Bridging the Gap between UX and CX: Possible?



A few weeks back, I was flying from Kochi to Hyderabad. Since I have been flying frequently these days, I considered the idea of accumulating frequent flyer miles with one of the airlines. On further research, I decided to go with one airline and downloaded their app.

Though I have never used a mobile application for booking air tickets before, I found the application very simple and easy to use. As a UX designer, I enjoyed using the clutter-free interface, simple & easy navigations, and great visual aesthetics. I booked the tickets in less than 2 minutes. I had to enter minimal details at the time of registration. Application fetched my email id associated with my phone on its own, after asking my permission. I was guided with meaningful messages especially error messages, which made my experience really smooth. Date selector, one of the key usage patterns in the app, is also very intuitive and easy to use.

As Don Norman points out, “Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.” So true, but in my case, having experienced many applications, I really liked the UX of this app in the first go.

All excited about the experience I had using the application, my expectations from this airline also increased. Although I am a UX designer, I consciously did not differentiate the user experience from the customer experience.

But unfortunately, once I reached the airport it was a different story. The check-in counters were short of staff and the line was very long. I boarded the flight and was welcomed by their charming crew, full of energy. I looked forward to the rest of the journey. But to my surprise, I had an uncomfortable experience in-flight as well.

Maybe I extrapolated their great app UX into an even greater customer experience which set higher expectations that were unmet?

All in all, in contemplation, I realized the following things:

  • I was expecting the same pleasing digital experience of the application in the real world.
  • Along with the great user experience of the app, customer experience is also equally important, if not more.
  • Being in the same domain, maybe I empathized with the design team and understood the effort that went into crafting the user experience. However, with the rest of my experiences with the airline, I was expecting the same as any other user would.

Being a UX designer with a constant desire to make things work better and usable, I asked myself, if there is a way to make the overall experience delightful and bridge the gap between the digital experience & real-world experience?

Can I as a UX designer, extend the app’s experience into real-life situations? Are there any areas of Customer Experience that can be brought into the scope of User Experience? Can these problems be solved creatively with mindfulness? Is there any way I could work as a catalyst for the said purpose?

Thanks for the submission.