cx pyramid failure mta doingcxright

NYC Subway CX Kills Chivalry in the City

Brands with values inspire customers who interact with them. Nike encourages us to be brave and embrace our differences. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation urges us to be kind and care for others. Brands like this use the CX Pyramid to promote their values and deliver the reliable experiences customers want.

Image via DoingCXRight

On the flip side, brands also have the power to make customers feel ignored, and even angry. The CX Pyramid crumbles and customer-to-customer behavior, in addition to individual experiences, suffer. Case in point, the New York MTA System.

In the past year, New York City MTA riders have felt used, at best. It’s a trend that has characterized the last decade of the MTA’s brand story, and it has come to a head in recent months. The MTA Customers Count Survey tries to fix that perception. Unfortunately a VOC program (customer feedback) is only the beginning of the solution to problems that continue to grow.

Riders today pay almost two times more for the same ride they took 20 years ago. The perception, based on rider experience, is that they are getting worse service and less value for more money. In this environment, where does customer experience management come into play?

Experience Management and Expectation Management

Customer experience management is as much expectation management as it is experience management. With that in mind, take a look at how the MTA delivers (or doesn’t deliver) on customer experience management.

For riders, it feels like lack of access to reliable transportation, at a high cost, is becoming the norm. F Train stations in Queens and Brooklyn skip the same stations on weekends for more than ten years because of “renovations.” People who live in neighborhoods where the F Train is the only choice, feel under-served. This summer, half of Astoria (a trendy Queens neighborhood) was shut down for renovations. Local stops along Manhattan’s Central Park West, still under construction, were closed for the summer. Service interruptions and service suspensions are common all across the subway system.

When the CX Pyramid Breaks Down

The CX Pyramid represents the layers of delivery a brand aspires to fulfill. Those three layers include meeting needs, providing an easy experience, and making the experience enjoyable. MTA service suspensions do not meet the needs of a significant segment of riders. Crowded, unreliable trains during peak hours do not make it easy to get to work on time.

MTA cost over time
Graph via DoingCXRight; data from 6sqft

The MTA made some attempts to meet customer needs by installing rider information signs that display when the next train is arriving and how long customers need to wait. Unfortunately, when riders wait for crowded trains in the morning, their anxiety about missing the train and the length of the wait time, eliminates the perceived benefits of those expensive new signs.

Bad Customer Experience has a Ripple Effect

How does this bad customer experience influence the behavior of New York subway riders? Riders feel like they are not appreciated, like their time and needs are not respected by a brand they have no choice but to interact with on a daily basis. It’s human nature for those feelings to affect behaviors. This summer and fall, I have experienced the breakdown of common decency among riders firsthand.

The MTA has created a culture in which the experience of the rider no longer matters.  Riding the MTA has been the most disappointing experience of my pregnancy. A true New Yorker, I have been on the subway for more than 15 years. The lack of regard for me and the lack of civility towards me and my baby broke my heart. And it surprised me. It didn’t used to be like this. Riders across the system from all age groups and cultural backgrounds refused to make space for us.

Better Experiences Start at the Brand Level

So whose fault is it that chivalry is dead across New York’s public transportation system? If we take a moment to observe how the MTA treats riders, we quickly see the brand and its level of service set the tone. Thanks to unreliable service and unpredictable (though frequent) service disruptions, the customer journey during rush hour is anxiety-ridden and frustrating. If it rains or snows, all bets are off. Commuting is a nightmare.

Last, but definitely not least, if there is any misconduct on the train (like a woman shoving me while I was 7 months pregnant and carrying a suitcase) there is no one around to hear a complaint, or to help. The MTA does not stand for customer service in general. This is compounded when things go wrong and riders can’t get help.

Better Customer Experience Improves Customer-to-Customer Behavior

How can we bring civility back and improve consideration and politeness among riders? Is it/should it be the MTA’s responsibility to make civility a priority?

