Jonathan Bloom’s stories
In an ideal world, companies would provide products, services, and support so effortlessly that customers never need to contact them at all.

We have all been through that frustrating moment: a website or IVR asks you for a password and you have no clue what it is. You type or say a likely string of letters, numbers, and special characters, but it fails. Maybe you run around looking for the scrap of paper on which you scribbled […]

One hundred years ago, Piggly Wiggly opened its first grocery store for business and revolutionized how businesses interact with customers by providing a self-service approach.

As of 2016, self-service is 100 years old. Well, self-service is that old if you mark its origin as the moment in 1916 when Piggly Wiggly opened its doors for business. According to this article by Don Dodds in the Huffington Post, and by Piggly Wiggly’s own reckoning, the grocery chain was the first business that […]

Poor customer experience design is a microstressor like any other, so in order to alleviate customer stress, companies need to focus on creating a user-friendly experience.

You’re under a tight deadline. “Shake It Off” is stuck in your head and driving you nuts. You’re caught in a traffic jam. Psychologists often write about ‘microstressors’ like these that occur in daily life. One could add to this list a host of technology-based microstressors such as a website that doesn’t include the feature […]

Small data can bring big impact to the customer experience.

The phrase ‘Big Data’ entered the public dialogue about four years ago according to Google Trends (which, interestingly enough, is a form of Big Data). Perhaps inspired by a decade and a half of books like Freakonomics, Moneyball and the Tipping Point, companies began mining petabytes of data from the cloud to better understand and […]

Are disconnected channels and information leading to bad customer experiences?

The following is a recounting of an all-too-true customer service experience that I had last year. What began as a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting ended more like something Hieronymus Bosch refused to commit to canvas because it was too unpleasant. And, unfortunately, I am not the first – or the last – […]

Celebrating America’s technology-savvy presidents.

My family spent a fantastic day at Monticello last summer, strolling the maze of rooms and verdant gardens that President Jefferson took pains to build over the course of his later years. But, what was most striking for me about the tour was the wall-to-wall evidence of Jefferson’s technological obsessions. The man was a tinkerer […]

Why should anyone spend time on good design? Why not just spend it on “good enough” design or impressive functionality? “Good enough” might make sense given the often-discussed limits on human attention, memory, and sensory input. If people’s short-term memory can only take in roughly seven units of information at a given time, and if […]

Philippe Starck’s juicer. Steve Jobs’s iPhone. Marcel Breuer’s chair. Among the design community, these products are practically synonymous with good design. When we see them, the words “elegant,” “sleek” and “refined” come to mind. That is quite the trifecta of modifiers. What designer wouldn’t want their creations to be called that? “Elegant,” “sleek” and “refined” get […]