TLF Gems Newsletter January 2024

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

The idea of craftsmanship is a constant striving for excellence, not perfection.

James Otter

Happy New Year!

What does 2024 have in store for customers? Inflation and falling standards of service have taken a toll on both satisfaction and consumer sentiment over the last couple of years, and organisations are going to have to work hard to win back their trust and loyalty.

In most sectors there are exceptions, and we believe it's those organisations that keep customers front of mind when times are tough that will reap the rewards in the future.

Here's to a year in which customers come first!

Thanks for reading,


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

Zoom Fatigue: Boredom, not Burnout

An interesting study which contradicts the conventional wisdom that Zoom/Teams meetings are making us stressed. A bigger problem may be that the meetings are under-stimulating (boring), especially for people who are less engaged with their work. "Given the growing amount of time spent in virtual meetings, these findings emphasize the risks to mental energy and cognitive performance and highlight the protective role of high general work engagement."

Learning From LEGO

I love LEGO, and this article gives a good overview of their approach to bringing customers inside the business, which goes beyond what most organisations would consider. "Making the effort to bring customers inside can inform innovation, build brand loyalty and encourage repeat business. "

Shocking Customer Service

We know from the UKCSI that customer satisfaction plummeted through 2023. This article reports on a Which? survey showing that poor customer service is pervasive in sectors such as telecoms and energy. "Many businesses were already offering sub-standard customer service before Covid forced them to close contact centres and cut support staff – but Which? is now calling on firms in key sectors to up their game in areas where customer service has failed to improve or become even worse since then."

How To Change Your Mind

Good article from Scott Young about how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps people to recognise and change destructive patterns of thought. It's an open question how much you can apply these ideas on your own, but definitely an illuminating read. "In this model, our beliefs cause us to interpret ambiguous situations in particular ways. These interpretations give rise to automatic thoughts, verbalizations and images that rise to the level of consciousness. Those thoughts, in turn, produce emotional reactions and behaviors."

From CSV to Report with ChatGPT

File this one under "you could, but do you think you should?" Like many ChatGPT examples, this is simultaneously impressive and infuriating. The idea that you can shortcut learning how to actually analyse data yourself by relying on an LLM with absolutely no knowledge of its own, understanding of the question being addressed, or ability to make sound judgements about appropriate analysis is, frankly, absurd.

Top Reads: IDEO Method Cards

Published in 2003 as a set of 51 cards these were a lovely (and quite expensive) item. The cards are pitched as "51 ways to inspire design", and they're a brilliant collection of user research and protoyping tools. You can buy second hand sets for a price, but there are also plenty of PDF versions online if you want to have a flick through for inspiration. "These cards show some of the ways IDEO keeps people at the center of the design process."

If you'd 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!