A taxi company that thinks of itself as a tech company and is a great example of the experience economy and how to take a commoditised industry and create value. Bank's can learn a lot from the folks at Uber and here are just 10 ways how...
Uber: The Apple of Taxis
LimosCouple of weeks back I was introduced to a service called Uber. A limoservice (they insist they are not a Taxi Company, more later) with a bigdifference - they actually are a tech company that has embraced theexperience economy and is changing the way you think about cabs.Founded by serial entrepreneurs Travis Kalanik and Garret Camp(StumbleUpon) they have raised over USD 32 Mn in Series B fundingfrom Jeff Bezos, Menlo Ventures & Goldman Sachs in just 18 months ofoperations and scaled to over 25 cities globally including Paris wherethey got the idea to create the service which launched in 2009 in SFO.But what is truly impressive is how they have overcome regulation andtaken an industry that was commoditized and static by storm. Theyredefined its value curve and challenged convention to find a profitableplay that evokes the same inspired thinking like Apple or Zappos orZipCar. To do this they focussed on design, technology and businessmodels. Sounds familiar? Well actually not if you are in the Bankingindustry, maybe it doesnt, and heres 10 ways we could learn fromthem... amanwhoblogs.com
# 1. Simple World Class
App The most powerful thing about Uber is its app. Simple, intuitive and intelligent it just takes all the pain out of waiting for a cab. Booking a cab has never been easier with geo location based on your activities and those of others, who have been in the same spot before. Waiting or wondering when where your cab is, is no longer a guessing game. You get a map with the location of your cab, time of arrival and details of your cab driver including his name and phone number. And when your ride is around the corner a gentle sms alert reminds you to make tracks to your pick-up point. Lesson for Banks? I have not yet seen such a seamless offline and online integration of services in Banking. Plenty to learn from here! amanwhoblogs.com
# 2. Consistent Service Experience
Early days yet but in the last two weeks every time I stepped into an Uber it feels exactly the same. The car looks the same externally and internally. The driver offers you a bottled water, checks on the temperature and asks you for your radio preference. Travelling from Singapore to San Francisco the experience you can expect is exactly the same (with more option on car sizes in SFO) just like Singapore Airlines. The big difference is Uber doesnt own a single car. They are all private limo owners and yet provide the same consistent service. All that in 18 months. Lesson for International Banks? Flavours are overrated if you have one simple, consistent, awesome offer for customers globally and that itself could be the killer feature customers are looking for. amanwhoblogs.com
# 3. Seamless Payments Disruptive
plays in payments are a hot topic with plenty of talk about contactless, mobile, social and NFC payments. IMHO the folks at Uber have nailed it on payments. They have peeled back all the hype and focussed on the core experience, making it seamless by storing your card details and credits. So when your ride is done no fiddling with coins, no waiting for a card swipe, you just step out and thank the driver. Uber charges your card deducts their 20% and the limo drivers account is credited including a tip if you pre configure your app to give one based on your rating. Lesson for Banks? Focus on the experience and creating value through mutually beneficial outcomes will lead to disruption. Technology is the enabler not the answer. amanwhoblogs.com
# 4. Making a Statement
One of the delights of using Uber is getting your receipt by email once your ride is done. If you are a business user this is just super useful as you no longer have to store a stash of receipts as you travel the world. In fact you can log on to their website and print all old receipts when you need them. And they arent some ascii code mystery notes to decipher later. Instead they are packed with information about your ride complete with a map. Also making the drivers life easier with no in car printer needed. Lesson for Banks? Customers transact everyday on us how much insight and ease do we create for them and the people serving them. amanwhoblogs.com
# 5. Monetized Real Time
Analytics When your ride is completed Uber prompts you to rate your experience. In fact it insists you do so before your next ride. The reason - consistency of service. If a drivers ratings fall they get warned with consistent low ratings resulting in them being taken out, which, given the variable cost model of Uber, is easy. Meanwhile Uber know exactly how you are feeling about their service which allows them to crunch this data with their Phds to come back to you with relevant offers. Lesson for Banks? Plenty of talk about big data and analytics. But lets not forget that little insights collected frequently when acted on make a big difference to customer loyalty. Especially when you are offering a premium service. And connect your Phds to your marketing folks thats when you delight the customer. amanwhoblogs.com
# 7. Buzz Marketing Uber
does not spend on above the line marketing. Instead as Gigaom described it lets its customers do the job with word of mouth marketing. From on demand ice cream trucks to celebration parties (I was actually invited to a cocktail party after a favourable tweet) Uber recruits young urban, smartphone owning individuals to be evangelists. Some of this cannot be measured by analytics but its what brings out Ubers brand personality. Lesson for Banks? Focus on delighting customers and recruit them to be your marketing team. And while the internet is the most measurable channel lets not forget to trust our gut and do things that Kotler may amanwhoblogs.com not have written about.
# 6. Social Member Get
Member Buzz Marketing is so much easier today with social and Uber shows us just that. They celebrate moments with you. Your first ride. Their anniversary. All of these moments are used to send you links to share your experience and empower you to give a discounts to your friends. And its not about giving, get friends to use them and get credits. Uber is paying its customers to market in the best currency it has - its service which also ensures throughput and growth. Lesson for Banks? When we delight customers we should give them the chance to share this with others and pay it forward in simple social ways that extend our loyalty loop. Bit harder with complex amanwhoblogs.com services but possible.
# 8. World Class Service
Recovery Bad experiences happen and once in awhile we dont live up to the growing expectations of the customers. But what really matters is how we recover. Uber did this brilliantly recently when I tried the service during their beta and could not get a cab. They wrote a note that seemed heartfelt and gave me credits for my next journey. Not only did they convert me to a customer they took a detractor and made him a fan instantly and made it easy for me to tweet and share this. Lesson for Banks? Accept service recovery as a cost of doing business and empower service staff not just to resolve but also promote services. This requires budgets, investing in people and giving them the freedom to interact with customers with a single metric of delighting customers. It is not just good service but also good business.
# 9. Crowdsourced Scalable BizModel
There is a lot to admire about Ubers but what is their secret sauce in my opinion is their business model. They have scaled rapidly and globally in an industry notorious with its large infrastructure and operational costs. They did this by tapping into the latent supply of limo drivers around the world creating a variable model where the only capital investment is a loaned iPhone handed to the no doubt delighted driver with their app on it. Lesson for Banks? In the new world order do we need to own expensive infrastructure to be be able to deliver a great experience or do we focus on becoming tech companies with great software and experiences and shared infrastructure with partners who share in a growing pie. amanwhoblogs.com
# 10. Sweating the Small
Stuff Predictive Analytics: Uber has been busy collecting data that it now uses to create capacity models to maximise between drivers idle time and riders wait time. Example, they claim to know exactly how many taxis to send to downtown SFO for Giants game and beat this - they change the model if the Giants win (demand rises) or lose (opposite). Cancellation Policy: Many cab drivers complain bitterly about customers cancelling on them at the last minute. They are committed once they take a call the customer isnt. Uber now has your credit card so they did something simple. Cancel your cab more than five minutes after and you get a fee that goes to the driver. Enterprise Edition: Uber Perks introduced this year now lets companies offer taxi credits at discounts to its employees. Happy employees, smarter billing, breakage if they dont use their credits and tapping in to a whole new segment. Lesson for Banks? Creating a profitable proposition isnt only about adding value but also eliminating value destroying elements.