The psychology and physiology of customer experience

In a previous post (customer surveys are a  waste of time) we said to stop wasting time on meaningless customer surveys. A bold statement but one we stick to as most customers surveys are poorly designed, they do not provide useful insight and it seems their sole purpose is to provide meaningless stats to the management team. In this post we want to share the latest science and psychology of customer experience to help you go beyond the survey and generate new insight.


Our belief (and the reason we established) is to bring science to customer experience. Particularly a better way to understand what drives human behaviour rather than just asking people to self-report. By using science to gather objective data about what humans actually do in real-time, in the real world we gain dependable insight. Insight that helps businesses enhance customer and employee experiences that contribute to commercial success.

psychology of customer experience

Psychology of customer experience

To demonstrate the validity of the techniques we have pioneered in this field, we have been working with academic researchers at the University of Reading to review the available physiological and neuroscientific methods of investigating customer behaviour. The first peer-reviewed paper on this subject has just been published by Frontiers in Psychology.

The paper investigates the value and application of a range of scientific techniques in applied marketing research and consumer science. New insights from social psychology and neuroscience are highlighted. It reviews measures of sweat secretion, heart rate, facial muscle activity, eye movements, and electrical brain activity, using techniques including skin conductance, pupillometry, eye-tracking, and magnetic brain imaging. For each measure, after a brief explanation of the underlying technique, the paper illustrates how researchers in marketing and customer experience can investigate consumer attitudes and behaviour.

The paper argues that the use of physiological and neuroscientific techniques can advance customer research by providing insights into the often-unconscious mechanisms underlying human behaviour. Such technologies can help researchers and practitioners in marketing and customer experience to understand the mechanisms of consumer behaviour. And importantly, improve predictions of future behaviour and how they might be positively influenced.

We will be summarising the contents of the paper and what it means in practical terms in a series of articles over the next few weeks. This will be particularly useful for those working to improve customer and employee experience. You can read the full paper here: ‘Beyond self-report’ – Frontiers in Psychology.

To find out more about our evidence-based approach you can read our ‘How we help section’ where you will find detail of our approach to customer experience insight, design and implementation