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Customer Experience is the Last Competitive Advantage in a Mobile World

Guest Author

David Lorengo, CX Solutions Architect, Oracle

Imagine a world where personal ownership of transportation devices is obsolete. In this world, people journey from point A to point B using the most convenient service in their moment of need with just a couple of clicks from their mobile device. The consumer gets immediate gratification based on convenience, value and personalized experience. In this world, mobile services continue to upend the transportation industry, as we know it.

Different elements of this model have emerged. There’s car sharing with ZipCar and car2go. There are transportation networks such as Lyft and Uber, and bike sharing with Lime Bikes, Spin and Ofo. Soon, we will have public and private autonomous transit. Tomorrow’s consumers will see very little difference among competing services. For example, when Lyft and Uber are roughly the same price, consumers choose based on the shortest wait time and personal affinity to the brand built up through quality of their ridership experience. 

The consumer’s transition from an ownership experience to a service experience has profound implications for manufacturers. The way a service provider’s fleet buyer looks at ownership is very different from how a consumer buys a vehicle today. Manufacturers are redefining who their end customers are and what they value as their own customers evolve from consumers to service providers.

Automotive brands struggle today to build and maintain a direct relationship with consumers whose primary interaction is with the dealership. Manufacturers will address a shrinking market of people who prefer car ownership and grapple with being further removed from them by the service provider.

Mobility’s Time is Coming Soon

Traditional mobility providers (rental cars, taxi, public transit systems) also need to re-examine their value proposition and how they’ll remain relevant in a market driven by consumer experience. Uber and Lyft have changed the way consumers think about transportation because they disrupted taxi and rental car markets that weren’t focused on convenience and ubiquity. The days of waiting for a taxi, bus or train, and dealing with the rental and return processes are almost over.

For service providers, providing a great customer experience will be the ultimate advantage. As mobility transitions to a commodity, a service provider’s only means of competitive advantage will be their customer experience. 

Mobile consumers just want to get from A to B quickly, safely and hassle free. Today, the consumer has to evaluate each segment of the journey on its own, and piece together their own personalized journey across multiple providers. Tomorrow’s mobility leaders will be able to offer the entire set of services between point A and point B in total, giving the consumer a single experience for evaluating, purchasing, and consuming services across multiple providers.

The market is still very fragmented and the opportunity for market leadership is available for the provider who is able to re-think what customers value and deliver.

The service provider’s ability to master journey mapping, big data, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence will be critical to delivering this experience. 

  • Winning providers will understand the customer journey across channels and providers.
  • Apps and sensors will generate detailed data about the activity on their service. 
  • They’ll continuously and creatively combine their data with other data sources; like a consumer’s past purchase history, service performance history, real time location, weather, traffic, and service schedules.
  • Finally, providers will need to harness machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a unique, individualized journey and offer for each consumer, at the best time.

Accomplishing this presents regulatory and business model challenges. Service providers will need to develop strategic relationships with or acquire other providers.  They will need to earn the consumer’s trust to convince them to opt-in to the necessary data sharing agreements.  

We are in the early stages of a mobility market that is exploding with choices for the consumer.  The service providers who are able to deliver the best end-to-end experience will be the winners.

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