Since the MTA is a brand that serves the public, caring for each other should be part of the brand’s underlying values and mission. Safety, caring and service need to drive a campaign to rebrand the MTA.

cx pyramid survey mta customers count

The Customers Count Survey is a start, but it feels operational. When the operation is as complex and entrenched as the MTA, it is impossible to promise consistent punctual service and to deliver on that promise. A smart, strong brand can improve service, while developing a brand identity with civil characteristics that inspires riders to be there for each other and be kind to those in need.

Instead of a massive communications campaign to extol the MTA’s crowning achievement of opening the 2nd Avenue Line after decades of construction delays and red tape, the MTA should use ad space on trains to remind riders of the meaning of the word CARE. At the brand level, they need to educate riders about the small, but deep expressions of caring they can show each other. Reminders to get up for a pregnant woman, to make space for others by taking off a backpack, or to use headphones, can improve the culture of the MTA and improve rider experience in real ways.

The MTA carries 1.7 billion people per year. With such a place in the world, it is time for the brand to take a social stand to protect those in need. As a seasoned New Yorker, I should not be afraid to ride the train because of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is how I feel today. I am not alone in feeling abandoned, ignored, underappreciated and overcharged.

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Celebrate National CX Day

Did you know that tomorrow is National CX Day? Some of you may not even know what “CX” means or why there is a day for it. CX stands for “Customer Experience” and it has become an essential part of company strategies to win in the marketplace.

Like any Hallmark holiday, it is an excuse to celebrate but more importantly, it serves as a day to raise awareness of something important that impacts ALL brands.  Every employee, from frontline to back office, impacts customer experiences and their overall perception of the company. For this reason, it is a great day to recognize employees who demonstrate a commitment to servicing customers as well as let customers know how much you appreciate them. It is all part of creating a CX culture!

How brands can celebrate National CX Day (or make it a CX month)

  1. Leaders can send thank you notes to acknowledge employees who focus on DoingCXRight. Formally recognize those that go above and beyond to deliver great customer experiences.
  2. Throw a party and make it all about customers. Read their surveys out loud and celebrate the good ratings; collectively problem solve for lower scores. Do not let location be a reason not to celebrate. While in person is ideal, virtual meetings can be equally effective especially when leveraging video cameras.
  3. Partner with Marketing/ PR departments to raise awareness and commitment to CX. Leverage internal (i.e. company intranet) and external channels (i.e. social media) highlighting examples of how customers are valued by your brand. Use hashtags that your employees and customers could follow and reuse on social media channels to share stories with a larger audience.
  4. Encourage networking. Create opportunities for people to come together and share ways they contribute to the customer experience.
  5. Provide professional development to enable employees to increase their CX knowledge and apply best practices in their daily job. Take advantage of formal certification programs, attend events, such as RU-Disrupt, and online events offered by CXPA.

We are interested in hearing how your company celebrates on National CX Day as well as every day. Share your comments below or on social media. Your stories matter and can benefit others who are learning about DoingCXRight. You can also contact us if you are looking for support and mentorship. We are here to help!

 

How To Be Customer Centric. Not Just Say It. Learn about CX From Two Professionals

How To Walk The CX Talk

According to Forrester, “84% of companies aspire to be customer experience leaders, but only 1 out of 5 deliver good or great CX.” Having worked in the field and studied Customer Experience topics for many years, I understand why and have some solutions to be truly customer-centric and not just say it. Continue Reading →

#CXTHUS Exchange Insights – winners and losers?

Attending conferences is a significant investment of both time and money. Even if you are speaker at the conference, like I was last week, the time away from your non-stop email flow can bring more stress than pleasure to your days. Once we reach a certain level of responsibilities, learning becomes a luxury. The key for all of us is not to let those other demands on our time stop us: there is no professional growth without learning from the successes and failures of our peers. Events like the CX Exchange Travel & Hospitality Conference make us more aware of what is going on in our industry and adjacent industries. They help us to better shift our own organizations ahead of our time.

So what did I learn from my peers at the conference?

A good expansion strategy may or may not work

TripAdvisor, the travel website that “enables travelers to unleash the full potential of every trip” reached 60% of all people who booked their travel online in the second half of 2017. TripAdvisor had a great strategy in mind – allow users to complete purchase without going to the hotel websites. Unfortunately, that strategy did not work. We are talking about this conference takeaway first, because we often overshare successes and do not talk enough about business failures. We can learn even more from our peers’ unsuccessful programs.

