Guest Blog | Jim Carroll | Your Customers Know More Than You Do

Today’s Speaker Guest blog is from Jim Carroll. Jim is one of the world’s leading futurists, trends & innovation experts, with clients that include NASA, Godiva Chocolates, the GAP, Johnson & Johnson and Dupont.  



It would be pretty difficult to have missed the news about the United Airlines situation in the last 48 hours. It’s not often that you have an airline which literally beats up a customer.

What was almost as bad as the situation was the reaction of the company. 

The CEO, issued a statement that, if it wasn’t so tone deaf, would win an award for the worst PR blunder of all time. This, from a fellow who just won a PR industry “CEO of the year award” last month!

Any company must know by now that in the era of hyper-connectivity, things can go really wrong really fast. It continues with United — 24 hours in and things appear to be getting worse. Twitter is going crazy with the situation; United had, a week prior, encouraged people to use the hashtag #UnitedJourney to report on their experience with their airline. And boy, are they ever!

(The only good news is that Pepsi is thrilled that their recent Kendall Jenner video failure has now been pushed off the front pages!)

The thing is, United should have seen this coming. The CEO should have known his response would not be enough. It’s not like they couldn’t have known. We’ve known for over 20+ years that the era of the Internet does not allow a company to make a mistake easily. It’s own missteps can magnify the mistake in a massively fast way.

I’ve been preaching this message in many of my keynotes for years. I wrote the following post way back in 2006, in a post, “Is your brand from the olden days.” I reposted it in March 2017, because it is still very relevant.

Read bullet #1. Fix things fast, because things break fast. That’s just about the essence of what this is all about.

United, and it’s CEO, failed in a big way at that point.

You shouldn’t. Study the list, learn from it, and have a contingency plan!


Does your organization have the right stuff to deal with today’s information-empowered, globally collaborative, we-know-better-than-you-do customer? Probably not!

Imagine that you are a big company. Imagine that you roll out a new piece of software that was supposed to make things better for your customers.

Imagine that it doesn’t do that — and it makes things worse, in that a feature that existed for your best customers has now disappeared. Even worsethose very same customers now have to pay a fee to do what they could previously do for free. In other words, imagine that you’ve broken a customer-system, and you are now penalizing those customers for your mistake.

Imagine this: you’ve tried to make things better, and you’ve only made them worseDoes this happen in the real world? Alarmingly, often. I’m going through this exact type of experience right now with a billion-dollar company that I deal with regularly.

Out of respect — since I think their CEO is a smart guy — I won’t name names. I will, however, offer up my advice on how to respect, not mistreat, your customers. The fact is, in this hyper-connected world, your customers know a lot more about what is going on than you do. If you fail at customer service or customer interaction, it can go public in a big way.


You don’t just need to be excellent in customer relationships – you need to be relentless excellent.

These are the fundamental truths of the new customer relationship.In today’s hyper-competitive environment, your customer relationship can be fleeting at best. They often know more about your market than your staff does. Act accordingly, or you look like a fool — and you end up losing customer loyalty.

To learn more about Jim and the insights he can bring to your organization:

Request Info on his Availability or Contact Us


Reposted with permission from