The Taco: Epitomizing Mexican CX

It Begins With the Taco: Epitomizing Mexican CX

Who doesn’t love tacos? This generalization has become even more accurate since UNESCO’s declaration of Mexican cuisine on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. The main dishes at its core?  Corn, chile and beans.

True Mexican cuisine, in its tangible form, is made up of fresh ingredients and seasoning. Yet combined with its social, cultural, and familial contexts, it’s a very different experience compared with any other dishes from around the globe. Think about it: Mexicans have a real strong bond with their food. It is a way of living, as well as a very essential part of everyday socialization rituals with friends and family. When abroad, it is one of the first things we miss — and to say we miss it more than our family is an understatement. And tacos? Tacos rank first. Nobody loves tacos more than us Mexicans.

And no, Taco Bell does not suffice — just as Chipotle, which parades itself as a caricature of not only our cuisine, but our customer experience. Want to talk about a real experience? Think of the smell of grilled onion; a black corn tortilla, freshly made and getting ready at a comal or a grill. You can feel it as the heat rises, the temperature preparing itself for the slow-roasted spiced pork. Do you prefer seafood? Think of the shrimp mingling alongside the onions and peppers. If you are a vegetarian, imagine mushrooms and spinach being cooked with garlic and a bit of butter. And now, the salsas: tomatoes, jalapeños, or chipotles, and a dash of salt to give some flavor. They’re then mashed and seasoned with a bit of artisanal beer to make salsa borracha. Spicy or not spicy? Mild? Guacamole? Customers get to customize their order as much or as little as they want.

While you enjoy your taco, sometimes you get to listen to some live music: a traditional trio may serenade you tableside, or a hip marimba duo will perform their take on an indie rock anthem. Your waiter? He will be going back and forth to bring you your order exactly how you asked for it, then will be back some more to ask you if you need more tacos to go with your tacos. They will go the extra mile for your satisfaction. But taco stands or venues won’t let you leave just like that — after all, they care for your well-being and your breath, so here, have some candy or mints to freshen your mouth.

I can keep going on and on about the many ingredients and experiences you can have eating tacos — we will call it ‘the taco experience.’ For Mexicans, there is no dish in the world that can be compared. It is both versatile and delicious, and serves as a multipurpose dish for every occasion, be it breakfast or a late-night holy grail.

The most important lesson this type of food leaves us is the power of personalization. No matter what the taco holds within, where you’re eating it, or when: it all begins with the senses. First, we have smell. It is the first thing a customer identifies with the dish. Then, how does your place look? Is it clean? How is it decorated? How are the tables and the toppings arranged? It’ll be a mistake to underestimate the importance of setting, because it should be adjusted for different occasions. Tacos are designed to be modular, a multipurpose flexible product system that adapts to the different regions, preferences, and socioeconomic levels in a very complex country. The same goes for the street vendor or the established venue with great interior design.

Personalization is key for these types of experiences. Though lacking the allowance of time and furthered service, vendors and food trucks have the advantage of having as many options as there are clients. Customers want the menu options to cater to their tastes. Getting the exact flavor you want increases the likelihood of a repeat visit.

Customization will upscale any product or service. Customers will be willing to pay extra for an experience that will be unique to their tastes — as small as the option of spicy or non-spicy salsa. No matter the product or service, sensory elements that help customize or personalize engage customers in ways that highlight the value your offering. A great customer experience is essential for every business, and the most successful way to achieve this is allowing your consumers to carefully select their preferences and choices. It is the best way to engage and extend the life of your service or product.

Everyone wants their tacos their way. If you don’t give them what they want, someone else will. It is all about anticipating the different ways your customers will live out the experience of your product or service — be it a delicious taco or any other consumer product.

This article appeared in The Human Experience Issue. To read the full magazine, subscribe here.

the author

Michael Novak

Michael Garcia Novak is Partner and CEO, Idea Couture Latin America. Entrepreneur, innovator and creator of high-impact projects. He has made important contributions through CEDIM (Centro de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey), a school established as a pillar of design and innovation in Mexico, in which he has been CEO for the last 10 years.

See Michael’s full bio here