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What is customer experience design?

Last updated

14 November 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

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At the heart of every business, regardless of the industry, is the idea of meeting a customer’s expectations. The aim is to create a positive experience with your brand and product.

Creating positive interactions with customers keeps business flowing. It encourages repeat purchases, positive reviews, and great recommendations from satisfied buyers. This is why customer experience (CX) design is so vital.

CX design is the process of positively shaping every experience a customer has with a business at all touchpoints. These range from their initial contact with the company to finalizing their purchase.

Companies who want to create high-quality interactions with everyone they come into contact with use customer experience design. When done properly, customer experience design can improve retention and help development teams better understand every stage of the buyer’s journey.

The benefits of customer experience design

Customer experience design can greatly improve a business’s credibility and reputation and help it develop meaningful relationships with clients at every stage of the buying journey.

It can help companies get repeat business, streamline internal processes, increase customer conversion, retention, and engagement, and enhance crisis management.

Below are some of CX design’s most notable benefits.

Increased customer loyalty and retention

Every brand wants to secure repeat customers. They represent improved return on investment (ROI) and can even be more valuable than new buyers. However, it’s not always easy to keep clients coming back. Buyers are choosy. Companies might not get a second chance to impress them in the new digital marketing landscape.

Experts note that there are several vital ways to retain customers. One of them is using content marketing to educate the client and practicing excellent customer service.

CX design can play a role in both of these methods, enabling a development team to better understand the client’s needs and enhancing content marketing efforts. A good CX design can help you meet high customer expectations, keeping more clients happy and improving retention.

Team alignment

Customer experience design works to streamline and optimize every stage of the buyer’s journey. This not only creates smoother customer management but enables precise team alignment too.

When everyone in your team understands their role and how they can make the buyer’s experience better, they will be able to respond to problems quickly and take ownership of the part they play.

Who benefits from CX design?

Everyone involved in an organization, from the lead designer to the CEO, can benefit from customer experience design. Creating satisfying customer experiences can set the standard in business as well as customer service, which is more likely to produce higher conversion rates and improve retention efforts.

Brands in every industry should use CX design, including retail and technology-based organizations.

What’s the difference between CX design and UX design?

While customer experience and user experience (UX) are often confused, the two have distinct differences.

CX design covers all interactions a lead has with a brand, while UX design is just one part of the overall CX design. UX focuses purely on a buyer’s interaction with a product or service. Notably, this is generally after a lead becomes a paying client and purchases a product or service. Additionally, UX design involves ensuring your website or app is designed in a user-friendly way.

Keep in mind that not all customers are users—they might be purchasing your service or product for someone else.

Both CX and UX design are vital to a business’s long-term growth and success. Customers who love a website’s look and feel won’t get very far if they can’t figure out how to use the product they purchased. An expert design team will take both CX and UX design into account as they craft a winning business strategy.

The role of a CX designer

Everyone within an organization should focus on creating better customer experiences. That said, a CX designer’s role is to ensure continuity for a customer as they interact with your business through various touchpoints. These range from scrolling social media to clicking “purchase” on a new product from the website.

A CX designer works to analyze and understand a buyer’s behavior while identifying possible issues and stopping problems before they arise. They create projects to resolve customer concerns, always focusing on additional ways to enhance and improve customer experience.

Successful CX designers will have strong problem-solving skills and the ability to analyze and interpret data. They should also be able to think from a client’s perspective, using tools and data provided by research to create and optimize the customer journey.

A CX designer is also responsible for team alignment.

The customer experience design process

Intentionally designing meaningful experiences throughout the customer journey takes a lot of thought and planning. Doing this successfully allows you to gain a better understanding of your customers and pave the way to market growth and enhanced revenue.

Include the following steps in every customer experience design project:

Identify customer information sources

One of the very first things to tackle in customer experience design is identifying the top sources of customer information. Feedback is a valuable tool for understanding your customers’ needs, preferences, and frustrations.

If you have direct feedback, take it into account. To craft your UX design, you can also utilize survey responses, usage data, and responses received from support calls or customer success sync calls.

If your company doesn’t currently have a way to collect customer feedback, try to prioritize it in your day-to-day processes.

Create empathy maps

Some businesses find empathy maps helpful in creating customer personas. Empathy maps use four unique quadrants: think, feel, say, and do. These draw a complete picture of the target customer’s wants and needs. They put the focus squarely on the customer rather than the business’s biases and can neatly identify client pain points.