Conference speaker, Matthew Mamet, did not delve into exactly what went wrong at TripAdvisor, other than to explain that the hotels did not make it worthwhile to keep on TripAdvisor. You can imagine how long it took to build and launch this e-commerce experience on the travel site. Did somebody put the wrong assumptions in the financial model or did the contract with the hotels lack the proper incentives for commission? Regardless of the reason, sometimes things don’t work as planned. The best thing to do is move on and pivot as fast as possible. That is exactly what TripAdvisor is doing right now. An estimated 1 in 11 worldwide users visited TripAdvisor last July. I would not worry too much about the company. I am sure they will find another way to monetize such a powerful position.

Uber really gets it. All of it.

When Uber achieved 20% growth per month for 43 consecutive months, the company had to start from scratch with all of their processes and procedures. The innovator did not simply scale what it had (something many brands do). Instead, Uber used new technologies to reinvent itself. Uber uses machine learning to flag voice and text messages that over-index on negative sentiment, so they can pay attention to those messages and respond to them faster (read more about how Uber does this). The rideshare company uses the same technology to intercept customer care cases that are forwarded among many agents and do not fit a particular category (the ping-pong effect). Those cases are re-routed to a specialized team to handle. The AI technology also allows Uber to find a needle in a hay stack – the extreme cases in which something really bad happens to the customer. The algorithm looks for specific words early in the customer support message. When those words are there, the complaint is sent to a special care team.

COTA is the Uber in-house platform for digital agent assist that already has saved the company 9.5% – 10% of costs. Uber also does something very few brands do well. The company has a living document, a playbook. When they do something, they actually document it so other sites can replicate it. Not earth shattering in concept, but none of us does it! An important takeaway for Uber (and many of us) is that the saying about self-service – “build it and they will come” – is not working. Much more needs to be done in order to increase adoption of self-service. Many people underestimate the amount of effort and design required AFTER you launch something. Last, but definitely not least, Uber has already realized that the human agent of the future will have a completely new profile. He/she will have new skills, will come from different backgrounds and geographies, and will be paid much more. Uber’s estimate goes as high as 20% – 40% more pay. How do you fund that? With the savings from the digital agents that will be solving basic customer problems.

MGM Rocks

Before you read any further, watch MGM’s Welcome to the #SHOW ad – and pump up the sound. You will not be bored. I promise.

After the 2008 financial crisis, MGM had to find a new identity for the organization. “Welcome to the Show” is a story about the integration of 27 independent brands and the rebuilding of a company culture on the core belief that entertainment is a fundamental human need. To achieve that, MGM incentivized their executive leadership (through bonus and compensation) to travel around the world and become employee trainers on new service level standards. They made the MGM employees heroes and gave them a stage where to run their own shows. The brand is a year into this transformation so it is hard to prove results. One thing is certain though – MGM still strong and employee engagement scores are up. One lesson from MGM – stay longer at the local level when you think you are done, to ensure sustainability and reinforcement of standards. This is probably the hardest part of any hospitality program, especially with 27 resort destinations and 15 brands.

Hertz will not be in business by 2025

This may sound like an extreme prediction, but it is fairly obvious. One of the items covered at the conference was the need “to operationalize their loyalty program in the field.” What does that say to you? To me it says, our loyalty program is not working. The speaker talked about the realization that Hertz is not in the transportation business, but in the customer service industry. The conversation then became more about Hertz’s “concierge” program making “wow” experiences. I hope they have many loyalty members since it seems all efforts are channeled to those customers only.

The most alarming part was the Q&A during which the speaker said that the rideshare industry is NOT a threat to Hertz’s business. This is a classic case of not seeing the red flags as Allen Adamson writes in his great book Shift Ahead. Unless Hertz learns the importance of recognizing and acting fast on new business trends and shifts ahead soon, it will not exist in ten years.

Lessons from the CX Exchange Travel & Hospitality Conference abound. We are all returning to our offices ready to put into action what we have learned from the successes and failures of our CX colleagues.

