on 18 February 2013
The world is full of books that tell you how to be better at your job. In the case of marketing this often takes the form of the helpful assertion that you should `be more like Apple'. And everyone says we totally should. And this is all well and good until someone says, `How do we do that?' And then everyone starts staring at the floor and mumbling. This continues until someone finally decides to commission some research that confirms that people do indeed like Apple. Or apples, depending on the quality of your research company.
Watkinson's book is considerably more helpful. In it he clearly argues for, and indeed demonstrates how and why customer experience should be the real focus of any business. Why traditional metrics and research are far less helpful than we think and how psychological insight is a far better basis on which to build things for actual people. It will change the way you look at the world, initially making it more annoying. Shortly thereafter you'll start to see how easy it would be to make things better. That's its genius. It tells you how. And it makes it seem so simple. Which it is when someone else has taken the trouble of reading over 200 books for you and then carefully distilled their insights on human psychology into a well written and easy to follow Hanes manual for customer experience. It even comes with work sheets. It's almost as if he actually wants to help, and not just make a career out of telling companies they should be more like Apple.
on 17 February 2013
Matt cuts through the flabby thinking that tends to accompany the world of "customer experience."
The book is exceptionally well written: there's a zen-like clarity, his words selected with laser-like precision. I love the pictures of his research material in the accompanying website; it's also got downloadable worksheets to help people structure their customer experience thinking. Useful.
The themes which remain with me a week on:
- Quantitative metrics "cannot replace an empathetic feel for what might delight the customer". Get out there see your customers for yourself.
- Understand why people really buy your product. Ask yourself "If our brand is the answer, what is the question?" We're after the truth here - not what people post-rationalise after purchase. Matt gave the example of Superdry. Faux-Americana and Japanese cultural signifiers of authenticity are beside the point. Their founder is quoted as saying they produce "clothes blokes can go down the pub in and not be laughed at." It's easy to see how strategy and tactics can tumble from such a powerful insight.
- Engage the senses. This is one I've spent 6 months thinking about for a client project which is now bearing fruit, so it is a particular favourite. Consider each sense in turn - are you engaging with it? Have you overlooked anything? Points of difference are precious few, so seek them out. You could even build an identity around them.
- We are all educated in design now. The bar rises daily. Taken from the book's first chapter:
"10 years ago, when faced with confusing technology many would simply say `I'm not a technical person.' Nowadays the consumer knows better. There are no technical and non-technical people, there are products that are well designed for their intended audience and there are those that are not, and we are now far more likely to blame the product rather than ourselves. This reflects a growing role that design plays in our lives. Amazon was not the first online bookstore, Google was not the first search engine, and IKEA was not the first furniture manufacturer: their success is intrinsically linked to their excellence in design."
on 15 February 2013
I've been doing user / customer experience design for clients in a variety of industries for more than 9 years and this is one of only 2 books that I've read back to back.
Oh and I've made lots of notes in the margins.
Put simply, this book summarises why keeping the customer at the centre of any product / service design decisions is crucial to your business's success. In fact with a double dip recession around us, customer centric design is what differentiates businesses that thrive despite economic troubles vs those that fail / sufer.
The book explains all of the above in a non pretentious, approachable and most importantly implementable way. Every chapter will give you an idea / inspiration on what you can do better in your own business or product / service you are designing.
Well worth a read and then multiple re reads!
on 24 December 2012
This book has made me think in a different way about everything I do, and has inspired me to be more rigorous about how I approach design, both at work and at home.
I find business books extremely hard going for the most part - stodgy, jargon-filled and full of diagrams that have me glazing over at first glance. There's none of that here. It's easy to read, full of excellent examples and is inspiring in a way that really is as accessible as the back cover makes out.
I've shown snippets to doubting friends who could have sworn I was on commission, and have enjoyed hearing back later that they'd ordered a copy for themselves. I hope it finds its way into design (and marketing, and sales, and support, and management - you get the picture!) departments everywhere.
Books and courses approaching these topics generally feel unsuitable for those unable to implement every single one of their recommendations. Following just a single principle from this book would yield massive improvements, and it'd be entirely possible to move slowly towards making use of them all as they get more and more second nature. I think that's really exciting - bite off as much or as little as you can manage and you'll see changes for the better.
Things I'd change (hey, it's a design book!):
- the typeface. The book's content is excellent, but it would have benefited from a more polished presentation. Sans serif doesn't work nearly as well for me in print, especially not for something of this length;
- the gutters down the centre of the book were too narrow for my taste. I needed to pry it open more than expected to get each line's extremities.
Neither detracted substantially from what I think is one of the most important books I've ever read. It covers design, business, psychology and more, and does so in fascinating, accessible fashion.
I'll be reading and re-reading this book, and will continue to sing its praises to friends and colleagues. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't learn something useful here.
on 7 January 2015
If you are thinking of starting a business, if you already have a business, if you are an employee who cares about what makes customers tick - please buy this book.
I've been involved in many roles across many different business and bought hundreds of business books over the past thirty plus years and can say that this book is one of the best.
If you want to do anything in a business it helps massively if you have a guide or a well thought out framework. A good framework will help identify the kind of questions needed in which to reach the best understanding. A good framework will be logical and reasonably simple to apply.
Matt has invested several years of effort with multiple iterations and provided a superb framework. The ten principles are the framework and he has provided these as downloadable PDF files which are editable so you can enter your own data and information.
As mentioned I've worked as an employee in businesses large and small. Just about everyone one of them was designed or modelled on traditional lines. A sales department, a marketing department, a operations department and so on. You would not believe the problems these lines of demarcation created, almost like mini silos all competing amongst each other.
