Discipline makes Daring possible.

I don’t know how

I don’t know how

Of course you don’t know how to capture your Customer Experience Score.   You’ve never done it before.

There are many things you’ve never done before, but if you decided you wanted to learn one of them, you would know how to go about it wouldn’t you?

You might get yourself set up with whatever kit you need and have a go.   That’s hard to sustain, because even before trying to acquire whatever skill you’re trying to master, you have to know what you don’t know.    Years ago, I thought I’d learn to play the melodeon.   I bought the wrong sort, which made it more difficult to play the tunes I wanted to learn, which in turn made it even harder to get my fingers in the right places.   I didn’t last long.

Or, you could find someone who does know, check out their track record of doing it, and ask them to teach you.   There’s nothing quite like learning by doing, accompanied by someone showing you how, explaining why it’s done this way and holding you accountable for doing it.   That’s how I learned to speak Spanish and to do Pilates, skills that have stuck with me ever since.   It’s by far the quickest way to really learn.

Of course, once you’ve acquired your new skill, the best way to carry on developing and improving it is to pass it on, and teach the others.



You might feel that writing down the Customer Experience Score for the business you founded is a bit, well, dictatorial, despotic even.

But I can tell you, having a score I can consult myself, whenever I need to is more liberating than whatever is currently locked inside your head, expressed only as “I can’t exactly explain it to you, but I know it when I see it, and right now I see you’re getting it wrong.”

Especially when you add that the first, prescriptive draft is just the beginning.  Once defined and shareable, the Customer Experience Score belongs to the business, not you.   It becomes open to critique, discussion, improvement by everyone.

A long time ago, we worked with a shop owner.   He was adamant about the way customers should be treated when they came into his shop, lavishing attention on them to make them feel welcome and supported.   Until we demonstrated that by treating one customer this way, he was actually being extremely rude and unwelcoming to whoever came in next.

Whatever it looks like, your Customer Experience Score is much better for your business outside your head.



I spent the weekend looking for a cooker hood.   I don’t like them, I’ve never had one, and I’d rather not have one now.   But I am obliged to put one in my new kitchen, so have one I must.

Finally, after hours of searching online, I find one I can live with.   It’s available all over the internet, under different brand names and SKU codes, from at least a dozen retailers, some of whom are clearly using the same database and software to present their goods.   Every one of them is the same price.   Competition here is clearly an illusion.

But what is really infuriating is that not one of those dozen retailers sells the associated carbon filter I will need to make the thing actually work.  Nor do they give the manufacturer’s model number that would enable me to find the correct filter elsewhere.

More hours of detective work follow, to track down the ‘manufacturer’ (actually just a ‘brand’) and therefore find the model number I need to find a filter that will fit.  Spares sites tend to be independent, and restrict what they ‘stock’.

Finally, I manage it, and get both things safely ordered.   All in all, it’s cost me a day and a half to buy a simple cooker hood and carbon filter online.

But what else should I expect, when this is how most companies see ‘the buying process’?


High streets are struggling, we are told.   IMHO , all they need to do is offer a truly helpful, rather than a merely ‘convenient’ service,  even if only as a front end for an internet purchase – imagine Argos with expert human beings and the best possible product database.

After all, it’s the front end that really matters.



Of course I had to share this from Seth.   A bonus post to make up for missing yesterday’s:




It’s your attention

It’s your attention

Today, I’m sharing this video from the RSA – from someone who used to work at Google:


For me, the most shocking thing in it is this:

“Steve Jobs did not let his children use the i-Pad.”

We know, marketers better than anyone, what people really want:

  • Agency – to make our own ‘me-shaped’ dent in the universe.
  • Mastery – to learn and master new skills.
  • Autonomy – to be free to choose how I make my dent.
  • Purpose – to do this for something bigger than myself, that has meaning beyond the sale.
  • Community – to do all this with ‘people like us’.
  • Status – to know where I stand in that community.

Consumerism exploits our need for these things, converting our impulses towards autonomy, agency, community and status into the purchase of unsatisfying stuff, or the squander of our attention and energies into fruitless activities.

Our purchasing power is just about the only power truly left us, but it is powerful.   If we can be more picky, more discriminate, more intentional;  reserving our attention – the only truly scarce resource right now – for what really matters, and for people delivering what really matters, we can create a world where everything flourishes.

Over to you

Over to you

This is my 473rd blog post.

Thank you for receiving them all (so far).

To celebrate I’d like to ask you something.

What would you like me to write more about?

Getting started

Getting started

How do you start building an archive and library of ordinary peoples’ diaries?   By taking in one box of diaries.

How do you start a hot-air balloon festival?  By getting two hot-air balloons together.

How do you start a sail-cargo business?  With one hold of cargo.

How do you start writing your Customer Experience Score?   By writing down one business process.

By starting.  Small.   By not worrying about what will be needed to make the big thing a success.   Most of all, by moving from “Someone really ought to do something about this.”  to “I’d better do something about this.”

Once you start, other people will join in.

Hat tip to Irving Finkel for inspiring this one.

The givens

The givens

Axioms are the foundations of ‘grammars’.  They are the givens, things we don’t have to question, that we can take for granted, that are (at least to us) self-evident.  Otherwise it would be nigh-on impossible to get anything done.  Imagine a whole orchestra having to agree what ‘C’ means before they start playing, or having to define exactly what you mean by a ‘metre’ on every page of a set of building drawings.

For a business it’s different.   Remember,  “When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws.  This is your utopia”(Derek Sivers).

That means you define your own business axioms – how many times it’s acceptable to let the phone ring before you answer it, who is most important, the boss or the customer, how much it’s legitimate to care about the environment in relation to how your busines makes money.

If the grammar of your business can be written down as what I call a Customer Experience Score, the axioms that govern what that score looks, sounds and feels like are what I call your Promise of Value.

Both are unique to your business.   Together, explicit or otherwise, they are the reason your best clients buy from you, stay loyal to you, and tell their friends about you.  Both are worth writing down.

Empathy, empathy

Empathy, empathy

My friend Julian Donnelly recommended this book to me.  I’m very glad he did.

I recommend it.   Don’t be fooled by the action-hero cover, what kept going through my head as I was reading it was ‘This is Dale Carnegie. This is all about empathy, and understanding motivation.”

If you’ve ever done a Dale Carnegie ‘Winning with Relationship Selling” course, you’ll recognise a lot in this book, but you’ll see it from a new angle.   If you haven’t yet, this is great preparation.

Software error

Software error

It turns out that yesterday’s AWOL veg box wasn’t down to a new driver, but to a problem with the navigation software.

The driver did a great job of sorting things out.   He bought a new phone, double-checked his route and corrected the mistakes.   He took responsibility and did what needed to be done to really keep us happy.

Meanwhile head office was offering refunds.

Technology is brilliant, but you need a systematic way of identifying when it’s broken, as quickly as possible.   Analogue visual indicators work well for this e.g.the address label on the box, a line marked on a bottle that used every day.

You also need a fall-back manual process for when the software breaks.   That way, things may take a little longer, but nobody is taken by surprise, and nobody is let down.   And you don’t have to compensate unnecessarily.

Do you check your phones are working every morning?  Do you have backup phones?  Do you keep an up-to-date back-up (maybe even hard copy) of your contacts?  Do you have a process for learning from mistakes and accidents?

I’d be surprised if you do.