TLF Gems Newsletter August 2023

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

The customer isn't always right...the right customer is always right.

Peter Fader

It annoys me when being customer-centric is cast as a fluffy "nice to have" aspect of business, because it really isn't.

The crux of it comes down to this quote from Peter Fader. There are customers that you absolutely shouldn't be investing too much effort in: the ones who won't reward your efforts with loyalty, who are constantly looking for a better deal, or trying to get one over on you. You can't build a relationship with someone who's not interested in a relationship with you.

The trick is to find the customers who are worth the effort.

Thanks for reading,


Here are 7 things we think are worth your time this month

The Latest UKCSI Findings

We're lucky enough to work with the Institute of Customer Service on the UKCSI, and the latest findings are a must-read. Satisfaction in the UK has dropped to its lowest level since 2015, with scores falling across all sectors. "From the perspective of customers, the leading issues organisations should improve are making it easy to contact the right person to help, employee behaviours and competence, and website navigation."

What Happens When AI Is Trained on AI Content?

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney are trained, as you no doubt know, on huge amounts of human-generated content. Leaving aside the ethical (and possibly legal) questions that raises, what happens when more and more content is generated by AI? Researchers fear training AI on AI-generated content could lead to "model collapse". "'Over time, mistakes in generated data compound and ultimately force models that learn from generated data to misperceive reality even further."

Low Interest & Innovation

Interesting piece in Tom Goodwin's excellent newsletter reflecting on the bankruptcy of VanMoof e-bikes, reflecting on the importance of cheap capital to fuel unproven business models. "...really exciting, innovative business models can only work in historically low-interest rate environments. How many more businesses that raised boatloads of cheap capital over the past few years will fail simply because they can't work when their cost of capital goes up by a few percentage points?"

Changing Behaviour

Great short thread from Dr Ellie Murray on Twitter (or whatever Musk is calling it this week) about the success of the designated driver campaign in changing behaviour. "People love to claim to we can’t change people’s behavior. But did you know the idea of 'designated drivers' is only normal in America thanks to the work of a group of Harvard scholars? Here’s 5 reasons they succeeded."

A Research Framework

This is an excellent resource from Erika Hall (author of 'Just Enough Research') - a framework for thinking systematically about why you need a research project, how best to approach it, and what to do with the results. "Much of our work involves helping organizations create or develop their design/research practices, so I thought I’d try to help out. I created a cohesive visual representation of the general approach I recommend to clients and follow myself. "

Framework Matrices

This is a nice explanation of a useful tool in qualitative analysis - the framework matrix. This article talks about them in the context of NVivo, but it's an approach you might use without splashing out on QDA software. "A framework matrix is a way of summarizing and analyzing qualitative data in a table of rows and columns."

Top Reads: Customer Centricity

This is an important book, although in places it's frustratingly short on practical detail (the companion "Playbook" fills in some of the gaps). It's based on the idea that some customers are much more valuable than others, and that focusing on creating great experiences and relationships with these customers is the secret to sustainable success. As you can imagine, we totally agree - we call this "doing best what matters most to those who matter most". "They are out there, waiting to be served. But they don't all expect, require, or deserve the same level of service or attention."

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