The one who loses out is the customer who is forced to follow the processes and procedures which suit the company and don't suit the customer. Ultimately of course, it is the company who loses out as customers get fed up with a mediocre service and go to a new start-up.
A new start-up who really structures their business, their products and their services based on customer experience.
My final thoughts are this. If every business thought seriously about their customers and less about their targets and profits three things would happen. They would keep more customers who would be happy to recommend them, they would have staff who loved working there and would likely have better profits in the long run.
All the best.
on 12 January 2013
As a UX designer, I make a point of spending my free time nose deep in a design book. Unfortunately, this is usually after a groan, a sigh, and a mutter of, "I've bought the thing, I really must read it". It's a fact; most books about design are a bore.
That's why it was particularly refreshing that this book was such a joy to read. I was genuinely upset when I finished it, because I knew I'd have to have another crack at the last one I'd given up on. Matt Watkinson uses a friendly, inclusive tone throughout the book. While I could see how it would appeal to business owners and other non-designers, I didn't feel patronised at all.
That being said, its merit doesn't just lie in the writing style. This book contains everything you'd need to know to be able to design a good service (it covers various channels and various products rather than traditional UX for web or mobile) and it provides a systematic approach to what can potentially be a slightly haphazard profession. Rather than the standard practise I see in many organisations (ask customers what they want, design something, ask them if it's right, rinse and repeat), using the author's method provides a step-by-step guide to getting an experience right. While you'll still want to validate your work, using the information in this book will mean you're much further along when you do so.
My only feedback to the author would be that I wanted *more*; a few times in the later chapters he mentions subjects that are too huge to go into their full detail (e.g. the opportunities to be had by utilising the five senses), but maybe a little more detail would have been good. The chapters were short enough to easily read one per commute; so I wouldn't have minded a couple more!
If you're in any doubt about whether the author practices what he preaches, he references his website, where he provides free worksheets, corresponding to each subject covered in the book (e.g. error prevention). The icing on the cake? He's provided filled-in examples; the ones he used to design his own website. My recommendation: buy this book, read it, and get everyone you work with to do the same.
on 10 January 2013
I placed two pre-orders of a total of 24 books in October just after short contact with Matt.
His input, pre-view and concept was so convincing that I "took the chance" for this amount of orders without even having held a single copy in my hand.
Now a month after receiving the books and us beginning to spread them to a selective crowd of managers, I am really happy for what we have done.
The concept is so basic and so direct in approach that it supports what we are striving for.
We will continue to focus on improving our products like any company needs to do, but we will also in paralell drive the aspects of what we call Quality Service Experience.
This books suppports the basics of this mindset.
Behaviour & Attitude are basic key elements in any full scope product delivery.
Examples are plentiful and valuable.
Website with worksheets and updates are adding good value.
For us (for many it could be the main value of the book) I can see strong added value in driving simplicity in product design. To examplify it, I take a quote from Apple and I think it was Steve Jobs words in one of their brochures, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Thanks Matt, the book is a great support in the above mentioned topics.
More orders are very likely to be placed soon on our behalf and further reviews will be placed as we work more with it.
on 29 August 2014
What can I say, a book within a book, within a book. I am still reading this book, I keep going back to read the chapters before, and putting this into practice in my own shop.
I find the language to be both user friendly and very informative.
The author has a unique way of putting across ways in which to deliver great customer service.
When I say that I have doubled my takings since reading and implementing the ideas in this book, please believe me that I have, and all in a matter of months.
Well done xxx
on 15 April 2013
I love this book! Finally, someone really, really gets it about the customer.
Matt Watkinson knows that we matter. In fact, he knows that we, the customers, matter most. In the end it is the customers of the world, even more than the other economic stakeholders, that grow the economies of the world. As customers we need experiences that make us buy and buy again, intelligently and happily. Matt's guide to that end is brilliant.
In addition to everything the 22+ other reviewers said, I would add these two points:
1) As the reader we are the customer. And Matt treats us well. Matt's writing and the design of the book create a customer experience consistent with his Ten Principles. We read, for example, effortlessly, feeling in control, engaged with him and his vivid examples, absorbing the ideas easily, identifying with them, letting ourselves feel as we read, pleased that some of our greater goals are being satisfied, and our expectations are met beautifully. He clearly left nothing to chance.
2) This product works when we get home. As the customer here we can easily put into practice every one of the Ten Principles. Sometimes that means a bit of upheaval as we change some ways we relate to customers. But that is fine. It is doable. And we feel Matt's voice along the way. He is an author you take with you into the field.
on 27 September 2013
Quite simply, Ten Principles is an astonishing overview of why certain products and services are the leaders in their market - because they appeal to our humanity.
Watkinson breaks down customer experiences into ten segments ranging from creating stress free experiences to appealing to all five of our senses: Illustrated with a diverse catalogue of examples, each concisely delivers the point through our experience with familiar brands through astute observation.
I also appreciated the condensed and jargon free results of research Watkinson includes to illustrate a particular theory or principle, making Ten Principles jargon free and accessible to a larger audience.
By framing some of the principles through a coherent structure - such as the stages a touch points outlined in chapter six 'Great customer experiences leave nothing to chance', actionable tasks can help readers really understand the mental discipline that serious designers utilise when they design a response.
Along with REWORK, I'd rate 10 principles as essential reading for any designer or business to improve their offerings. Humanising the entire process allows is to reconnect with what's important and will greatly increase your chances of a better product or service if considered seriously.
Required reading for design theorists. 5*.