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 ordered … Continue 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 you … Continue 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 ones … Continue 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,  or … Continue 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, power … Continue 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 powerful … Continue 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 the … Continue 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 to … Continue 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?

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 formula … Continue 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 – they … Continue 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 1.7 … Continue 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 of … Continue 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 longer … Continue 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 live … Continue 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

Digital by Design: Making the connected organisation more human


I must get at least four or five emails every day offering me help becoming digital by default. Every single one gets deleted. Not because I don’t need help , but because they talk of cost savings and efficiency rather than beautifully intuitive service design or of creating a rewarding customer experience. Don’t believe me? … Continue reading Digital by Design: Making the connected organisation more human