TLF Gems Newsletter August 2021

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back.

John Ilhan

It's useful, sometimes, to look at the metaphors that are baked into the language we use every day.

Take the word "understand"—it implies that we comprehend something when we stand underneath it. In its original Old English form it probably meant something more like "stand in the middle of it", but the point is similar: if you want to understand something properly you can't sit in an ivory tower and think your way to a full grasp of it, you have to get out there and witness it.

This is precisely what customer insight is all about. By immersing ourselves in the world of customers, and describing what we find as richly as we can, we achieve understanding. If we don't do that work, then we risk making the assumption that customers are just like us, designing experiences which fail for everyone except us.

Thanks for reading,

Here are 6 things we think are worth you time this month

UKCSI Results July 2021

The July UKCSI results are out, and you can download the exec summary from the Institute of Customer Service. Fascinating reading, as ever, and it's good to see satisfaction trending up again. "For organisations, this is a critical time to take stock of lessons learned during the pandemic..."

Read: UKCSI Results July 2021

Culture for "Born Digital" Employees

Interesting report by Citrix showing that people born after 1981 are much more likely to prefer working at home than business leaders imagine. I wonder what the pandemic has done to that perception gap? "While culture has always been difficult to understand and manage, the hybrid, flexible and changing employment arrangements of staff will make culture even more of a challenge."

Download: Culture for "Born Digital" Employees

"We Are All Patients"

Really insightful article on the ways in which the idea that "we are all patients" can lead people in healthcare to exclude real patient voices from the room. This is a trap that can affect all of us if we start to think that we understand customers so well that we don't need to actually hear from them. "The result of attending a 'Patients Excluded' conference is just as you might imagine: hundreds of people working in healthcare getting together to talk at each other about caring for people who aren’t even at the table."

Read: "We Are All Patients"

Why We Lose Track of Spending

One thing we've all probably done a lot more of recently is paying for things online. It's getting easier and easier, as our phones pre-fill credit card details and purchases are just a thumb print away, but what does that frictionless experience mean for our control over spending? How are people (legitimate and otherwise) taking advantage of this? "Companies have long wanted spending to be fast, easy and barely worth a thought. Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, they are closer than ever to realising their desires."

Read: Why We Lose Track of Spending

Description Leads To Understanding

Excellent piece on Farnam Street exploring the idea that the discipline of describing something accurately is the best way to understand it properly. This is why we do qualitative research, and the idea of using different "lenses" to build up your understanding of customers is fundamental to insight and seeing the customer experience as the complex system it is. "One way to begin understanding complex systems is by describing them in detail: mapping out their parts, their multiple interactions, and how they change through time."

Read: Description Leads To Understanding

Top Reads: Visual Language for Designers

This is one of my favourite books on graphic design. Despite the title, this is not just for designers, but for anyone who's interested in visual communication. Whether you're producing charts, presentations, or customer communications this book will help you think systematically about how you use visual language to communicate more effectively. "An increased awareness of how people process visual information can help the designer create meaningful messages that are understood on both a cognitive and emotional level."

Top Reads: Visual Language for Designers