A customer experience lesson in honor of Andy Rooney


Share on LinkedIn

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:

My .42 ounce bag of peanuts

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.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here