TLF Gems Newsletter August 2022

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

When an orator, by the mere magic of words and a golden voice, persuades his audience of the rightness of a bad cause we are very properly shocked. We ought to feel the same dismay whenever we find the same irrelevant tricks being used to persuade people of the rightness of a good cause.

Aldous Huxley

How rational are we? If you spend too much time reading pop science articles about behavioural economics, you could quickly draw the conclusion that every decision we make is unconscious, emotional, and subject to hundreds of biases.

That's true, of course, as far as it goes. And yet we're perfectly capable of choosing a TV that suits our needs, buying a train ticket to London when we want one, and avoiding a restaurant we had a bad experience in. Most of our decisions as customers, I believe, are as conscious and rational as they need to be.

Thanks for reading,


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

Do Nudges Work?

If you're interested in psychology or behavioural economics you may have seen the debate triggered about the effectiveness of "nudges" by a recent meta analysis. As this sensible article points out, you need to do a lot more digging into the specifics of the nudges you're testing, and in what circumstances, rather than proclaiming that they do or don't work. "...building theory around the idea that people are smart enough to understand the choices in their lives is one way to help make research more replicable"

Read: Do Nudges Work?

The Service Profit Chain at 25

We've always been strong proponents of the service profit chain as a way of conceptualising (and ideally operationalising) the links between employee engagement, customer experience, and business performance. This article looks back at the way the SPC has been used over the last 25 years, and proposes some revisions (not all of which we agree with). "...revising the SPC based on ongoing discussions in service research and related fields may improve researchers’ understanding of the links between internal marketing, external marketing, and firm performance."

Read: The Service Profit Chain at 25

Making a House a Home

Interesting report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that shows how the UK housing market has shifted to an ever-greater proportion of private rental, and argues that housing policy should aim to reverse this (as well as build new homes). "...we must place a much greater focus on the 25 million homes we already occupy, both to address the cost of housing and to explore the strategies, levers, and policies which can be utilised to rapidly shift who they are owned by and in whose interests."

Read: Making a House a Home

Foot Survey

Enjoyed this (slightly tongue in cheek) concept—a survey you fill out by stamping your feet on a giant questionnaire. In all seriousness, though, getting creative with your research is a good idea! "Tiny Studio was amused by the results of the survey, which ended when one participant expressed such distaste in response to the government question, that his stamps ripped the survey to shreds."

Read: Foot Survey

The Danger of Science Populism

A thought-provoking longish read on the seductive allure of populist science, concentrating on Yuval Noah Harari, but equally applicable to Malcolm Gladwell, or pretty much anyone standing on a TED stage. It's not that they're always wrong, but that they are too good at making their arguments on sometimes shaky foundations. "Harari has seduced us with his storytelling, but a close look at his record shows that he sacrifices science to sensationalism, often makes grave factual errors, and portrays what should be speculative as certain."

Read: The Danger of Science Populism

Top Reads: Neuro Design

When I hear "neuromarketing" I tend to think "snake oil", but this a really useful book. Bridger explains what cognitive science can tell us about what people like, what works in terms of being engaging and memorable, and then describes how to apply that in the design of anything visual. "Designers already use their own intuition in creating designs...They will also use a body of principles built up over the years...Neuro design just adds to these principles."

Top Reads: Neuro Design

If you'd ever like to have a look at our list of past Top Reads, they're all catalogued here - enough reading to keep anyone going for a while!