The recording of my speaking engagement at the CX Exchange Travel & Hospitality Conference will be available for our readers on our Speaking Page in two weeks. Last, but not least, my favorite quote of the conference: “Do not confuse activity with results.”

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Your Culture Is Your Brand

How To Infuse CX Into Company Culture​

What is company culture, why is it important and how does customer experience play a role? According to Webster, it is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” Culture is very important because it Continue reading “How To Infuse CX Into Company Culture​”

TpysRUs bankruptcy why

Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues

The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of your private equity investors. Amazon has its best ever holiday season and digital commerce is becoming the way customers purchase consumer goods more and more. You also have read about the epic miss of Kodak to move to digital photography. Last but not least, you have observed other retailers invest in their websites and build e-commerce customer experiences in an effort to avoid a “Kodak moment.” What do you do?

Nothing new, is the answer, and bankruptcy is the outcome that we are all reading about this week.

Sometimes, the ROI of the CX business case is survival. Literally. If Toys ‘R’ Us had listened to its customers and had build a digital experience on their website, the historic brand of our childhood would have become part of the childhood of our children. It is not easy for a brick and mortar business to reinvent itself into a digital business. It is not impossible. To survive, companies must evolve with their customers or die. The survival of the fittest in full effect on the business landscape, especially in retail.

Every organization has capital funds to invest in big bets (or not). Disruptive technologies today are redefining our way of life and the way that we consume goods and services. Big brands today need to ensure their boards and executive teams are made of bold, visionary leaders who are not afraid to recognize the future when the future is coming their way, and to invest in righting their ship on time. The leaders of Toys ‘R” Us were not aggressive enough until the end. This navigated the brand into oblivion.

Another 2016 scenario for Toys ‘R’ Us could have been to focus its remaining funding into a digital transformation, to build an interactive website and a user friendly app. The stores could have become places for customers to interact with the toys and order them on apps on their own devices, or on iPads in the store.

Toys ‘R’ Us could have built an interactive loyalty program following the growth cycle of the children who received toys from their stores. I have a Toys ‘R’ Us loyalty card and for the last 5 years I have not received a single communication from the brand about its loyalty program. No coupons, benefits or programming of any sort.

I do not know what Toys ‘R’ Us has invested in, in the past 5 years. One thing is evident. The brand did not have an aggressive digital strategy and vision to stay relevant in today’s world. A better management team would have never let this happen…while they were buying their new smart phones with more and more apps and digital products on them every year.

 

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Brand Image ROI

Two weeks ago we discussed the power of employee engagement for your brand and the true meaning and ROI of a working corporate culture. Today we will examine the business case of the engaged customer, the powerful brand image and the brand loyalty it generates – loyalty that drives repeat purchases, higher revenues and more engaged customers.
 
An engaged customer requires the investment of the ongoing conversation. The “conversation” dollars go to social media campaigns, closed-loop systems for customer feedback, and a responsive loyalty customer service, among other customer experience levers.
 
Invest in people as much as product
 
Two weeks ago, I received a complaint from a JetBlue customer. In order to keep the conversation going with this customer, I had to relay the information to the teams that were accountable for his experience and get back to him with a comprehensive and empathetic feedback about his experience. CX professionals call this close loop, but close loop is a policy. My taking the effort to connect with people across the organization and CARING to get answers is employee engagement on my part, and that is generated by our corporate culture.
 
This culture is what maintains customer engagement and, which, as a result will create an ancillary purchase in the future. Often, people and service are more important than the product of an organization.  People and service build an organization’s brand image when customers interact with the brand. Customer experience relies more on human interactions with the brand than on the technology that enables those interactions.
 
Empathy and Innovation
 
Magazine Luiza is another great example of impacting ancillary sales and seeing a 35% ROI as a result of deliberate investment in empathy and innovation.  The Brazilian virtual store offers products on credit to the under-served customers in rural areas. Customers can see pictures of their desired products then go home and wait for the delivery in the next 48 hours.
 
