The Art of Hassle Map Thinking

September 07, 2011

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"Let's face it: All too often, life is a succession of hassles. There's an endless array of frustrations, inconveniences, complications, disappointments, and potential disasters lurking in most of our daily experiences. Even very good products and services (we'll call them simply "products" for simplicity's sake) have their weaknesses and drawbacks. My new smartphone sometimes drops my calls; my favorite hotel chain sometimes loses my reservation; those new lightbulbs last longer but produce less light; my new hybrid car gets better mileage but the engine feels less peppy ... Managers, marketers, designers, service suppliers, and salespeople for the companies that provide these products don't focus on their weaknesses. That's understandable. They devote their lives to making products that are as good as they can possibly be and then to promoting them as enthusiastically as they can. Who wants to concentrate on the negatives? Yet we've found that organizations that excel at demand creation do exactly that. They examine the lives of customers through the lens of what we call a Hassle Map—a detailed study of the problems, large and small, that people experience whenever they use their products."

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