Profiting from Customer Dissatisfaction

Courtesy USA Today

We have all been chasing that holy grail of customer satisfaction and moving towards net promoter scores as a metric of success.  While this is certainly a part of the puzzle we need to understand and pursue … it is only a part.

I have studied how we learn in life and thought initially that we learn through success.  Upon further study, I found that success is much less influential in our learning than failure.  The mark of great innovators is that they fail quickly … learning from what doesn’t work and using that to define what might.  They try and fail until they succeed.

If you accept this hypothesis, we should be studying customer satisfaction and net promoter scores by studying customer dissatisfaction very closely.  However, go ahead and have those conversations in your organization and you will certainly notice defensive arguments and finger pointing rather than looking into what we should learn.

Here is an example from a truly competitive industry which at first glance might sound a bit like airlines charging for luggage (which really miffs me so I and others now carry on everything).  The hotel industry has studied a small element of customer dissatisfaction and found a new revenue source.

Watch this from USA Today.

Let’s see where this one lands.  Personally, I like this idea.

Happy 30th Birthday

Gee … I thought Al Gore invented the Internet.  Today I read in USA Today that he didn’t.  Who can you trust anymore?

See for yourself, read what USA Today has to say.

I always like reading about how the first embryonic ideas driving innovation move from childhood to adulthood.  It is disturbing to some that things like pornography are behind some of the best electronic innovations.  Our desire to point to altruistic over hedonistic motives is based in part by our natural storytelling formulas: good wins over evil, the nice guy gets the girl, or pick the one you like best.

My wife Susan bought tickets to Les Miserables and of course I had to attend.  I knew the basic storyline and I tried to warn her that it ends very badly.  Spoiler alert if you have not seen it … everyone dies in the play.  I know it is deeper than that, but work with me.  You do get my point.  We all like happy endings to our stories.

Despite all the bad actors on the Internet, few would debate the overall good it has enabled.  It is an information superhighway.  It does still present huge opportunities for the future.  And, unfortunately, along with that come all those “bad guys” taking advantage of all too many.

The news media of course feeds on scaring us all with things that do go wrong.  But, let’s not lose sight of the opportunities to make the world a better place through technologies.


For those of you with a few minutes to spare, I found this TED talk on altruism very interesting:


Stakeholder Groups

I have long criticized this name for advocacy organizations because it shows their intent: hopefully gore the ox of their “adversaries” in life.  Compromise is not their intent, nor is a balanced discussion of any issue.

As proof of my point of view, take a gander at this article about “Big Oil” fighting electric vehicles.

This is an excellent article in that it points out how things start out with noble intents and are endorsed by all until someone’s ox gets gored.  We need to put down the stakes we are holding and discuss what is in the best interest of our nation and how we are going to pay for things.

Just because you make buggy whips doesn’t mean you should be against the internal combustion engine.  At the time, it was the best alternative.  Now, we are moving toward the electric motor … which by the way, was the first car power system.

Put down the stake … take a deep breath … and let’s talk this through.

A Political Blind Spot

I pointed out that water might be the next critical infrastructure concern in a recent blog, especially in the West. Water is a largely hidden resource… not many people pay attention to groundwater availability until they run out of it. So, I get the disconnect.

But, today’s USA just makes me wonder whether we are conveniently blind to what we say we care about:  Speed Limits.

I remember the energy embargoes which brought our nation to its knees, resulted in gasoline rationing, and made us all slow down on the highways with a 55 mph speed limit instead of the 65 many of us had gotten used to.

Now that we have become a net exporter of oil I guess some want to raise our consumption.

Read the news article in USA Today.

SO, are we not blind to the hypocrisy in a state the has prided itself on energy efficiency?

How can anyone seriously propose such a thing when politicians are offering green platforms for change??

The New Deal

Well, it was a bit refreshing to see the media beat up on some of the recent political nonsense about global warming.  I have covered the issues around bovine flatulence before… methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas.  Not sure whether these zealots will go after beans like the late former President Bush went after broccoli.  It is pretty funny to see the political cartoonists all weigh in.  Here is just one for your viewing pleasure:

But, seriously, we do have the public’s attention and it is high time to have a dialogue about what we can and should do to live responsibly and sensibly on this blue marble.  We must answer the long term questions that go beyond energy sources to keep the grid reliable and affordable.  But, we also must consider our water footprint alongside the energy issues.

No other fundamental resource has had an impact as big as water.  The lack of affordable water can alter civilization … we have seen that in the past.  We have critical needs now in the west.  Yet, the key questions about how we use water are not yet being considered as often as we talk about climate change.  Water availability will humble us very soon in the west … in our lifetimes, yet we continue to grow crops and worse than that we raise animals on grown grain.

Once again, take a careful look at if you share my concerns.  This has been vetted as correct by the very people being criticized.  There are no “flat earth” perspectives countering its accuracy.  But, we are meddling with people’s choice in foods.  Somehow that is not politically correct.