Founder & CEO Beyond Philosophy
Share this content

What is 'Hidden CX' and why is it critical?

13th Jun 2018
Founder & CEO Beyond Philosophy
Share this content

Businesses are in a rut. Speed, efficiency and convenience are all rational factors companies focus on when they think about customer experience. But good experience isn’t that simple. It involves more than you think.

For years, research has indicated that the future of success for business is in customer experience. But recent PwC research shows that businesses have a customer experience disconnect. People are increasingly loyal to the retailers, products, brands and devices that consistently provide exceptional value with minimum friction or stress.

While brands may seek to incorporate the latest technological advances, the human touch is the connection to delivering exceptional experience – and coveted additional revenue.

Customer experience is made up of multiple perceptions that work together in tandem: rational, conscious, emotional, subconscious and psychological. While many companies focus on the rational and conscious parts of an experience – speed, accuracy, consistency, technology – in hopes of retaining customers, many companies fail to focus on the hidden customer experience: the psychological and subconscious parts of an experience that can only be provided by the human touch, either literally or infused in the technologies a brand utilizes.

Humans are emotional, and a quick look at customer complaints demonstrates how emotional they can be. But most organizations focus on the “what” and not the “how.” A great experience transcends rational attributes – price, quality, delivery – and becomes part of the product itself.

PwC says customers are willing to pay a price premium, and it’s big – up to 16% more for something as minor as a cup of coffee.


But companies are losing from the potential price premium they can get from customers because there’s a significant experience expectation gap: the difference between what you provide and what your customer wants. And the gap is larger than ever:


Almost three-quarters of consumers say customer experience is critical for their purchasing decisions. Customers want speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service, but businesses don’t always deliver this. Why? Many are too focused on the rational factors and not the psychological factors.

Truly Thinking Like a Customer

Critical to the customer experience is the psychological experience – the cognitive processes that drive customer behavior. While logic and emotion work together to drive cognitive processes, companies spearhead these elements, leading to retention and loyalty or just the opposite. By understanding the way customers’ brains process information and influence decisions, companies can better predict behavior and design a customer experience that results in the behavior companies want: more revenue.

Hidden Experience: Visuals

Simple considerations when it comes to a company’s visuals can play a part as well. A restaurant’s menu design influences decisions. When restaurants omit the dollar signs next to the price, customers forget they are spending money. Also placing the highest priced items in a prominent place on the menu, the other listings appear to be relative bargains.

Hidden Experience: Phrasing and Wording

Phrasing and wording can make or break your hidden customer experience. While working with an insurance company, our team noticed a large amount of calls from customers a few days after they had bought their policy. Agents were telling customers “Your documents should be with you in four to five business days.” The callback rate decreased from 75% to 6% in a matter of weeks when agents changed their phrasing. Rather than saying “should be with you,” they said “will be with you,” indicating affirmative action.

Focus on more than just rational factors and your business with thrive. By optimizing psychological factors that influence decision-making, businesses create a better customer experience that keeps your customers coming back for more.

Have you made a hidden change that has improved your CX? Let us know in the comments below.

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of six bestselling books, an engaging keynote speaker, and co-host of The Intuitive Customer Podcast.

Disclosure: As a CX Thought leader I have been engaged by PwC as an ‘Influencer’, however that does not affect the integrity of my stated opinions in this or other articles. 

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX.

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.