Necessity is the mother of invention. - Plato
Sometimes constraints force an innovative new way out of the box.
On his podcast with partner-in-crime Rochelle Moulton, Jonathan Stark points out a local pastry shop (Providence, RI) that has invented a way of doing business for COVID-19 that is so much better than the old way, that he hopes they will continue the service post-pandemic.
If you want to listen to that comment in context, I’ve cued this up to that soundbite: https://overcast.fm/+LdamOY6hU/37:47
Even excluding the obvious (minimizing spread of coronavirus transmission), the change in process results in multiple benefits to the customer, relieving the customer of:
- ...longer wait times (as multiple runners can service many waiting cars much faster than cashiers serving a single long queue in the shop),
- ...having to get out of the car and walk,
- ...standing in a queue in the shop (instead can sit in car and relax while waiting, read email, etc.),
- ...having to carry a large order from the shop to their car,
- ...the temptation to buy extra stuff while waiting in the shop, and time spent processing additional charges.
I can’t be sure if this is the mentioned bakery, but it’s using the same basic idea: https://sevenstarsbakery.com/
Possibly one of the biggest benefits of implementing the new process is having a simple, clear set of instructions so customers understand their role to make fulfillment as fast as possible. Instructions on their website clearly describe what the customer needs to do:
Please Note: Orders are not complete until a credit card has been processed and you have received a confirmation email.
Driving: Please pull into the parking lot, but do not exit your vehicle, we will come to you. To help us serve customers quickly, please hold up a piece of paper with your FULL NAME written on it. We will grab your order and place it in your trunk. We will not hand it directly to you.
I suspect that LOTS of businesses are coming up with innovative new processes that are radically better than the old way, regardless of pandemic status.
Not counting WFH (...too obvious), have you seen anyone in your local market doing reinventing their business processes in interesting ways? Just curious.