Design With The End In Mind

You know when you’re looking at buying a particular make of car / phone / handbag and suddenly you start seeing that make of car / phone / handbag everywhere? Well I’m having that at the moment. But instead of being about an exciting and expensive purchase, it’s about ‘certainty’. I know.

Since I wrote about the importance of certainty in people’s lives and in customer experience, I keep seeing both good and bad examples everywhere. And this week I experienced another great example – made better because somehow, despite the company doing exactly what they said they’d do, I ended up wholly dissatisfied…


I’m on the Advisory board of a start-up, Loot, who launched last week having gone from a few mockups to a working app and live product in just 99 days. I wasn’t able to join the well-earned celebrations that night, partly due to being in Leeds, and partly due to being far too old for Ollie and the team to hang out with in Shoreditch and keep their credibility, which is highly understandable. So instead I thought I’d do the next best thing and order them a load of beer to arrive the next day (not thinking that beer might be the last thing they wanted to see the next morning…)


Ordering was easy. Website? Tick. PayPal? Tick. Confirmation email? Tick.

And then, silence.

I didn’t hear anything the next day. No confirmation email saying it had been delivered, or that my order was complete, and nothing from the team either. So I emailed the company I’d ordered through and was promised an email back within an hour…

Over the next four days, I emailed, called, left messages, and even (nuclear option) tweeted. Like most of my tweets, it just disappeared into the ether without comment or reply. It wasn’t until Wednesday, when I spoke to Ollie about something different, that he mentioned they’d had a load of beer delivered without a name tag on it. And that’s where the certainty thing came rushing back into my mind.

eye focussing

The odd thing here is that the company have done exactly what they said they’d do. The ordering process was simple, and the item was delivered on time, and to the right place. But despite that, I’ll never use or recommend them again, because of the days I spent waiting to find out that they’d done what they said they’d do, waiting to get that certainty.

Too often, when companies think they’re mapping their customer journeys, they’re actually planning an inside-out process, starting when the customer logs on to their website and stopping when the product is delivered (in whatever form that might take). It’s only when you start looking at the world from the outside-in, understanding the customer’s world and all of the different possible start and end points, that you find the nuances that make the difference between a poor, average, or great customer experience.

And that’s something I am certain of.


I really hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, I’d love you to subscribe to my blog at to get new thoughts sent to you on an infrequent basis, and find me on twitter @johnJsills.

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