Recently I was watching a TED Talk by Rory Sutherland, however this blog is not about what Rory had to say – although I would recommend you watch it.

As part of his talk, Rory mentioned a book by Matt Wilkinson “The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experience”, however this blog is not about the book as such – although I would recommend you read it.

Enough of the recommendations, in the preface, reference is made to a strategy book by the samurai Miyamoto Musashi “The Book of Five Rings”. In this book distinction is made between a ‘strike’ and a ‘hit’. A strike, he says, is conscious and deliberate, whereas a hit is not (even if it has the desired effect of killing your opponent).

At this moment my over-active light bulb went ping.


Can this principle be applied to customer experience?

How often do companies consciously and deliberately plan to deliver a great customer experience? And how often do companies trust to luck, hoping the customer likes what they see/hear/feel?

For me planning to deliver a great customer experience can be split into two parts, understanding the customer journey and knowing what customer think.

The Customer Journey

It’s an age old adage, but ‘putting yourself in your customer’s shoes’ works. How often do you look at a customer’s journey from their perspective – or do you just process map, looking at what happens internally?

If you understand the stages that a customer goes through when they interact with your business, you are half-way to understanding what you need to do.

There’s a great resource on customer journey mapping ( – I’d highly recommend this.

Listening to your customers

The knowledge of knowing what customers think of the service delivered here and now will help to shape how you respond to their future wants/needs – but not just for individual customers, it’s for the benefit of all your customers.

Gaining this knowledge is therefore a key step in planning your service delivery; you need to listen to your customers.

What do you do with your Voice of Customer? Do you use it to highlight issues or is it simply a tick box exercise? Do companies use the resources they have to ensure they get it right, and get it right every time? Or do they simply accept whatever happens and not learn?


Planning for the future, using what your customers tell you and knowing the steps you ‘force’ them to take, can only lead to one thing – happier customers.