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Authors: Michael G. Barlett

What we love about this book:  this book is a practical how-to guide to avoiding and resolving many common CX mistakes. It is easy to read as every chapter has case studies, real-life relatable examples, and thought-provoking questions. Bite-sized chapters are structured to provide anecdotal evidence, a bit of theory, and a meaningful call to action. 



In this insightful book, Michael G. Bartlett introduces a pattern language to explore the dark side of customer experience. You will learn the most common dark patterns, their root causes, and how to fix them. Based on over three years of research, this book contributes completely original ideas to the Customer Experience body of knowledge.


The Takeaways: 


  • The book advocates a systemic approach to customer experience, but not only the bad experiences get fixed but also the root causes of them. It uses an Iceberg Model, derived from systems thinking, to highlight an underlying set of structures and beliefs that result in CX events. The book teaches the most common patterns that drive bad customer experiences. 

  • Bad experiences happen when customer needs are not being met, and result in goal friction and social friction. Goal friction is when a customer is unable to do something they intended to do efficiently or at all, e.g. book a hotel room, change their contact details, unsubscribe from a mailing list, etc. Social friction is when a sense of belonging or status is attached, e.g. when you are unfairly denied privileges that you’ve earned. 

  • Using a chess analogy, Michael organizes all types of bad experiences using priyomes - a typical maneuver or technique that many companies get wrong.  For example, these include Hide & Seek - making it impossible to contact a company or achieve another goal; The Memory Game - asking for a ridiculous piece of information that a customer couldn’t possibly remember; Policy Over People - going blindly by the book instead of empowering people to do what is right for the customer and many others. 

  • To resolve these common mistakes the author offers practical advice and case studies many of which focus on creating the right customer-focused culture.

This is a great resource to examine and analyze the root causes of poor customer experience, such as not designing your experiences based on customer goals and organizational limitations, not designing an employee experience to support the customer experience, and not testing your experiences with real customers, not listening to your customers and not acting on customer feedback.

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