TLF Gems Newsletter May 2024

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

It's more advantageous to structure decisions to be easily reversible than to take too much time trying to make the perfect choice.

Shane Parrish

This "tiny thought" from Shane Parrish really got me thinking. We're currently looking at getting a new CRM system, and whenever you make a decision like that it feels like you have to do it without enough information.

We sometimes ask customers "Knowing what you know now, how likely would you be to choose X if you had to make the decision again?" This question is powerful because it uncovers the gap between perceptions at the point of decision and later reality.

You'll have heard us talk about the different perspectives of the "lens of the organisation" and the "lens of the customer". That difference may well be strongest at the point of consideration. You know what your solution is, what it does well, how much work it will take to get up and running, but your potential customers don't know any of that.

Taking away perceived risk and friction is a key part of the customer experience, even though they're not customers yet.

Thanks for reading,


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

Does Net Promoter Score Measure Promotion?

There's a growing sense of discontent with NPS. In this short blog Seth Godin points out one fundamental flaw in the approach - it doesn't accurately measure what it purports to measure. "People promote a brand or activity when it increases their status or the affiliation they have with others, not because they owe you something."


Have you come across the Japanese term "poka-yoke"? It means "mistake-proofing", and it describes a mechanism that prevents human error from leading to problems. It's a really important part of a systems thinking approach to customer experience. Do staff or customers keep making mistakes? What poka-yoke could we introduce to help them? "Shingo distinguished between the concepts of inevitable human mistakes and defects in the production. Defects occur when the mistakes are allowed to reach the customer."

Why You Probably Don't Want Innovation

This is a great rant from Tom Goodwin about the difference between real innovation (risky, hard, unglamorous) and the theatre of innovation (glossing what you already do with whatever the latest fad is). "Real innovation happens at the core. Where it's hard. It's changing businesses models, changing culture, changing the ways people work, changing how we think about our roles. Changing a lot, and changing things painfully. So are you really prepared to do what it takes?"

Do Rounded Buttons Drive More Clicks?

There was a bit of a row on LinkedIn about this article, which provides evidence that using rounded buttons instead of buttons with square corners will boost click through rates by 17% to 64%. I am (deeply) sceptical about the size of the claimed effect, but it is nice to see design recommendations grounded in proper experiment and published for others to see. " marketers desiring higher click rates would benefit from having more curved (than sharp angled) virtual elements on websites and in online ads."

Building Trust With Humour

Marketing Week report on how McDonalds is trying to shift the attitudes of a lingering group of customers who distrust the quality of its products through ads using humour. Addressing trust directly is really difficult, and this is an interesting attempt grounded in research. "McDonald’s and its agency partners set out to uncover what the biases and preconceptions of those trust neutrals are to help dispel those notions and move these individuals towards positive trust in the brand."

What I'm Reading: Behavioral Insights

This is a pleasingly compact book about how a behavioural insights approach can help us to understand and therefore shape people's decisions. "...aspects of the context or the way a decision is presented may shape our behavior much more than we realize"