To achieve loyalty and repeat business, Magazine Luiza also functions as community centers that offer free internet, literacy, cooking and basic banking classes. This investment contributed to the build out of a strong emotional connection between the brand and its audience, transforming Magazine Luiza into a powerful lifestyle brand to its customers. Even customers apprehensive of taking credit visit a place where a friendly face walks them through the experience of borrowing money while their child learns how to write for free.
 
The brand image of growth and development that come from the education components Magazine Luiza provides is, in a way, transferred to the “product” of buying on credit.  Once customers are empowered to buy on credit initially, they return to buy more things because each of those purchases makes them feel economically empowered.
 
Engaged customers are the blood of every business
 
Without engaged customers, business cannot grow. They provide the steady cashflow and the free cashflow that allow a business to invest in products and customer acquisition. The ROI of engaged customers lies in the growth of the organization and the incremental revenue that ensues. Depending on the growth stage of a particular organization, that ROI also can mean an organization’s survival.
*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.
the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

How Do You Know You Are Making The Right Big Bet?

In the last post for JetBlue’s Into the Blue blog series on customer experience lessons learned in 2017, Liliana Petrova and her guests explore different ways to envision the future so you can build it effectively.

“Don’t tie it to technology, tie it to an aspiration.” is the advice of Allegra Burnette, former Forrester consultant.

Liliana’s and JetBlue’s leap into the unknown is using micro-innovation and empathy to create consistent memorable experiences for the customer at every possible interaction while keeping in mind their true North Star.

Read more and watch the video.

 

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Culture Is King – The Power Of Employee Engagement

In 2017 we introduced our ROI series recognizing the challenges all customer experience professionals have to obtain funding for CX initiatives and to prove their positive returns. Our second ROI post covered how a well built customer experience can increase revenue and customer growth of your organization. Today we will walk you through the positive impact customer experience has on employee engagement.
 
Great Culture is the Enabler of Great Service
 
Excellent corporate culture creates engaged employees who are proud of their company and make it a personal mission to deliver great experiences. Engaged employees love the brand they work for so much that they will go above and beyond to “convince” their customers to feel the same way. Actions like this transform employees from brand ambassadors to brand builders. When leadership takes the time to build and maintain an engaged workforce the impact is significant, and profitable.
 
Yet, if culture is of such high value to organizations, why do so few succeed in creating this kind of customer experience advantage for their organizations? Because it is hard, and expensive.
 
Let’s say your cultural values have FUN in them. How do people live that value at work? They celebrate holidays with social events, they go on interesting off-sites, they  have fun contests in the operation, etc. Each of these cultural artifacts of the fun value costs money. Most leaders will say they believe in the fun value; very few will approve the expenses for the discreet activities that maintain that value.  When companies grow, all those activities include the added expenses of travel in order to connect employee teams.
 
Culture is Not an HR Function
 
Culture cannot be achieved with all-hands meetings twice a year and a daily corporate communications email. Culture is a business strategy, a guiding principle that informs how product and service decisions are made. If, for instance, CARING is part of your corporate culture, there are several business decisions and practices you need to invest in to express that care (internal funds for supporting fellow employees during hurricanes, sponsor travel so senior leaders can visit front line employees to better understand their day-to-day challenges, willingness to walk away from a product enhancement that will benefit the customer but also make your front life processes more complex and hard to maintain).  Caring costs money. Real money. Caring is even more expensive than FUN.
 
Caring can save an organization. If you have a product that is not the market leader in terms of quality and you marry it with an engaged workforce that delivers exceptional service, you actually have a shot at keeping your position as the market leader. If you don’t, there is not much going on to motivate your customers return.
 
How Do You Quantify the ROI?
 
It is fair to say that all the people who returned to you after an exceptional service experience would not have done so without having received that exceptional service. Quantify the lifetime value of those customers, and that is how you calculate your customer experience ROI.
 
Culture is a Critical Corporate Mindset
 
People are hired for culture in the true sense of that expression. If transparent leadership and instilling employee trust are values for leaders, then the pay scales of the organization should not be locked for only selected people to see. Transparency is a big word that is often repeated, but transparency is rarely backed by actions like this.
 
