On a Delta flight from Chicago to Minneapolis, I caught myself thinking about customer experience - Andy Rooney style.
I confess I was not a consistent follower of Andy Rooney, the rumpled but sage commentator from the CBS news show 60 Minutes. Yet when I did catch Andy, he never failed to provoke a chuckle or a question or a smile. I like that. Hoping to work until he died, Andy very nearly did, passing away on November 4.
In honor of Andy, here is my simple story:
I was handed a package of lightly salted peanuts. It's small. I note it contains .42 ounce of peanuts. I found 23 peanuts in my bag when I matched the halves to make as many whole peanuts as I could.
I wonder, what drove the decision to include .42 ounce of peanuts? Did the folks at Delta do a study that determined .42 ounce of peanuts is just the right amount to satisfy a traveler on a fairly short flight?
I don't think so. My guess is that in a past life this bag of peanuts was .5 ounce and someone said:
"Let's cut product costs by 20%."
Then viola! My .5 ounce bag of peanuts became a .42 ounce bag.
Now I know the best investments or decisions a company can make are in the things that customers value most. Conversely, investments or actions for things customers do not value - and therefore will not pay you for - are the best candidates for the trash (or the very least, the bottom of your budget or priority list). I fly Delta because they provide me with a fairly flexible way for me to get to the places I need to be as a very frequent flier. Also because since the merger with Northwest, I don't hear the flight crews openly grumble as much as they used to and that makes my flights better.
I don't fly Delta because they give me peanuts. But as I stared at my empty .42 ounce bag, I realized that if they apply the 20 percent cost reduction idea to peanuts one more time, and consider a .37 oz bag, I think Andy would agree with me that in that case, they ought not to bother with peanuts at all.
Thanks for all the great lessons, Andy Rooney.