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Digital CX vs. customer experience: What's the difference?

While similar, digital CX and customer experience are different. The former focuses on digital communication tool experiences, while the latter is the overall brand perception.

There can be much confusion over the terms digital CX and customer experience, as they overlap. So what are the differences between the two?

Digital CX refers to interactions between a user and organization through the use of digital channels and the perception that the customer walks away with. The interaction component is of particular importance. It specifies that the organization has not just made information available to a user, but has created a channel through which customers can communicate with it.

Examples of digital CX avenues include traditional websites, mobile apps, chatbots, wearables and IoT smart devices, among others. Augmented reality and virtual reality are also quickly becoming prominent digital CX channels.

Customer experience, on the other hand, is the overall impression of the sum of interactions with a brand's products and services in the course of a relationship with a business. It gauges customer engagement and the emotional response to experiences with an organization -- digital or otherwise.

Examples of brand interactions that can affect CX include a service desk exchange with both chatbots and live agents; placing an order for a product over the phone; navigating a website in search of documentation; booking a ride with Uber or simply having an experience with a purchased product.

Digital CX vs. customer experience can basically be summed up as digital communication tool experiences vs. what the customer derives from a brand as a whole. Put another way, customer experience is, increasingly, the result of the digital experience. The moving parts of that digital experience -- color, sound, navigation, clarity of text and images, ease of use -- all drive a user's emotional response to value offered and the comfort and enjoyment of achieving it. A strong, well-conceived digital experience facilitates a successful and satisfying customer experience.

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