Let’s Get Physical – Influencing the Conscious Customer Experience


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lets-get-physicalThe world is a stage and we are all but players in the experience. Lights, action, music, costumes. Conscious and unconscious experiences are often unspoken and unnoticed; yet they are a subjective and a real part of how we experience the world. The physical relationship we have in regards to color, lighting and décor play a major role in influencing how we all perceive, behave and react to the world around us.

Industrial psychologist look at how “cool colors”, such as blue, or light green, can stimulate pleasant emotions and calm in customers or employees. This can affect in-store/in-office behaviors and promote the flow of money (spending or receiving). Add background music, integrated into the ambience of the environment, and it further affects the moods of individuals. It can impact the view, use or sampling of a product, service and buying decisions of your customers. The pace of the music has a significant effect on the in-store traffic and extent of sales in a supermarket setting, and in a restaurant setting, this factor influences the customer’s dining time, duration of stay in the restaurant and his money spending behavior.

The very presence of scent influences a customer’s evaluation of the store and the quality of its products as well as his length of stay, buying intention and revisit preferences. A pleasant bakery smell accelerates bakery sales to 300 percent. In a casino, scents influence the money spending behavior of a customer on a slot machine. Comfortable temperature, cleanliness, warm colors and stylish design are factors influencing spa goers’ intentions. ?Orchestrating pleasant experiences for employees or customers by influencing their senses is a differentiation strategy that contributes to the overall conscious experience of a brand. By nature, we all favor an atmosphere that induces pleasantness and a positive mood, and a setting that induces these emotions is sure to make the experiences lasting and special.

The Disney Experience is a prime example of how stimulating the senses can enhance the experiences created for customers. At one of the Disney hotels, they created the “indoor beach party” experience for the press. The setting had the sound of surf, suntan oil scents, the touch of sand, lighting, music, a boardwalk and many such intricate details that brought beach setting alive to the guests.

Another example of influencing customer perspectives is Disney’s Magic Kingdom. A long stroll to the Castle initially is inviting to the customer as he loses himself to the attractions on either sides of the street. But, to people looking at the Main Street from the castle, the street appears shorter than it is which makes them happier as they don’t have to take a long walk after a long day. This perspective also helps reduce transportation chaos as buses are limited along this area.

There are several examples to reflect growing organizational consciousness regarding the significance of environmental impact on customers and the experiences they derive (both positive and negative). Creativity, experimentation and overall detailed study of customer behavior are key to creating aesthetic environments that deliver uplifting experiences for customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Keith Fiveson
A driven communications, customer care, operations, transformation consultant. Helping clients develop people, using convergence based technologies to brand, expand and optimize the customer experience globally.


  1. Hi Keith,

    You’ve raised a point that doesn’t seem to get enough attention within the customer experience blogosphere – influencing the physical experience.

    What we experience through our physical senses generates our strongest memories. So the more a company can involve our physical senses in the customer experiences, the more powerful and memorable the experiences they’ll create.

    I love the aroma of coffee when I walk into a Starbucks. I love the view of the green outfield grass and the sounds of the crowd when I walk into Fenway Park in Boston. And I love the taste of the cheese, bread and olive oil that the waitress brings to my table, every time I go to my favorite Italian restaurant.

    But you also reference Disney. When it comes to making a better customer experience, Disney is doing things that most companies don’t: http://jlwatsonconsulting.typepad.com/my-blog/2010/12/walt-disney-world-has-built-a-customer-experience-command-center.html

    Thanks Keith, for reminding us of a factor that’s too strong to ignore, and for tying it back to Disney!

    Jim Watson
    JL Watson Consulting

  2. Glad to connect the dots! It certainly is often lost that our physical experience is often an unconscious one, yet critical to the conscious evaluation and assessment. Glad that we could connect. I hope we are able to meet some time in the physical world!! 🙂


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