Poor Service Isn’t Always An Accident. It’s Often By Design

In markets without much competition, organisations can deliver bad service not because of poor design and management, but simply because they can. Benjamin P. Taylor shared a great thread on Twitter this week outlining the experience of attempting to get some housing support for an elderly relative. I say ‘great thread’ when I really meanContinue reading “Poor Service Isn’t Always An Accident. It’s Often By Design”

Why You Shouldn’t Ask Customers What They Want

The customer is always right.  If you involve customers –  you’ll make better decisions.  The only problem with statements like these is that they don’t seem to account for all those occasions when the customer wasn’t right. They don’t explain the fact that, despite high degrees of customer involvement and extensive market research, between 70-90%Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Ask Customers What They Want”

Four Factors Hindering Transformation

The problem with good service design is that you don’t notice it. It’s only when you experience truly bad design that you appreciate the good stuff. That’s why so few organisations are design led. They focus on designing out the bad rather than designing in the good from the beginning. Earlier this week I orderedContinue reading “Four Factors Hindering Transformation”

Is It Time To Rethink Industry Awards?

Award schemes have become a form of media. They exist to generate income for an organisation through a combination of entry fees and overpriced chicken dinners – Stephen Waddington It can sometimes feel like there is an industry awards ceremony for every night of the week. A Google search for ‘housing awards’ will get youContinue reading “Is It Time To Rethink Industry Awards?”

Rebuilding Trust Requires Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Difficult conversations, the ones which we all too often shy away from, are the very thing that help build trust in one another. For instance, if you want to spot a couple who are on the verge of splitting up, look for the ones who have stopped talking and are sitting in silence. The onesContinue reading “Rebuilding Trust Requires Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable”

How Complexity Kills Trust

Customers trust those who give them control — who put them in control — of their lives. They distrust those who try to control them. – Gerry McGovern Why do you trust the companies, organisations, and institutions you deal with? Chances are it isn’t because they have a customer charter, seek to involve you in their decision making,  orContinue reading “How Complexity Kills Trust”

Does Benchmarking Really Save Companies From Failure?

Even in the very best organisations, bad practice is waiting just around the corner. In 2014 General Motors began the recall of the Chevrolet Cobalt which would ultimately affect nearly 30 million cars worldwide. The problem was with the ignition switch which could shut off the car while it was being driven, disabling power steering, powerContinue reading “Does Benchmarking Really Save Companies From Failure?”

5 Reasons You Need To Question What Customers Are Telling You

Despite little evidence of impact, each year millions of pounds are spent on market research, focus groups, and ‘coproduction’. The danger of listening to customers is you end up focusing on wants not needs. Often what a customer wants is diametrically opposed to what they need – and want is often more of a powerfulContinue reading “5 Reasons You Need To Question What Customers Are Telling You”

The Case Against Digital Transformation

Something that’s being sold to you as more convenient may well be a lost social interaction that you’ll never get back – Ben Holliday, Convenience Isn’t Digital Last week a friend of ours told me a story about trying to get some support for his partner who was ill. He was stuck in an impasse between theContinue reading “The Case Against Digital Transformation”

Thinking Differently Is Slowing Transformation

Despite the perpetual cheerleading for innovation, most of our organisations need to be boringly effective. This week we’ve been mapping our work across 30 service objectives at Bromford – and it strikes me that most of what we do doesn’t need any bells and whistles. It just needs ruthless efficiency. Our innovation efforts really need toContinue reading “Thinking Differently Is Slowing Transformation”

Do Industry Awards Inspire or Inhibit Innovation?

This week Bromford was announced the winner of the ‘Outstanding innovation of the year’ recognising our approach to testing and developing new services. Philippa Jones, our chief executive, said: “This is fantastic recognition for so many colleagues and customers who have been at the very forefront of helping us test and shape our new approach –Continue reading “Do Industry Awards Inspire or Inhibit Innovation?”

Do We Believe In Our Own Customers? 

Yesterday I checked myself in for a Digital Detox. I left less than 90 minutes later. I’m in Sri Lanka – and my usually reliable travel research had failed me.  The resort we arrived at was truly beautiful but the rules on display froze my heart:  No mobile devices were to be used other thanContinue reading “Do We Believe In Our Own Customers? “

How Not To Involve Customers

In 1985 one of the biggest brands in the world nearly destroyed itself – by listening to what customers said. Coca-Cola developed a product dubbed “New Coke” that was slightly sweeter than the original. Almost 200,000 blind taste tests were conducted and most participants said that they favoured New Coke over both the original formulaContinue reading “How Not To Involve Customers”

Designing Out Problems Through Networks

On Monday I attempted my swiftest ever return to work after a trip. My plane from Zanzibar via Kilimanjaro and Doha landed at 6am. I was home by 8:30am, online by 9 and in work by 11.30am. I felt like The Man Who Fell To Earth. I’d had 16 days without any problems. Now – theyContinue reading “Designing Out Problems Through Networks”

Holiday in Cambodia: 13 Innovations in Pictures

In 1975 Cambodia attempted the most radical reinvention of society and community in history. This was ‘Year Zero’ – a beginning of a new era where people would return to a mythic past. Self sufficiency and collectivism were promoted, technology and creativity mistrusted. City dwellers, professionals and intellectuals returned to toil the land alongside peasants. About 1.7Continue reading “Holiday in Cambodia: 13 Innovations in Pictures”

Nine Things On Customer Experience And Innovation From Indonesia

I have a thing for travel. For me it’s as much about productivity as pleasure. I operate best in the four weeks before I go on leave and the four weeks on returning. In an ideal world I’d have a break every 10 weeks or so – but we don’t yet live in the world ofContinue reading “Nine Things On Customer Experience And Innovation From Indonesia”

Why Great Customer Experience Requires Great Design

Note to reader: This post was written on a smartphone over 14 days sitting on a beach. It was completed at an altitude of 35,000 feet after several white wines. I’ve chosen to publish it unedited to retain a tropical , stream of consciousness vibe. Subsequently it’s a bit more disjointed and a lot longerContinue reading “Why Great Customer Experience Requires Great Design”

It’s our job to give customers a story to tell, not tell it for them…

“Guinness is lovely but it will always be the same, a (delicious) black and white drink – simple and unchanging. Subway do nice sandwiches. Lego make little bricks. The work of housing associations, councils, the NHS and other government departments is about our lives: it’s dramatic, it makes a difference to the way we liveContinue reading “It’s our job to give customers a story to tell, not tell it for them…”

Lessons in Customer Experience from Apple

Apple has a clearly defined mission of creating products that are “insanely great.”   Simply stating that ambition achieves little.  It is Apple’s commitment to its values, such as integrated architecture and clean design (even on the inside of the device where no one will see it), that defines its products in the marketplace.  Continue reading “Lessons in Customer Experience from Apple”