Thursday, August 28, 2008

A tale of great customer service

Last week I had a great customer service experience. So great, that I can’t help but share it with you. It happened at Lens Crafters. I walked into the store one minute before closing looking to claim a pair of frames I had put on hold, order prescription lenses and get a pair of sunglasses fixed. I expected a rushed transaction on the frames and lenses and a sorry to the sunglasses, after all I didn’t purchase them at Lens Crafters and I had already been turned away from Sunglass Hut with a “sorry, we only repair sunglasses that are sold through our stores.”

Instead, the optician was more than happy to sit patiently and explain my options for the lenses and immediately found someone to fix my sunglasses, for free. He ordered my lenses, told me they’d be ready tomorrow and asked what time I’d like to pick them up. He thanked me for my business and I left the store thinking wow, maybe great service isn’t dead.

Image credit: zone41

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Design Funnel Manifesto by Stephen Hay

Monday mornings are the jump start to our weeks. It's a great day for action plans, new ideas and bold new moves. Stephen Hay is here to help with the action plan in his new manifesto - The Design Funnel. Here's a quote to whet your appetite:

Good design is always tailored to the message one wishes to communicate. If our design is more or less a copy of what others have designed, what are we communicating?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Comcast purchases Daily Candy

Earlier this month Comcast announced its purchase of Daily Candy, a daily email service of what's hot, new and in-style. The $125 million purchase price is a testament to Daily Candy's popularity and a portfolio booster for Comcast. But do you really trust Comcast to put out an insiders' guide to the hot new things to try and buy? To me it's a misfit. I'm a Comcast customer, but only because they're the only cable provider in my area, and I certainly wouldn't turn to the company for fashion advice. True, most readers of Daily Candy will not have heard of the sale and it's unlikely there will be a shift in content. You can also make the argument that Comcast is in the content business and this is just one way for them to profit off the content they distribute. But I'm curious, of those that know about the sale, has their trust is the daily email become more subdued? To me, it's all a little less authentic.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Positive first impressions quickly turn negative

I’m starting to notice something in my own behavior toward first impressions. When they start off negative they remain negative, but when they start out positive there’s no guarantee the impression isn’t going to turn.

There’s an organization in my neighborhood that made a wonderful first impression on me, but after the (very expensive) sale, service has gone down tremendously. Paperwork is always wrong, phone calls aren’t returned in a timely manner and email is almost always ignored. It’s a syndrome that’s all too common. Companies invest a large amount of resources to win over their prospects only to disappoint them in the long run. It reminds me of an oft forgotten, but important business adage – you’ll always impress your clients by under-promising and over-delivering.

Because of my recent (bad) experience I’d like to use this post to remind myself and remind my readers that under-promising and over-delivering is the way to win the game. Doing to opposite is sure to disappoint.

Monday, August 4, 2008

How to weave a story, boloco style

My last three visits to boloco have been filled with snippets of the story the burrito chain is trying to tell me. Instead of telling me outright, they've been leaving clues and I'm finding it an interesting approach. Normally restaurants tell you what their story is on a plaque, in a brochure or on the back of a menu. There's no such thing at boloco. Instead their story has been unfolding in the actions they choose to take.

The first time I visited I noticed a sign on the door Member of Dine Green. Dine Green is a non-profit dedicated to helping restaurants become more environmentally sustainable. On my second visit I noticed that boloco only uses naturally raised chicken, beef and pork in their burritos (as noted on the menu). And the third time I visited I noticed that written on my smoothie cup was the message This cup grew up in Blair, Nebraska. It really did. It's made entirely of corn. It's 100% compostable. It will disappear no matter what you do with it.

It took me three times to fully hear the boloco story, but it was an interactive experience. I gained more from it than I would have reading a corporate statement. I'm not saying corporate statements are bad, and boloco might even benefit from being more outward with its story. But a story with no obvious action doesn't work either, and its within its actions that boloco excels.