sean tomlinson blog

It is with a very heavy heart that I publish this blog today. A few weeks ago, Customer Experience Specialist and CCXP, Sean Tomlinson, was kind enough to send it to me. Tragically, Sean passed away at the end of April.

I have decided to publish the blog in his memory – I know that he will have wanted me to – I hope you enjoy reading the thoughts of an incredibly passionate and inspiring man who was as driven by Customer Experience as anyone…

Sean Tomlinson

I have a confession to make. I am selfish; I am lazy; I want my cake and eat it. In short, I am a customer.

When I want stuff, I want it now. If it’s not right I’ll let everyone know , but if you get things right most of the time , I’ll be loyal. OK, no I won’t actually be loyal, I’m just too lazy to move elsewhere.

“Customer is King” and “the Customer is always right” were statements that used to be said regularly, but were poorly understood and even more poorly acted upon. Businesses have organised themselves around the needs of the management, making it easy to focus on product and sales, less so on the needs of their customers. Yes, businesses are lazy and selfish too.

And why not? They may not be the most edifying of attributes, but frankly it’s the principle that modern day capitalism is built on. As Adam Smith wrote “Every individual… neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it… he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

So I am lazy and selfish and, if not actively proud of it, I’ll continue to act in this way whatever you do. So if you have something I want and I can afford it, if it’s easier for me to get it from you than anywhere else, then I will. Simple.

And once I’ve bought it from you I’ll probably continue to do so, unless you mess things up and stop making it easy for me , or someone else comes along with a better offer. So taxi driver, stop complaining about Uber and make my life easier.

Customer journeys are great ways of standing in the shoes of customers and understanding just how hard we make it for customers to access products and services . But the clue is in the name, a journey. It implies a long and tortuous process when all I really want is the shortest possible route from desire to satisfaction. A customer trip, at most. All the literature about customer experience shows the long travel from investigation and research to online and store and contact centre finally to purchase and after sales service – because multichannel is key, right? Well, only if you didn’t get it right at first contact – why would I want to do all that. I want it now, and I don’t want any after sales service, because its exactly what I want and it works, doesn’t it?

And that’s where trust comes in. If I trust you, or your agent, it makes my journey shorter. I know where to go, because I trust you. In the good old days my trust was based on your solidity, perceived performance, brand in other words. But now, it’s based on the reviews of my peers which I receive unrequested , and really easily. It’s still brand, but refactored for mine and my friends enhanced knowledge. So please, don’t do anything to damage that trust, it can only end badly. Oh, you already did…..again

Back to that arch paragon of laziness Adam Smith for a final comment “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.” Exactly!


Sean Tomlinson1

Until recently Sean worked with an IT Services company running their Business Consulting team with a focus on operationalising strategy. He also ran the Cross Europe Customer Centric Management community bringing together the best of the company in Customer Understanding, the Customer Experience and Customer Satisfaction. Sean had branched out on his own and had developed his company CCM Change Consulting .