A Tale of Two Tacos
One of my favorite weekly work rituals is going out to lunch with a small group of colleagues. A regular lunch compatriot of mine lived and worked in Texas for many years and considers himself a bit of a connoisseur of Mexican food. At his recommendation we went to a new place that offered authentic street style tacos—a very simply prepared dish of tortillas with a bit of meat spooned on top—pico on the side.
When our little group arrived at the restaurant, there was a line reaching to the door (not necessarily a bad sign). But, then, we waited… and waited. Once we were finally seated, we ordered our food and then… we waited, and waited some more. After most of us had been served and eaten our lunch, one unlucky member of our group was still waiting — milling around the counter, waiting for his food.
The tacos were excellent, but I have not been back since.
The experience made me think about another Mexican restaurant that Intouch associates frequent—a very well known burrito chain. There is one near our office and, even during their busiest lunch rush, this particular location manages to prepare burritos and process sales at an impressive clip. Arguably, the food is not authentic or as good as the smaller, local place. But, just like mom-and-pop restaurant, there is a line to the door. The big difference (aside from the product) is every time I visit, I always feel like I am moving ahead and getting closer to my meal. In all the times I have been there, I have never felt frustrated or put out. And, I’m guessing, this location turns a healthy profit.
At the local, mom-and-pop taco place, it is not clear what you are supposed to do or where to go. A good part of our visit was spent trying to stay out of the way of the other patrons who were, in turn, busy trying to figure out where to go as well. It was no better behind the counter. The nice lady running the cash register and taking orders often had to leave her post to complete unfinished orders or fix orders that were a casualty of all the chaos.
To be fair, our little, local taco shop simply can’t compete financially in the same class as the well-run national chain. But they could learn from the chain’s success, and subsequently improve their customer experience and bottom line. How much better could the local taco place run if it took a little time to refine their process and reconfigure their space and user flow to make a better experience for their customers?
This is the very essence of a user experience (UX) problem. Regardless of how good your product is or how pleasing your website design is to the eye, if your users are too confused and too frustrated by the experience, they may not receive your message and may not try again.
This issue is compounded in pharma marketing due to required information that has to interrupt the user experience. It is necessary information, and we should always take the time to refine our process or reconfigure our space to ensure we are delivering the optimal user experience. At this particular time in history, we have more opportunity to reevaluate the user experience due to the evolution of technology. There are so many new platforms, like smartphones and tablets or social networks and video sharing sites, which can help us to redefine the user experience of pharma brands. It will be up to us, as marketers, to take this time or risk having our customers dreading any interaction with our products.