Customer satisfaction should only be measured on a binary scale: satisfied or not satisfied. If I was king for the day I would say that when asked if satisfied, the customer could only answer:
1) Unbelievably Great, or
2) There Must Be a Better Way
Even without my coronation, I propose that this is the way customers think today but are reluctant to be so emphatic about it. We all purchase products and consume services that do less than blow our minds with quality, service, or value; let alone all three.
In some cases the government has reduced our choices (think internet access), or monopoly power has reduced competition (think computer operating systems), or strangely, we have voluntarily locked ourselves in a cage with reduced options (think frequent flier miles).
The unsatisfied / must be a better way category takes up an overwhelmingly large portion of the consumer landscape because we have made price a disproportionately large factor in product comparisons. In addition, some very expensive but unsatisfying products (think of an expensive luxury car with poor reliability) have eroded the trust between the manufacturers and their customers.
Just when you think we are doomed to fill our lives with cheap and crappy products delivered across the Pacific by the shipload, some unbelievably great products arrive to save the day. My favorites are the Tesla and the Nest. Elon Musk and Tony Fadell have delivered to us products that are indeed unbelievably great. And customers are willing to pay well above the competitors prices for them – therefore restoring my faith in us, the consumer.
These two guys and their products are great disruptors. They refused to believe that cars or home automation were places without innovation or an appreciation for good engineering and design. We all should look to their example the next time we are feeling that there must be a better way.
Google is a company that believes in a better way. Today they announced 34 new cities for their Google Fiber project. Unfortunately for me, Seattle is not on the list. I have written before that I think Google Fiber is one of the most innovative marketing ideas ever. Imagine taking a broken industry, introducing a infinitely better solution, charging a premium for it, and being viewed as the white knight for doing so. That is so awesome!