Passengers want to be able to use a form of public transportation that is easy, convenient, and reliable. Give them what they want and you’ll turn a customer into a fan.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When people have a favorite sports team, rock band, or social figure, they are willing to spend money and take the time time to display their dedication and loyalty. This level of devotion and ‘fandom’ can be enjoyed beyond what people typically think of as garnering passion.
Beyond Rock and Roll
People are ready to shell out money if their public transportation service is great, just as someone will pay for an expensive replica jersey or top dollar for concert tickets. However, if the service people receive from a transportation company isn’t what they expect, complaints soon follow. Transportation companies are finally starting to wake up and do something about it by turning customers into fans.
The Station Experience
The characteristics that make transportation attractive to riders aren’t specific to the type of travel service. Customer service breakthroughs happen when we get smart about ease of use of the whole system from the time the person purchases a ticket to when they reach their final destination, sometimes called a “station experience.” The definition of comfort has broadened with time when people expect stations to have wi-fi, be eco-friendly and a host of other things. In order to keep customers coming back, companies must provide an experience that makes customers feel at home, even in the most public of places.
With the advent of internet, we prefer to purchase tickets online in advance and expect to get the best deal. We want personalized offers that are specific to our means of travel and tailored for that trip…fans expect some level of reward for staying engaged and consistent. It’s not always possible, as tickets sell out. At times, the website itself may not be able to take the number of transactions happening in real time and fail to scale. Besides all the frustration related with booking the ticket online, the delays and cancellations are enough to put the passengers off or make them start cheering for another team – or using a different service.
Running on Time
Switzerland takes pride in making clocks with precision. They expect the same from their rail services and the slightest delay can disillusion passengers. Because expectations and service are so high, getting to destinations on time is taken for granted as delays, cancellations, overfull trains and stations are unheard of and unimaginable. Punctuality is expected and the journey has to be more fulfilling for the passengers today than just getting from Point A to Point B.
Beside keeping the passengers “happy,” companies are now striving to turn bring customer focus into every nut and bolt of the railway. With the right solution, businesses control traffic flow, optimize train operations, and model and plan for traffic jams, equipment malfunctions, and other issues likely to cause delays, even before they happen.
Railways today are looking for ways to lower costs, grow revenues and enhance customer experience. Swiss Federal Railway, known locally as Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB) is one such company where its passengers are fans that have trust. They trust that the rail journey itself will not let them down if they have to attend an important business meeting or if they are just going out with friends and family.
For a deeper dive on how “Turning Customers Into Fans” can work in business, check out this whitepaper.