I had sat at a table in an Italian café for no more than 20 seconds when a waiter came by to warmly welcome me and ask what I would like to have.
Great service feels wonderful – especially after having to wait for your turn in a Finnish self-service queue.
I avoid queuing whenever possible. I have managed to avoid the queues in grocery stores for 15 years already by ordering groceries from an online store. It is great that shopping only takes a total of 15 minutes: 10 minutes when placing the order and 5 minutes when packing them in cupboards.
I have often wondered why people that complain about how busy they are drive to a store (20 min), look for a parking place and walk with a shopping cart to the store (10 min), collect their shopping (30 min), queue at the cash desk (10 min), pack their shopping (10 min), return to the car and drive home (30 min). In total that makes up nearly two hours.
Personally, I enjoy when a polite customer service professional brings the groceries, nicely packed, directly to my kitchen. The selection could be a bit better, but as one with a family, I value the time I manage to save.
Whether service means face-to-face interaction or doing business online, providing it costs money. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure at the planning stage already that there are customers and demand for the services. Otherwise, no business can be created based on them, and a sufficient number of users cannot be obtained for citizen services to dismantle the old operating models and learn new ones.
As services are increasingly digitised, saving time and effort is the argument that actually makes us learn new ways to do things. For instance, to switch to an online grocery store.
At the same time, it is worth listening to us, the users of the services. More than ten years ago, I answered a survey asking for development ideas for the service of an online grocery store.
New ideas came to mind easily. I could make my daily life even easier if the courier from the grocery store also took my laundry to the cleaners, returned the books I have read to the library and empty bottles to the store when leaving. They could also take care of postal traffic.
The public administration could make my life easier and offer matters concerning me and my family as ready-made impulses, reacting to the situation in life. For instance, I could get an electronic calendar view for age-based health inspections to make an appointment at the nearest suitable clinic.
When my passport needed renewing, I would get my information prefilled on a digital application. My only task would be to upload a fresh photo of myself and press the Send button.
Ideally, I would be able to combine managing all the aspects of my life. While renewing my passport, I could, for instance, enrol for the next spring's Helsinki City Run event without a separate sign in.
For this, we need a network of trust between the public administration and private service providers, where one can handle all personal matters, payment included, without any additional authentication.
We service users have ideas that save time and effort; please ask us!
When you offer us services that make every day easier, we will be loyal users of your services in the future.
Miila Päivärinne, VP Sales and Marketing Cybercom Finland