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 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 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 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 30 January 2016
I like how the author took a different angle on his book, incorporating more of a philosophical, design, and psychological perspective. He also peppers the book with some unique examples of brands that not everyone has heard of. Clearly he's done a bit of research here, and there are lots of links to the sources of his content. The reasons I give it just three stars: 1) not many quotes, imagery, or artifacts from interviews with people inside the companies mentioned (mainly it's desk research, not primary research, that's behind the content). 2) the principles are not really anything new, in the sense that other books on customer experience point to basically the same principles (just worded and grouped differently). I think in general this is a good book for people who don't really know too much about CX and want a "starter book" (there are other books out there that go much deeper into CX and principles). It's laid out nicely, written well, and shows the author to be an intelligent guy with some interesting, philosophical views on customer experience. I enjoyed reading it.
on 19 March 2013
I bought this book on the back of a workshop session in which it was described by "if you only read one book about User Experience..." etc.
Considering there are only ten principles, the book goes into considerable depth, including numerous illuminating real-life examples.
Initially, I felt slightly underwhelmed with the content since much of it seems "obvious" to the casual reader, but some time after having put it down I realised that I was thinking about my own customer / user experiences in a fundamentally different and markedly objective way. I attribute this to the fact that the principles are so well documented in a single volume and presented in such a coherent way.
In general this book is very accessible and was easy to pick up and dive into. My only slight criticism is that the structure seems a little muddled at times - I think due to the abstract nature of some principles and the tendency for multiple principles to overlap. That said, I believe that the intentionally concise style helps to mitigate this as much as possible.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a really great primer to the subject of customer experience. I think it is most certainly that, and probably more.
on 29 March 2013
I have read many books on Customer Experience. Matt's book is the one that resonates best with my experience in working with organisations to improve the customer experience.
I say that The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences is the best book, today, on Customer Experience. It is clearly written by someone who is in the trenches grappling with the subject matter. It is practical. It is well structured. It is easy to read. It is useful. It even made me laugh. And Matt has even produced worksheets that you can download from his website.
Too many writers on Customer Experience do not get people, do not get relationship, do not even get experience. Matt is different he gets people at the levels that really matter and drive customer behaviour. He conveys this understanding brilliantly in Chapters 4 and 5.
I thoroughly recommend that if you have any interest at all in Customer Experience then you put Matt's book on the top of your reading list. Incidentally, you can read it in one evening if you are minded to do so. And that is another great feature of the book: Matt has focussed on the essentials, taken out the padding that is found in too many books.
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 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!