If transparency is on a corporation’s values list, then that corporation’s leaders must be ready to be vulnerable and to be challenged by their employees. With the right mindset, this is not a difficult value to live. Being authentic and “walking the talk” can inspire more than any other corporate action can. Transparency and vulnerability is a challenging mindset for leaders, but it gets easier to practice over time, and it is worth the investment.
 
Generally speaking, employees want to (prefer to) respect their leaders. We all need hope, we need someone to look up to, something to keep us moving forward. Employees are much more forgiving and patient with their leaders than we think, so apply a brave mindset to lead wholeheartedly. Be seen and be prepared to have an organization follow you no matter where you lead through the culture you create and the actions that support it.
 
Successful brands have strong corporate cultures that drive their employees to consistently deliver memorable experiences. Culture is the most difficult ROI to prove. It is impossible to replicate, so it can be a competitive advantage. It can also be a deterrent to hostile takeovers and mergers. Having the freedom to grow organically while creating value for customers is the greatest return on investment any business can dream of. In that sense, the ROI of culture is the highest we will ever see.
*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.
the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

Keep The Customer In Focus For 2018

In her latest post for JetBlue’s Into the Blue blog series on customer experience lessons learned in 2017, our own Liliana Petrova explores how to combine innovation and knowledge of human behavior to keep the customer in focus at the same time CX professionals are developing new strategies.

Read more and watch the video.

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

What Did We Learn About CX In 2017?

In Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on CX lessons learned and best practices for the new year on JetBlue, she explores the importance of “keeping the human touch” when implementing CX innovation tools.

Head over to Into the Blue, the JetBlue blog, to learn how to keep the human touch, and create better human connections.

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

What Will CX Look Like in 2018?

The JetBlue blog features Liliana Petrova in a new four-part series on Customer Experience that collects the 2017 customer experience lessons learned and charts the course for customer experience that delivers technology solutions in new and innovative ways in 2018.

Read Part 1 of the series and join us for more, over the next four weeks as we prepare for the new year.

Image courtesy of JetBlue

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Liliana Petrova

From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience

Argyle Journal recently interviewed customer experience professional (and Doing CX Right writer) Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports.

Liliana brings out a point that is integral to all technology-based customer experience solutions, namely that “[w]e want to create something that feels like magic, without breaking any foundational rules.”

Of that magic and the quest to create it as part of customer experience, Liliana explains, “[i]f there is a way to create a seamless and invisible experience, we want to find a way to get there.”

Read more about how she and her team are working to do so.

Play the audio below to hear Liliana speak about the magical customer experience.

 

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

CX Bold Moves: Uber Bets On Self-Driving Cars With Big Volvo Purchase

For anyone brave enough to imagine the future it is clear that autonomous vehicles are coming and that the flying cars taxi chase of The Fifth Element will be a reality soon after. The question that remains unanswered is who will be part of the future of transportation. More and more players are claiming a stake in the multibillion market place, but like any innovation the odds of winning are 50%/50% until the industry gets mature enough for us to even see what it will be. So who are you betting on? Uber? Lyft? Yourself?

The Uber bet

Uber is going for the vertical integration – the whole pie. The future industry of urban transportation will be made of players in three different categories: cars, self-driving software, and ride-sharing network. With the #UberVolvo deal Uber made a stake in the cars part of the equation. They already have the ride sharing network and the in house research and development of self-driving software. Every company struggles with the right balance of internal development vs. partnerships. There are pros and cons of either approach. The factors in the final decision are costs of maintaining the technology (capital vs. operating), level of customization available (much harder when the technology is built by a partner) and speed to market (depending on the staffing level of the internal teams the speed can be faster or slower if the R&D is internally driven). Uber is betting on taking all the risk and owning all parts of the autonomous vehicle ecosystem.

The Lyft bet

In contrast, Lyft approaches the future through partnerships. Their vision improving lives with the world’s best transportation inspires the creation of cities for people, not cars. In the last two years they have formed multiple partnerships with various small and big players in the new tech space. The choice of partners: Waymo, nuTonomy, Drive.ai (self-driving software) and the large direct investment by GM (cars), proves that Lyft plans to be an integral part of the autonomous vehicle solution (ride-sharing network), but not the whole technology stack. Their strategy is much more tactical in nature. Lyft does not need to build the whole future of urban transportation. It suffices to be the bolt without which the system will not function. The success of this approach is founded on successful partnerships and is collaborative in nature.

