This was a quote from a Whole Foods employee when we conducted research at the beginning of Covid to understand how customer behavior was impacted by the pandemic.
So, what does clean look like? “Clean” might be the beautiful dispenser with hand sanitizer at the store entrance. “Clean” might be the sanitation wipe a flight attendant hands out when you enter the plane. We may never use the wipe and put it in our pocket, but we register an intention for cleanliness and care. “Seeing Clean” may not be rational, but it has become an important requirement for our experiences– even if Covid is no longer at the forefront of our minds. The need for “Clean” is even better understood when we see something obviously dirty and it repulses us. One might argue that the money coming out of this ATM is dirtier than the machine itself, and that digital payments are better than cash, yet it is hard to believe that any company today would offer this dirty ATM experience as a customer touchpoint. Customers want to see “Clean”. Listen to your customers.