The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences

Over the weekend, I finished reading The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, by Matt Watkinson. It’s an invigorating and enlightening read, and if you’re interested in service design or product management, I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Matt Watkinson applies design thinking to the whole user experience. The book outlines a series of perspectives on how to make interacting with a business, product or service into a great experience for the customer. At the corporate induction for one of my former employers, the Chief Executive said that the acid test of any service should be to ask whether it would be good enough for your own mother. Matt Watkinson goes further, suggesting how to design each customer interaction to ensure customers have great experiences with a brand, service or product. He outlines ten principles that inform this process:

Great customer experiences…

    …strongly reflect the customer’s identity
    …satisfy our higher objectives
    …leave nothing to chance
    …set and then meet expectations
    …are effortless
    …are stress free
    …indulge the senses
    …are socially engaging
    …put the customer in control
    …consider the emotions

After a brief introduction that explains the importance of the customer experience, the book devotes a concise and jargon-free chapter to each of its ten principles. Each chapter begins with a one paragraph overview of its central idea. The concept is then expanded upon with a series of related points, interspersed with examples of how real businesses succeed or fail at applying it. The points are re-stated at the end of each chapter as a list of bullets. Its structure makes it effortlessly readable. The book applies the very principles it celebrates to give the customer a great experience as they use the product.

And there’s more. Matt Watkinson has produced a series of worksheets that complement the principles laid out in the book. Most chapters involve a process of thinking about the customer experience in a particular way. The worksheets set out the terms of these thought exercises, leaving the designer free to devote their energy to capturing the important details. It’s a simple, generous touch. The worksheets are available on Matt’s website, even for those who don’t own the book. In my opinion, that’s a smart move, as they’re a great advertisement for the mode of thinking that’s encapsulated in The Ten Principles…

Matt Watkinson precisely spells out the central tenets of designing to enhance the customer experience. His book is informative, concise and deliciously readable. Suitable for a total beginner, or an old head that needs to blow out the cobwebs, it gives practical steps towards how to achieve improved customer satisfaction.

Highly recommended.

You can find out more about the book at Matt’s site. There are details of chapter titles, a free sample to download, some other reviews, and lots of places to buy it, as well as the worksheets I mention above.

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