TLF Gems Newsletter January 2023

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.

Richard Feynman

Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions this year? A recent study by researchers at Stockholm University, shared by Richard Shotton on Twitter, showed that people are 25% more likely to stick to resolutions that involve adopting a new habit (like learning the guitar) rather than avoiding an old one (like giving up social media).

It's more effective to start new things than to try to stop existing things.

This is something that organisations should bear in mind for 2023. All the indications are that it's going to be a tough year for the UK economy, and when times are tough businesses look, quite rightly, for opportunities to cut costs. The key question, from a CX Strategy perspective, is "where can we cut costs without damaging relationships with customers?" Businesses that thrive in tough economic times don't do it by stopping things, but by focusing their resources on the things their target customers value.

Don't cut costs, invest in what matters to customers.

Thanks for reading, and have a great 2023!


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

A Job Satisfaction Map

Where are workers happiest? Data from Eurostat reveals the countries with the most and least satisfied employees. No data for the UK, for obvious reasons, but some interesting trends — in particular the positive correlation between flexibility and job satisfaction. "When comparing the job satisfaction of those who have more flexible hours with those who have less, the former always comes out ahead."

Read: A Job Satisfaction Map


I love a good quote, so it was inevitable I'd include this PDF from David Hieatt collecting 24 personally important quotes, and unpacking what each of them means to him. Look forward to seeing some of them at the top of TLF Gems! "The best quotes come into your life and never leave. They are on repeat in your head. They become a secret mentor. A board of directors. All rolled into one powerful single sentence."

Read: 24 Quotes

Trends for 2023

This is a useful, UK-focused, report on Customer Service trends for 2023 from the Institute of Customer Service. "In 2023, let’s not get blown off course by all the doom and gloom around us. By keeping our focus on the things that will bring long-term success while balancing short-term challenges, we can set ourselves up for success."

Read: Trends for 2023

Priority Guides

Interesting post about "priority guides" as an alternative to wireframes in designing digital user interfaces (and by extension in designing any experience). Rather than focusing on layout, they encourage you to focus on what matters most to users. "What remains important no matter your process, however, is the need to always keep the focus on user and business goals, and to continuously ask yourself what each piece of content or functionality adds to these goals."

Read: Priority Guides

Brands Shouldn't Talk About Cost of Living

Excellent article in Marketing Week arguing that, although the cost of living crisis is a major concern for consumers, it's a mistake for brands to attempt to address it directly in their advertising. Most brands simply aren't trusted to act in a socially responsible way, so it comes across as inauthentic. "...instead of focusing on the cost of living and increasing anxiety among your target customers, this is the perfect moment to be talking about your brand’s quality and reliability."

Read: Brands Shouldn't Talk About Cost of Living

The Ten Book Rule

I really like this rule of thumb from Scott Young about how much work it takes to properly understand the expert consensus on a topic; not to become an expert, but to understand what experts think about a particular question. "Ten well-chosen books are usually enough to understand the expert consensus on any reasonable question you might have."

Read: The Ten Book Rule

Top Reads: Contextual Design

This is a much heavier book (in all senses) than I normally include, but it is a classic for a reason. The basic idea is simple: you can't design products that work for customers unless you understand the context in which they will be used, and the only way to get that understanding is by getting out there to experience their lives. "We form our understanding through field research, talking to users where they live and work, while they do the activities we are designing for."

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

Top Reads: Contextual Design