A few questions to include when developing an empathy map might be:

  • What makes the customer happy? What makes them sad or frustrated?

  • What types of media is the customer influenced by?

  • How does the customer speak to others? Who do they interact with on a daily basis?

  • How can my business add value to the customer’s life?

Answering these questions could open up other considerations and questions. Be open to the process, and try to get into the client’s mind as much as possible.

Build customer personas

Every business should have some idea of its customer persona before embarking on CX design. A customer persona is a research-based profile that depicts your ideal customer.

Many businesses have multiple customer personas, especially if it sells multiple products or caters to a very large population segment.

Customer personas should include details like age, profession, salary, values, desires, lifestyle choices, pain points, and goals. They should be updated regularly because the market shifts and companies evolve.

Developing customer personas can really help your business. They can align departments, enhance your marketing efforts, stretch your budget further, and, most importantly, help you and your team understand your clients better.

Customer personas are also vital for CX design. They can provide the kind of deep behavioral insights that help inform new products and services all while improving customer experience from the ground up.

Create customer journey maps for each persona

There will always be variations within your customer personas. Creating customer journey maps for each persona helps the development team visualize the entire customer lifecycle and map out any potential bumps in the road. Knowing where customers face issues can help the CX leader and the rest of the team interact with buyers and eliminate friction.

Suggest changes

Always keep the future in mind as you evolve your CX design. It should never be static, even if you’ve worked out a strategy that seems solid right now. Just as clients and their needs evolve over time, so should your design.

Your CX leader and the rest of the development team should always keep the pipeline fluid and be adaptable to changes on the way. Evaluating your strategy every year is another good idea, incorporating any notable market changes or updates to your customer persona into the CX design.

CX design strategy best practices

Many factors contribute to a winning CX design strategy. However, there are a few best practices that everyone on your team should utilize, regardless of their role. The simple steps below can go a long way toward turning new customers into loyal customers.

Pay attention to social media

Social media is often the first place where customers interact with your business. Whether they scroll past a sponsored ad or seek you out after a purchase to leave a review or comment, social media can be a very prevalent and powerful tool.

It gives brands a way to interact with customers instantly, answering questions, responding to comments, and boosting their online profile. By analyzing how clients interact with your social media pages, you can refine and enhance your CX design, utilizing their comments, concerns, and insights.

Create a culture of empowerment

Customer service is a culture that’s built from the ground up. All employees need to recognize how important it is to understand the customer. When they feel empowered to make decisions that benefit the customer, your CX design strategy could see some serious improvements.

Utilize data insights

Data is the fuel that keeps any business running. Monitor internal data sources and analytics. By understanding how campaigns and strategies work, you will know where to allocate marketing spend and what to prioritize.

Embracing technology is another key way to grow and thrive as a company. The latest insights and advances can give you the power to connect with more customers at once, getting responses from your target customers and putting those insights into action.

Listen when customers speak

Everyone wants to be heard, especially those who purchase goods and services from a business.

Collecting feedback from customers is one of the most powerful ways to grow and enhance a CX design strategy. Gather customer insights through surveys, interviews, and data analysis to understand customer needs, pain points, and preferences.

Listen when your customers reach out. If you don’t often hear from current customers, put policies in place that allow for more feedback opportunities.

Design personalized experiences

The digital world is saturated with companies competing for space. It can all seem a bit overwhelming for consumers. This is why personalization can be such a powerful tool for businesses looking to grow and retain customers.

Personalization can help you connect with customers and offer something that few other brands can. These customized experiences will help keep your brand top-of-mind and stood out from the crowd.

Improving customers’ experiences is a skill, and creating a strong customer experience design takes time. However, with the right mentality and planning, your company can create a CX design that allows you to attract more customers and also retain loyal ones.


Who designs the customer experience?

While the entire design team will have a hand in creating a CX design, the CX designer is a designated leader responsible for managing the flow of projects and aligning the team. The CX designer ensures continuity for customers while keeping the design team on task and on schedule.

Is CX design or UX design better?

CX design and UX design may be different, but they are both crucial for brand success. UX design primarily deals with how customers use and interact with a specific product or service, while CX design encompasses every interaction a customer has with a brand or company.

CX design casts a much wider net. But in the end, both CX and UX design focus on improving a , no matter the stage of their buying journey.

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