Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Designing A Better Customer Experience: A Lesson from Taco Bell

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photo by ferret111
I admit, I'm a Taco Bell junkie.

I visit the one near my work at least twice a week but in my defense, it's because I can get a full lunch for less than $5 and their drive-thru is pretty quick.

Having been there so many times I've come to appreciate this store's customer service and the affect it has on my overall perception of the Taco Bell brand.

Yesterday's visit was a good case-in-point of customer service done well, in the face of unexpected issues.

On this particular day the drive-thru speaker was out of commission. Rather than just post a sign (or even doing nothing at all, as I've seen many a fast-food restaurant do), this store had the shift manager outside, speaking to each customer as they got into line. He informed people of the issue, warned them that using the drive-thru would take some additional time, and what their options were (order at the window or park and order inside). Just this little bit of human interaction with clear information about what was going on put me at ease. It was clear what my options were and I was able to make an easy and quick decision.

And it was a great example of this store's desire to be proactive when a problem in their customer service design arises.

All to often I find businesses skipping great customer service just to push more orders through or to stay on top of the flow since they aren't adequately staffed. This bothers me, not only as a customer, but as a brand strategist.

When you skip customer service (or take shortcuts) you essentially tell your customers, "My bottom line is far more important than you, the one who makes my bottom line possible." This is short-sighted and reveals your lack of design thinking. And when the day is done, your brand has taken one more hit in the eyes of every customer who walked through your doors, visited your website, or called your phone line.

Every interaction with a person is a chance to make your brand shine. Don't sell your customer service short.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope you find this to be a joyful day as you spend time with family and friends.

And perhaps you might take a moment to consider the reason that many celebrate this day. And no, I don't mean American consumerism — I'm talking about Jesus Christ. (Oops, did I just say that name?)

I'd suggest John, chapter 1 for a good overview of what it means for Jesus, the Son of God, to be born on this earth. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Like This: Abstract Black and White Photograph

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I like this photo. Actually I really like this photo.

Found at greyhandgang.com

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Launch' - A Free Desktop Background

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I have a lot of ideas. And a lot of them never see the light of day. But once in a while I do put it all together: concept and execution.

This is one of those times.

The concept for this little illustration has been rattling around my brain for a while. I think the tagline pretty much explains it:
Flying is easy...
once you're off the ground.
These backgrounds are free for anyone to download for their own personal use. I hope they inspire you!

2560 x 1440
1900 x 1200
1680 x 1050
1440 x 900
1280 x 1024
1280 x 800
1024 x 768

Saturday, December 11, 2010


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It's been a busy season of life for me but even in the thick of things I've managed to keep the creativity flowing.

One of my favorite outlets for my creative brainstorms is doodling. Often my little pen and ink sketches are purely abstract, with really no meaning. I merely start drawing and see where the pen takes me.

Other times I have a specific idea in mind before I begin. But the point is always to keep it simple and small. I really like to draw small, for some reason.

Anyways, I've been kicking out quite a few of these recently and gained a little attention by posting them up on the new design social site, Dribbble.com. The Phoenix New Times culture blog even featured one of my doodles yesterday!

You can check out some of my other doodles on my flickr account, if you're so inclined.

I love doodling and I hope everyone stretches their creativity every now and again with some pen(cil) and paper. Don't worry about what comes out – these aren't going up in an art gallery! Just have fun, play around with shapes and patterns, and express yourself.

Be sure to let me know how your doodling goes. Leave a link in the comment section below – I'd love to see what you create!