The ‘no discussion’ software stack

Email and Calendar? Google Apps
Communication? Slack
Simple website? WordPress
Newsletter? MailChimp

You’ve made it as a company if your product becomes part of the ‘no discussion’ software stack. The software stack that nobody challenges, and everyone expects to be there. The marketing engine seems to run almost by itself for the products in the ‘no discussion’ software stack, by word of mouth and by sheer brand awareness.

How do you become part of the ‘no discussion’ software stack? You are successful if your customers are successful. The best marketing trick is: have referenceable customers.

To get to referenceable customers your product needs to stand out, and above all: deliver. Deliver on the jobs to be done. Great products don’t deliver features. Great products deliver outcomes. To deliver outcomes, you first need to understand the un-served or under-served need of your customers.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

Theodore Levitt.

Having a kick-ass product is not enough. Products in the ‘no discussion’ software stack excel at customer service and have a superior sales operation. And smart buyers don’t let themselves be distracted by a fancy feature or great online demo. They know true differentiation is in the operation. They even test your support and sales operations before selecting your product.

The good news? There is ALWAYS room for new players in the ‘no discussion’ software stack. Market dynamics change, new technologies can make existing products 10x better. Companies might trip, and products fall from grace. Or better outcomes, the real jobs to be done are found. And that is for crowded and competitive markets. There are plenty of markets still under-served. From complex markets that are highly regulated (fintech? transportation?) to markets traditionally served by governments (education? healthcare?). Or think about markets with a ‘defacto market leader’ already in power for multiple years (SFDC?). Are they still at the top of their game? There are plenty of opportunities.

The best customer experience: no human involved

It’s something I noticed especially when traveling. Whenever I think “wow that went smoothly” or the opposite “why does this always have to be such a struggle,” it boils down to “are humans involved?” — directly impacting on the overall customer experience.

Hotel check-ins are customer experience suckers #1. You make your reservation online, provide everything from your name to credit card information, and then when arriving at the hotel, you have to give the same information again. Including writing down your phone and email address on which you already received an Apple Wallet confirmation that turns out to be completely useless.

But it can be different. Take the Hertz car rental customer experience at most large airports. Make your reservation online, and when you arrive at your destination, you have e an email in your inbox with a stall number. There you find your car with the keys already in the ignition, drive to the exit, validate your credit card, and done. No queue, no waiting, no need to provide the information you already provided. And: almost no human interaction.

Hertz customer experience at kiosk.

And Hertz knows their customers love this experience. Last December they announced taking it even further: no more handing in your credit card, no: facial recognition and finger prints at the exit terminal, a quick smile and your done.

Customer experience is a hot topic in most industries, especially in the travel, tourism and hospitality branch. Is their solution removing the human worker?

Humans bring something: the personal touch, the personality. And in the end, I don’t believe it is the person to blame when you have a bad customer experience, or a check-in that seems to take forever. Most of the time it’s their system and process. And that is something technology can and should fix. We have to develop more systems and tools that enable the smooth experience and let humans be human, instead of the perceived show stopper. Not apps and tools for the sake of internal optimization, but apps and devices in the hands of people to enable them, not to be an annoyance.

Building the ’10-times-better’ bank

The financial services market is going through many changes. New challengers have appeared and are looking for a slice of the market. In addition, customers are more demanding and more informed, expecting convenience and simplicity when it comes to financial services, particularly online and via mobile devices. People love digital services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Uber because they’re easy to use and deliver great customer experiences. They deliver 10 times more convenience and better customer experiences than the status quo, and are therefore winning the market. It’s only a matter of time before the 10-times-better bank is founded, a thought that’s on the radar of every banker.

This brings us to a new report we at Backbase published last month – Omni-channel banking: The digital transformation roadmap – which outlines the journey of creating the 10-times-better bank, providing a detailed analysis of how banks can begin their digital journey.

The report is based on the Omni-Channel Banking Survey conducted by Backbase, and completed by more than a hundred C-level bankers from across the globe. The report also contains the findings from more than 15 interviews with bank executives, as well as the 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Digital Bank, written by Roberto Ferrari, general manager of CheBanca!, the No 1 digital bank in Italy. The report highlights five important takeaways:

New competitors in banking: The disrupters
Discover how and why the market is changing – how it’s driven by customers, and by tech companies, startups, and neobanks.

Customer experience: The key ingredients
Understand how customer loyalty and retention is affected by a mix of superior digital experiences and human interaction, and how delivering this mix is the primary challenge.

Omni-channel and the changing channel mix
100% of the banks in the survey results rate the creation of a seamless omni-channel experience ‘important’ to ‘extremely important’.

Mobile’s impact on online sales and share of wallet
Customer behavior is affecting the channel mix and revenue generation. The survey results reveal that mobile channels record the highest increase in revenue generation.

Regaining control in the era of digitization
To succeed in the market and beat the disrupters, banks should regain control of business strategy, and be able to build and deliver unique experiences with their customers.

Download the full report for free via