Hygiene – The things we need not talk about

Hygiene – The things we need not talk about

Innovation, yum!

Aren’t they fun, those innovation teams working in Design sprints? Everyone trembling with energy, new ideas fly through the room like blackbirds before sunset and there is actually something useful we end up within a short period of time. Hurray. This is the new way startups seem to be working. Refreshing ideas we can execute right away because we are not hindered by a legacy IT landscape. But if we are honest, those ideas do not always focus on the essential part of things: an excellent experience with our core services. A customer who can pay for an invoice online? And that invoice is then also immediately processed? Sounds less sexy, eh? Or opening a commercial account at that wholesaler, or bank, within ten minutes, identified and verified on the fly. Making an online appointment? Those hygiene functionalities are the basis for a great digital product. Instead of fancy flags on a mud barge.

Best practices

Watching digital-savvy businesses, we could easily make a list of best practices. Things we no longer should consider innovation, but rather necessity. Most companies would grow if they were to put all these best practices on a backlog and just implement them. In parallel, one could work on actual innovations, but only those that bring value to your customers. Design sprints can then be used to find out how to solve the problem we have found.

Ready for the future

So, what kind of best practices are we talking about? Over the years, I created a personal hygiene list that can be used to check your digital maturity. There is no need to do any design sprints for these features, they just need to be made in a way that fits your brand. Specific markets have more specific hygiene features, like online try-ons for apparel and accessories or risk and credit checks for banks and insurance companies.

Of course, some of these features are easy to put on a list, but may not be so easy to implement. Large banks for example still heavily rely on Mainframes for their core functions. To be able to move into the age of online, most created an architecture full of mirroring systems and databases that synchronize using batch processes. In such cases, there should be another discussion. Because there will be a time one can no longer keep up with the world and technology will hold you back. And that is the moment you will lose the game.

The list (well, parts of it anyway)

So take a look at a sample of my list. Can you check these boxes?

    • Your customers can purchase products directly online.
    • Customers are able to use a product within 10 minutes. That also means the following:
      • Customers are identified online
      • Customers are directly validated (e.g. creditworthiness etc)
      • Any ‘more thorough’ verification takes place afterward, after which a roll-back may take place
      • Customers are able to digitally sign / approve / negotiate
      • Digital Products are set up and activated on-the-fly
      • Cancellations are passed on to your competitor on the fly if a customer wishes to switch
    • Your customer has insight into all relevant matters:
      • Invoices
      • Product or service purchased
      • Usage
      • Personal data and settings
    • Your customers can submit changes themselves. These are implemented immediately
      • New address / personal data
      • Account Settings
      • Changes to a product
      • Cancellations
    • Your customer can pay invoices directly online. The payment is therefore processed immediately
    • Your customer chooses through which channel they want to contact them for questions. It is clear per channel how long the waiting time will be. Are available:
      • E-mail
      • Phone
      • Chat / WhatsApp
      • Twitter / Facebook
    • Your customer can get an overview, request items, make changes or make a service request on all channels and devices.
    • A request or change is immediately visible on all channels (including off-line in, for example, an office). A customer can continue a process on another channel at any time.
    • Your customer always pays the most favourable amount for the products and services. You don’t have to ask for this. When, based on the behaviour of the customer, another product or service is more suitable, the customer is proactively informed about this.
    • Your customers can actively participate online and discuss (new) products & services, make proposals or give feedback
    • Customers can see when they have been in contact (regardless of which channel), what that contact was about, and what the employee has noted about it (plus a solution that may be data for a problem).
    • Your customer is able to view the status of a request.
    • The FAQ links to your service centre and actually shows the most frequent questions based on (call centre) data. That means it changes over time.
    • If you deliver products or make agreements with your customer, it is clear to the customer when this takes place, with an accuracy of 30 minutes
    • Your customers can change times / delivery addresses themselves up to 24 hours before delivery / appointment
    • Do you deal with customers who can dispute transactions? Then this process runs completely online, including the assessment
    • Content, search, product suggestions, etc should all be personalised.
    • Can you tailor a store visit based on online data? Or at least recognise your customer?

This is about ten percent of the full list. Want to know more, do not hesitate to contact me!

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