The George Hotz belt

And if you still want to own a car in the future, the self-driving platform Openpilot and the Neo device may be the way to go. The Neo will transform your Honda or Acura into an autonomous vehicle that you can control with Openpilot. George Hotz’s company Comma.ai has activated users to share driving data to perfect the self-driving algorithms for the future by learning from drivers today. In his opinion “Self-driving cars need nothing but engineers in order to solve it.”

The approach to autonomous vehicles of Lyft is more congruent with the sharing nature of the future economy. Sharing is rooted in partnering and collaborating with others. The future generations are less likely to associate themselves with a conglomerate that monopolized the market space. It looks like Lyft, although a smaller player, does have the more sustainable strategy to autonomous vehicles. Then again, we are missing a big piece of the puzzle. We really do not know how the government will play in this space and if it will come up with regulatory obstacles that require a lot of funding to overcome. Smart brands put equal time and energy in building partnerships with the government agencies. So far Uber is behind on that front too. Both Uber and Lyft are making bold moves in the autonomous vehicles space. The question is, who has the winning strategy?

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

 

self-boarding with facial recognition at a JetBlue gate.

CX Bold Moves: JetBlue Paperless And Deviceless Boarding

This year JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who disrupt industries and not only imagine the future, but also build it. With our award winning facial recognition boarding technology we were able to provide a preview to our customers of what traveling will be in the future. The fact that JetBlue’s facial recognition trial was named as one of the 100 greatest innovations of 2017 by Popular Science was one of the many signs we received about the excitement of the public about innovation in the airline space. JetBlue realized that our customers are not only ready, but also eager to step into a world of  new experiences that are personal, helpful, and simple.

So why is it so hard to eliminate the friction points on the travel journey and enable repeatable, intuitive, and empathetic experiences when we fly?

Variability is almost impossible to manage

In the book “Uncommon Service” Frances Frei and Anne Morriss lay a whole customer management process for successful brands. They present several examples of Progressive Insurance and Shouldice Hospital where through different processes these organizations are able to select the right customers for the experiences they have built. Airlines cannot do that. We cannot choose who we fly. Since the industry is driven by small margins, every customer flown counts. JetBlue’s mission bring humanity back in the air travel is driving us to welcome on board anybody who would like to fly us. And we consistently design all our product and experiences with that in mind!

Integrated experiences are based on integrated technologies

The future of flying is here only if we are able to integrate virtual reality and other technologies in a meaningful way that adds value. In JetBlue we are collaborating with JetBlue Technology Ventures and Strivr to test VR for training of our maintenance crewmembers.  The technology is more advanced in helping with decision making and not necessarily recreating the feeling of loading bags under the plane. For those immersive experiences the integration, build and scaling of the experiences is much more complex. Integrated and intuitive experiences are not hard to imagine, they are very complex to create and personalize.

Somebody has to pay for it

The moment we begin scaling and implementing customer journeys that use technologies of the future, we have to build the business case and its ROI. CFOs see customer experience design projects as process effectiveness work that increases output of existing infrastructure. Customer experience is much more than that of course, but knowing your audience is half the battle. Regardless if you agree with finance or no, you need the funding they hold. If you list the funding and maintenance requirements for a VR or a biometric solution very quickly you will see that to extract value from future technologies, you also need other future technologies to be cheaper. We all depend on a faster network (5G, 8G, 10G?) and even cheaper storage (cloud that is free to maintain and does not hit your operating expense every year?). Until that happens we probably will trial more and scale less.

We all share the excitement for the possibilities that new technologies like facial recognition and VR bring to us today. Some of us even venture to realize and share those possibilities with our customers. Customers have the power to add and co-design their experiences, which is really exciting too. In JetBlue we  used facial recognition boarding  to lead the industry. Our innovation was embraced by our customers and that is why we all won at the end!

# biometrics #facial recognition #VR #disruption # customer experience # game changer #NY Times #JetBlue

 

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.