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What's the difference between user and customer experience?

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This is a question that crops up fairly regularly, and the answer is best illustrated by an experience I had.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered something from an online retailer and was given a guaranteed delivery date of September 12.

A few hours later, I received an SMS from the courier who was going to deliver it on the 12th, and it had a link in the message that I could use to book a delivery slot.

I clicked the link and was smartly jumped into a browser where I chose a delivery slot of 11am-12pm. This was confirmed, and instantly followed up with an email confirming the details I had booked.

It all started so well.

On the day of the 12th, the delivery slot passed without the parcel being delivered, so I kept clicking the email tracking link, which indicated that the parcel was still sitting at the depot, and had been since 5am.

I allowed time for the system to refresh, and after another two hours had gone by, I picked up the phone.

I was put through to a call assistant pretty promptly, (although I should mention I had to use the interwebs to do some digging to find a number that I wouldn’t pay through the nose for) and with a few quick security checks she was able to confirm who I was and what parcel I was waiting for.

This is where it all fell apart.

The call assistant was unable to locate my parcel, and told me that by choosing a delivery slot I had created a system malfunction, but not to worry, she would get the warehouse manager to look into it.

The parcel arrived a few hours later.

And then I received an email assuring me that my parcel would be delivered later that day.

So, from a user experience perspective, my journey was great. All of the digital touchpoints worked, were easily understood, and it was clear what my options were and how to manage them. I even knew that I could keep track of my parcel by clicking a link in my email.

... there was confusion, and even an element of blame

My customer experience was not great. The minute I went cross channel (to the phone) there was confusion, and even an element of blame for having picked a delivery date, which was an option provided to me. So from my perspective (as a customer) I really didn’t care how their systems worked, or what malfunction their systems experienced  - I just wanted my parcel.

A parcel which was my wife’s birthday present. One she stayed at home for, and as a result missed a celebratory lunch with her friends.

How could this have been improved?

Clearly the communication to the customer here was key. If a delivery slot is going to be missed, keeping the user informed allows them to make choices. But no clear communication means idly sitting at home waiting to see the delivery man.

I am eternally grateful to be living in 2017, and with UX and CX at the fore of a lot of digital companies, I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Maybe next time I can just have the object teleported to my living room…

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