Fixing your customer’s pain with soft innovation

Soft InnovationFor as long as I can remember ATMs in the Czech Republic have been a constant source of annoyance for anyone who uses them (setting aside the fees they charge) because the ATM’s programming was designed to optimise its use of banknotes.

Withdraw 2000 Czech Koruna (Kc), which is approximately $100/£66, and you’ll be furnished with a crisp 2000kc note. Now go and buy something for 150Kc and you’ll get a fairly understandable ‘Don’t you have anything smaller?’ and sometimes a flat refusal to take your money because it will wipe out their change float. You might ask ‘why not just withdraw 2 x 1000Kc?’ but with a fee per withdrawal why should you?

In a perfect example of soft innovation, finally this spring a couple of banks have taken notice and their ATMs have been updated (with software). Now you can choose the denominations of banknotes when you make a withdrawal. With one simple change they’ve removed a common cause of anxiety and annoyance for their customers.

What pain points can you solve for your customers?

Think about how your customers use the products and services you provide. The pain point doesn’t have to be with what you do but maybe it’s what they do with it next. The immediate things banks might look to fix with ATMs would be making sure they’re always stocked with cash, not out of service, in safe locations, not what people do with the cash once they’ve taken it out. At a travel company I work for we’ve been looking at what we can do to make our guests travels even smoother by providing useful items like US to European plug adapters and various other things in their welcome pack. The great thing about soft innovation is that it’s inexpensive to implement but can have a very significant impact on your customers’ experience.

Stand for Something


You’ve probably read about how your company should ‘bring meaning’ or ‘have a greater purpose’ but often it’s difficult to see how you relate that to your own market or product. The family-owned Bernard brewery in Humpolec Czech Republic doesn’t seem to have a problem articulating themselves in their issue-based advertising campaigns. They pick their…

Interesting times for Digital Marketers


Some weeks very little changes across the platforms we use to reach our customers and prospects. Those are what I think of as good weeks. The only certainty however is change, and this week has seen a whole heap of changes from Google and Facebook. Here’s a little about each and some links where you…

LogoSpotting: Sushi Time

Sushi Time Logo

This Prague sushi joint (though originating in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia) has one of my favourite logos of recent years. So simple (4 vector objects) yet conveying so much. The red sun from the Japanese flag, a plate, chopsticks and the hands of a clock. Perfect. Now I need to find out what came…

The truth about Android vs iOS numbers


Are Google’s Android team leaning on their Analytics colleagues to present their numbers in the best possible light?

Should I mobile optimise my website?


Google are really pushing mobile these days (no surprise as Android’s at least the third most popular mobile platform, based on the numbers across all my clients’ Google Analytics accounts, behind iPad and iPhone). So much so that they’ve teamed up with a third party to mobile-optimise your website. But do you need to? Local…

2 years with Advanced Web Ranking


Over the space of the two years I’ve been using Advanced Web Ranking it has become an essential part of my digital marketing toolset. Do rankings really matter? In this ‘new reality’ of Google Search Plus Your World, personalised and localised results, you’d think that tracking rankings for your keyword phrases wasn’t all that important. To…

Genius juxtaposition or just dumb luck?


In a commercial break on a Czech Music TV channel I saw these two ads (KFC ad is the original Czech one, Centrum ad is a similar US version). Did the cholesterol pills ad buyer just get lucky? Does the ad controller at the station have a sense of humour? I guess we’ll never know….

Keeping abreast of comments on your Facebook Page

Hyper Alerts screenshot

Ever since Facebook opened up every Facebook Page to comments (and not just from people who like the page) keeping tabs on your Page’s comments can be a tricky thing to do. There are how-to guides online that suggest you can get alerts directly from Facebook when someone posts on your Page. The interface to…

Interesting times for QR codes? Metro QR Codes

QR codes (2D barcodes) have been front of mind for me recently, partly for the wrong reasons: Malicious QR Codes, QR Codes that might unleash some malware on your phone, parroted by many outlets, including this piece by TechCrunch while EConsultancy wonders whether the link with malware could damage perceptions of QR Codes amongst consumers,…