I see irritating problems. Every tangible thing I use, every service I consume, I can't help but notice all the little things that could have been a bit better. And it really frustrates me when these are details that seem so very simple to fix.

For instance, when I buy a train ticket from FCC's machines at St Pancras I can't actually see the text on the card payment screen unless I squat uncomfortably, because it's low down and inset out of sight. I know it's low down so disabled/short people can use it, but at least provide a direct line of sight for the average sized person standing in front of the machine – i.e. 95% of your customers!

I recently bought a D-Link powerline networking kit on Amazon, which is a wonderful product by the way, that worked straight out of the box with zero configuration. But the Amazon page did not state that there were two ethernet cables in the box – though I suspected there might be and was explicitly looking for this information. Worse than that, it provided a handy link to buy the product along with two separately supplied ethernet cables. So I went with that (better safe than sorry) but lo and behold: two cables in the box and now I have two extras I paid for and don't need. I feel I have been poorly served by Amazon.

Often when travelling by train, announcements are made that are inaudible due to the low volume (compared to background noise) or muffled by unhelpful acoustics. But these are sometimes really very important announcements and there's precious little point making them if they can't be heard.

Whenever I visit the hairdresser they ask me what I want doing, and I struggle to articulate it, especially when it comes to the intricacies of the back of my head. Why don't they take photos and notes (in special hairdresser shorthand) so that they can sort me out consistently every time, even when it's somebody new cutting my hair. As far as I'm concerned this is a no-brainer.

There are many little disappointments just like this that I spot on a daily basis, with physical and virtual products and services and I'm increasingly wondering whether there's a way to turn this into a job: detail consultant. Available for hire by companies small and large, I would tell them what could be improved to give their customers a delightful rather than frustrating experience. It's not rocket science but apparently there's a gap for this sort of common sense supplied from an external viewpoint. Please form an orderly queue!

In fact I'm surprised that larger organisations don't have full time employee roles with exactly this mandate: roving throughout the company and in the field spotting and fixing these subtle issues. In a competitive world where bad publicity is only a Tweet away, this seems like a very good use of resources to my naive mind. If you have any pride at all in what you're doing that is.


  1. Chris Harris

    Professional Pedant?

  2. They do, they are called consultants

  3. Justine – well yes and no. Consultants are usually hired to tackle a specific thing, or at least for a specific period, rather than to be permanently looking out for and fixing details to make sure the company is always awesome.

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