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on 10 May 2017
I've been a digital creative for the last 15 years and last year decided to focus more on customer experience with the plan of diversifying my career. I've since read almost all of the CX books on the market and only just finished Ten Principles last week. It is by far the most thoroughly researched, best written and succinctly edited book out there relating to the full customer experience. The book includes downloadable work sheets (both blank and completed examples) to accompany the theory, which allows you to work through your own CX project alongside reading. Watkinson takes a much more creative approach to CX than other authors and this gets your imagination going on how simple process design changes can open up a world of possibilities to companies. This is not just a book for CX academics, its a must buy for every business owner, director and manager with the influence to make change.
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on 24 June 2015
Good clear things I can do in my shop to increase customer experience which has helped me not only gain some great customers, but enjoy my day interacting with them too.
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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.
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on 16 March 2015
very well written and easy to read, a must have for CX projects!
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I had high expectations of this book but I was left disappointed. I'm well aware that there's an irony there but I wonder if this is another book where the reviews have been bumped up by friends.

I didn't find the principles such a big deal and the further I went into the book, the less enchanted I became. It's packed with practical tips that may make it a great read for product and service designers (although I have a worry) but less relevant to small business owners who have got 101 jobs to do and must make sure that there is a profit at the end.

My concern is that it pushes the idea that if you design it to be great for the customer, then automatically it will be great for the business. Not if it's uneconomic. The author says that you need to consider commercial issues but the spirit of the book doesn't go that way.

For all the talk about improving customer service, it's sad that we so rarely have great customer experiences. Perhaps there aren't ten principles but only one - treat people as they would like to be treated. In the end, I returned the book.

About my book reviews - I aim to be a tough reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb the key messages. 3 stars is worthwhile.

Paul Simister, business coach
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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."

Inspiring stuff.
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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.
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