I love products and services that make my life easier, simpler and better. The things that allow the day to day, mundane tasks to get done faster and with less hassle. Saving a few minutes here or there might not seem, individually, to do much but it is the cumulative effect that gives me time back in my day to do other things that are more productive and enjoyable. The same applies to solutions that make the journey a little bit more pleasant on the way through.
Here are some of my current favourites:
• Westfield’s red/green light parking system in some of their shopping centres. Instead of driving round and round looking for a car spot you just look for a green light and head straight to the vacant spot. Love it!
• Getting the groceries home delivered.
• My ironing man. Putting my crinkled shirts in a basket at the front door and 24 hours later they reappear miraculously on hangers, crisply pressed, for the bargain price of $2 each. Magnificent!
• Getting the lawn mowed every fortnight for $20 and never seeing the guy who does it.
• The Do Not Call Register. Tele-marketers be gone!
• The (ATM-like) check-in kiosks at the airport. And the Tiger Airways $3 queue-jump option isn’t bad for us budget travellers either!
• My (occasional) overseas Virtual Assistant – when time is tight, call the Philippines!
• My torch app on my iPhone. Brilliant!
• Uber; A necessary change due to the lack of investment in air fresheners in the taxi industry.
I always get a kick out of each of these things.
On the flip-side I hate stuff that complicates my life or is unnecessary. Paying rapacious by-the-hour rates for Wi-Fi internet at hotels falls into this category. Likewise, waiting around in a ‘four hour window’ for a tradesman or technician to show up. Four hours, really?
All the stuff mentioned above is small and seemingly inconsequential but each improves your life a little bit. They reduce time, pain and don’t cost much – in some cases they cost nothing. What each gives you is more time to do other more important things and that is priceless.
Maybe the lesson for business is to be constantly picking apart the micro-details of each interaction with a customer and be constantly looking for ways to make their lives a bit easier. It’s impossible to do this from the ivory tower or the conference room, however. You have to walk in their shoes, understand their true underlying needs, aspirations AND the rhythms of their lives and then map solutions back to them. If you get it right you might just get on my next list ?…