teams.

How Can They Work Better Together?

Illustration of two excited business people collaborate with puzzle pieces.

jrcasas, iStock, Thinkstock

  • Stop talking about CX vs. UX, and focus instead on the work that needs to be done.
  • Create a regular way for CX and UX to come together and align efforts. Start simple, with invitations to meetings or conference calls. Bigger efforts to consider later include a Customer Experience Council, and/or connecting CX and UX budgets.
  • File artifacts electronically in one place, such as data and research about customers. CX and UX professionals are both interested in customer feedback forms, web analytics, tweets, blog comments and email delivery stats.
  • Focus on more than digital. For example, CX professionals looking to improve interactive voice response (IVR) at their contact center can collaborate with UX professionals on problem framing, iterative design and testing, and measurement against the baseline.

Has your agency blended your CX and UX teams? How did it work out? What were the obstacles, if any, and how did you overcome them?